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Frustrations

on May 28, 2012

Today I have felt so frustrated I could cry. I wanted someone to take my life away and replace it with a different one. And then I remembered that they nearly did.

I spent most of Saturday afternoon sitting in a children’s ward waiting for someone to come and tell me I could go home with my baby, trying to look like a good mother, trying to look like the sort of parent who would never hurt their baby. It’s quite hard to look like a good mother while under observation. Good mothers do not ignore their babies while looking at Facebook on their phone or reading the paper. Good mothers never ever let their babies stand up in the new temporary cast that they’ve been told not to let the baby stand in. Good mothers can keep a tired, sore and bored baby entertained and amused at all times.

After a while a nurse came to inform me that they were waiting for a phone call from social services to let them know whether I was allowed to go home with Small Girl or not. At this point I cried. I explained that I hadn’t hurt my baby. No-one thought I had, she said. Clearly there was reason to believe I possibly could have, or we wouldn’t all have been sitting there. I said I had a toddler who I needed to get home to or make arrangements for. It’s a Saturday, she said, so it’s harder to get a response. Clearly the moral of the story is to never let your baby develop an unexplained fracture on a Friday evening. I wish I hadn’t.

Except it turned out that she probably hadn’t fractured her leg. The registrar who did my safeguarding interview looked at the xray and said he didn’t think it was a break but he wasn’t an expert. So he referred it a senior radiographer, who also thought it wasn’t broken. Suddenly, despite my baby still having an inexplicable injury, I stopped being a potential risk to her and we were allowed to go home. But as no-one from the orthopaedic team was available to make a decision about her cast, she’s been lugging the plaster around for the past few days.

We’re due in the fracture clinic tomorrow afternoon, where they will take the plaster off, look at her leg and presumably re-xray it. They need to see if she can put weight on it and presumably try to work out what it was on the xray that looked like a break. Ex-Husband is coming too, so he can see the xrays and ask the sort of questions about fractures that I never think of. We need to learn to co-parent without being together, so it will be interesting to see how this works.

I had known, theoretically, that you’re only ever one incident away from social services involvement. I just hadn’t expected it to happen to me. As parents go, I’m fairly risk-averse but I’ve tried to fight it in order to give my children freedom to learn and explore. Now I’m not just worried about my children hurting themselves, I’m worried about my parenting being called into question, about having to explain how and why my child has hurt themselves.

I plan to complain about the hospital’s procedures, once it’s been established that I don’t abuse my children. If a baby presents with an unexplained fracture, and that injury is considered to be fairly unusual, and there is no reason to suspect the parent of abuse, why not get a second opinion before starting the safeguarding procedure? Safeguarding is about protecting children: I am not a better parent for the experience. Big Girl had to sleep at a friend’s house because I couldn’t be sure I’d get home to her. And Little Girl has been wearing an unnecessary cast for three days.

It’s not really what I hoped for from my Saturday.

20120528-233837.jpg

Small Girl got given this scary-looking bear at the hospital. I’m not really sure what to say.

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2 responses to “Frustrations

  1. The J85 says:

    Almost every time L, my oldest, visits the hospital (he is a moderate to severe asthmatic) I have to speak to social services. He has two birthmarks on his back that, if looked at under the right light and at the right angle, look like bruises. I know their job is to protect the kids, but jeesh…really?

  2. I just had a look at your blog (and will hopefully be back soon) and I noticed you’re a single parent. For some reason, being a single parent makes me feel more vulnerable – maybe because I haven’t got someone backing me up in the same way (although Ex-Husband was very supportive and said he would if it ever went anywhere). And I feel as if I’m being judged more, as if there aren’t the same assumptions of competency being made about me. Do you experience that?

    I have a weird skin thing to do with melatonin, so I have patches of skin on my neck and my back and hips that either look like bruises or lovebites or like I haven’t washed, so I used to get a lot of comments when I was younger, but it was before everything got referred to social services.

    Good to know I’m not alone 🙂

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