I Made Myself Homeless

 

I said to Phil that I want to write this Blog because I think it’s important. People don’t know how to talk to me about my experiences in my life. I want to share with you my experiences of losing my children so that you can help other mothers who have learning disabilities.

This is my story about how it feels for a mum with learning disabilities having her children put into care.woman and quote

It been 7 years since my children have been taken away.  I have two children, one was put in long term foster care and the other was put up for adoption because he had learning disabilities and he needed really looking after. Because I am a mum with a learning disability, they thought I couldn’t look after a child with learning disabilities.

When I explain to everyday people that I am a mum with a learning disability and my children have been removed from my care, people don’t know what to say, or they go ‘Oh’.  This makes me feel awful. I feel ashamed and embarrassed that people think I am not capable of being a mum.

Giving birth is supposed to be the best thing that can happen in a woman’s life but when your children are removed your life falls apart.

I went through a really big depression, I wouldn’t even go out of my house when my children were first taken away from me. I turned to alcohol and I used to drink before going to meetings because I couldn’t cope. I then made myself homeless as I couldn’t bear to be in my house as being there reminded me of my kids.

My children were taken off me and they just left me in the house. No support. No one to talk to.

I now only get to see my older child, and that is once every half term for one and a half hours. How can I build a relationship with my son? I can’t.  I have to be careful what I say when I see him. I am worried because if I say the wrong thing my contact can be stopped. I’m not allowed to talk about the past or anything that might remind him of living with me, this makes me feel sad, I can’t talk about happier times and to me these were happier times.

My younger son I can only write to him 3 times a year. I am not very good with expressing emotions in letters so I just write about what I am doing and even the letters are checked before they are sent on. If I write anything in them about how much I miss my son the letter goes on file until they think he is old enough to see it.

I am not even allowed to go to my son who is in foster care’s review. I was barred for sticking up for him. I was trying my best. Now he is old enough to be asked if he wants me there but he is not bothered if I am there or not. I think it’s because I don’t see him very often and I don’t then have a strong relationship with him. How does this help me with my relationship with my son? I want to be at his reviews, he’s my son.

For a mother with learning disabilities to have her children removed from her care it is so hard.  There are all the little things that I am missing, those special celebrations, like every birthday, Mother’s day and Christmas. When they creep up it brings back such huge hurtful feelings as I can’t celebrate them with my children. It hurts knowing my children are not with me, their mum.

I am always wondering what they are up to. At one point, I couldn’t sit on a bus when children got on, it would hurt too much.

When a mum with learning disabilities has had their children removed they grieve because although the children are still living, you have no direct contact with them apart from by letter or limited contact. When you see your child you grieve for them and worry about them still, you are still their mother.  It is hard to love them when they are living with someone else. It is like something has been taken away, a part of me is missing, ripped away and cannot ever be replaced.

It is hard to explain, but once you been through it you will understand what I am going through.  Your child is your life but they don’t always have their life with you.

My message to parents with learning disabilities is:

  • If you have had your children removed, please go and seek help.
  •  Ask your doctor if they can support you to see a counsellor.

 

My message to professionals is:

  • Support us to stay together as a family first.
  • Please build on what we can do.
  • Please see us like you, we are no different in the ways that we love and adore our kids.
  • If you are thinking that we cannot look after our children, please prepare us and get us help to cope with our devastating loss.

Thank you for reading my story.

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7 thoughts on “I Made Myself Homeless

  1. Your story and experience are so powerful and important for everyone to learn from. Thank you for sharing with everyone.
    I think your recommendations are spot on. The challenges are many so how can we work together to drive a culture change that really supports people to care for themselves and their families?

    • Giving parents with learning disabilities our easy read Parenting books as a right……in Scotland they want to do this but Midwives generally have little or no training around parents with learning disabilities so feel awkward asking parents if they have a learning disability so they don’t! Social care professionals and health visitors don’t generally give parents with learning disabilities our easy read books either,they say there’s no money available. There is however at least £60,000 available which is what it costs to take parents through child protection procedures.
      Training for all health and social care professionals paid to support parents with learning disabilities, by paid trained parents with learning disabilities. We know that where we have done this the feedback is that it makes the biggest difference to attitudes and empathy and outcomes.

  2. Thanks for your moving writing. I am a psychiatrist who works with people with learning disabilities, some of whom have children. I have been sad myself to see patients who have had their children taken, despite being loving parents. I hope we have supported them well enough. We are trying harder all the time.

    Good luck with everything,

    Jayne

  3. Thank you so very much for sharing and I am hoping and praying for a future where attitudes are different, the right support is there, the threshold for good enough parenting is equal and that all children who are not at risk, stay with thier parents regardless of that or those parents disabilities. X

  4. @Jayne. That is a really lovely message. As an advocate I have seen how one person in a team of professionals in the child protection arena can have such a huge effect on the outcome and often the outcome depends on having a good psychiatrist or psychologist who is really able to empathise. They along with the guardian ad litem seem to hold all the weight, the rest might as well not be there.

  5. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences. I teach student midwives and shall make sure that they are all signposted to this blog from within my course. It is so important that the next generation of carers have these kinds of powerful insights.

  6. Pingback: Our voices, our choices, our freedom | Alex Fox's Blog

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