Friday, 17 January 2014
23:25 | Posted by Caz | Edit Post
... I Want My Baby Back.
This week we watched the Panorama documentary, portraying the lives of parents accused of abusing their children. Accused because of minuscule fractures found on x-rays. Children removed from their care. Most never to return to their parents, some having no contact, others granted four hours a year of supervised visitation, some children even forcebly adopted without their parents permission and parents cut out of their lives completely; adoption that can never be overturned or reversed.
Mostly we felt sick and tearful watching this programme. The system felt certain of their guilt based solely on these x-rays. There seemed to be nothing these parents could do to attempt to prove their innocence, although money to fight the system saved one family and a specialist employed to prove a family trait of fractures based on genetics. That family were lucky. For most children it seemed that very few other medical tests were undertaken to find another explanation, the parents written off. For those children that did have a blood test it seems results pointing towards Vitamin D defficiancy and plausibly Rickets were largely ignored, not investigated further, leaving families broken forever.
How utterly devastating to be left grieving your living child. How inexplicably sickening that social services and the system continue to handle some families so appallingly. Sometimes social services are just as guilty of damaging children as parents proven to be guilty. We all know of the high profile cases such as Baby P and Daniel Pelka;children who died at the hands of their parents because social services didn't act quickly enough. I understand that must be why sometimes intervention looks heavy handed and knee-jerk. I know social services come under a lot of critisicm and it must be such a difficult balancing act to get their intervention with families just right. But it is so so important that they do. Absolutely protecting the child should be paramount, but I also think in cases such as this parents guilt must absolutely be left with no reasonable doubt, every possible medical explanation investigated thoroughly, before children are forcibly adopted elsewhere. And not just the families lucky enough to have the wealth to pay for their own experts to leave no medical stone unturned.
This didn't feel the case with the families on this programme, and families are too precious to allow even one innocent family to suffer this injustice and grief.
We were particularly affected watching a family say goodbye to their child for the final time. After being permitted four hour long visits a year, their little boy was to be forcibly adopted and there was nothing they could do about it. For their last visit they were granted an extension of just two hours with their son. My heart broke for them. Jon cried for them. Cried imagining if anyone tried to do this to us.
I wouldn't be able do that. Not with the calm composure this couple seemed to muster. I imagine I would be violently clinging onto my children, my babies. Mother bear in all its force. There is no way I could say goodbye to my precious babies, put them in a strangers car knowing I would never see them again, because they would be going to call somebody else Mummy. I was forcibly put into a situation of saying goodbye to one of my babies because there was absolutely nothing else I could do, but to forcibly say goodbye to my living children? I can only describe it like some kind of hellish living bereavement.
I'm aware no-one on this programme was ever going to admit their guilt if they were indeed guilty, but the whole thing was hugely uncomfortable to watch. Putting ourselves in their situation left us feeling sick, fearful of a system that could take our boys away.
The medical system is supposed to make us feel safe. I call on my GP for baby clinic fairly regularly. Zachary has had a number of visits now since his hospital admission, because I'm twitchy over the least little thing. I have always been the same with Alexander. Because I fail to trust my own judgement sometimes I'm quick to take them to the Doctor for reassurance. I need that reassurance, I need it because when they are ill I'm quick to convince myself that worst thing could happen to my boys. Anabelle's death continues to reach far. I use the NHS as my safety blanket. However, I often worry that when we go through a frequent bout of visits that 'neurotic mother' will be flagged on their files or something, but this programme made me wonder could someone in this system take away the safety blanket and accuse me of something, accuse me of harming my boys or something extreme like Munchausen's?
Panorama made me think that these innocently accused parents could be any one of us.
- I'm Caz, Mummy to beautiful angel Belle and my wonderful rainbow boys, Xander and Zac. Wife to Jon. Twitter @cazem Instagram @cazzyem
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