Thursday, September 02, 2010

Disturbing Tale

In 1997, I lived in small block of flats. One of the other tenants, Jane, was a drug user and clubber. She had had several children taken into 'Care', one or more adopted, and three with her. I'm writing about her daughter, Cecily, who was 11 or 12 at the time.

Jane used to ask people to look after her kids for the evening, and simply not come back home for days, without arranging it or getting in contact with anyone to explain where she was and why she wasn't there to pick up her children. She would turn up 3 or 4 days later, all smiles and apologies and full of excuses.  People got fed up with it.

Jane was particularly short and irritable with Cecily. I remember her sobbing in my arms "my Mum don't love me". I was terribly upset about that because I had nothing to refute it with. There was no evidence of Jane loving Cecily. They all ended up being taken into 'Care' and we moved away and didn't know what had happened to them.

Then I bumped into Jane in town one day and she had been shopping for decent food - fruit, veg, yoghurt etc, and she said she was 'clean' from drugs after a successful rehab and that she had had two more children. She seemed to be doing so well, and I was thrilled to bits.

Then my daughter discovered that she was a neighbour near where she lives, and up to her old tricks of asking people to watch her children for an hour or two then disappearing again. The youngsters play in the street in their pyjamas until gone 9pm, even when it is cold. There are noisy comings and goings at her house at all times of the day or night. One of the neighbours is furious because Jane's drunken visitors throw up on her doorstep. Anyone would be cross about that. So Jane is causing difficulty with her neighbours once again.

It was inevitable that Cecily would bear the scars of her upbringing. I heard from my daughter today that the Police and Social Workers had come to seize her children and that she threw herself out of the bedroom window on the top floor of the house because she couldn't bear her children being snatched away like that. She has broken bones in her arms and legs and her face is "mangled". Do Social Workers have NO duty of care? Can they really rip someones heart out and bugger off to leave them bleeding with no comfort at all?  Someone once said of a Social Worker "I bet she was kicked out of the SS for cruelty" and I wouldn't have been too surprised to hear it was true.

Cecily is staying with her mother Jane "to get her head around it all".
I can't see that that will work! I am desperately sorry for her - she was a nice kid. And this is how the vicious cycle continues. Her children will be damaged and when they have children of their own, the damage will be perpetuated. Why is there this mad craze of snatching children from their parents? Some parents don't want their children, but Cecily does. She is an inadequate mother, but why wound them all like this? Could they not have worked with her to help her overcome her inadequacies? Save the mother, and you save the child. Possibly for generations to come, so investment in helping her to be a better parent should be seen as exactly that - an investment.

Let me say something else here. When a woman loses a child, through abortion, miscarriage, stillbirth, death or forced separation, a 'vacuum' is created, and nature abhors a vacuum. In practical terms, after such a loss, there is a strong and virtually irresistible drive to 'replace' the lost child by another pregnancy. This drive may even be subconscious, but it is a drive, and there will be 'mistakes' whatever the contraceptive method used. So, pretty soon, I expect Cecily to have another pregnancy. Social workers will remove the baby, and another pregnancy will happen. And so on. Just like her mother Jane before her. Taxpayers have to fund all this, so they would get far better value for money in helping the parent to learn essential parenting skills and keeping the family together, so that it doesn't continue down the generations.  Where will it end?

When I think of that little girl sobbing "my mum don't love me" and think of her jumping out of a window because she couldn't bear to be without her children, my heart breaks. Like her heart and her bones. Dear Lord, have mercy!

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