Planning my group talk for Saturday’s meeting – I usually don’t do a long “formal” discussion type thing, we normally just see where the conversation takes us, sometimes its to big serious issues, sometimes not. This time I reckon the ETV cameras might get bored of us playing with babies & eating cake.
After Nadia’s birth experience this week, I decided to speak on standing up for yourself as a mother and commanding respect as your child’s mother from outsiders. So often young moms are bullied / ignored / dismissed / fobbed off / patronised and generally treated like poo by people in positions of authority (okay, not JUST young ones, I’m sure you’ll agree).
Doctors, nurses, teachers, family elders – I’m looking at you.
Imagine you’re a young mom, alone, at the doctor with a tiny baby who is obviously sick and you don’t know why. You haven’t ever had Dr Google at your fingertips to spot the difference between eczema and measles. You don’t know what different types of cough sound like. That’s why you’re here. For help. To learn.
You might not have had reliable information from friends or family. All you have is the professional person in front of you who’s JOB it is to give you the information you need to make informed choices about your child’s health.
They poke and prod your child, don’t tell you what they’re doing. Sigh. Roll their eyes. Lecture you on keeping your legs closed. Talk over your head to colleagues. Generally make you feel either like crap for letting your child get sick, or like crap for wasting their time because your child isn’t sick. They might give you medicine but might not explain what it’s for. Make you feel stupid or annoying when you ask questions. So maybe you stop asking. You do as you’re told but have no clue why you’re actually doing it. You leave not knowing any more than when you arrived. You are entirely at the mercy of what they tell you to do – there is no control of the situation – no power in your hands. You are not in charge.
Yes, sometimes language differences can cause a problem. But not speaking the same language as a professional does not make you stupid. Asking questions does not make you stupid. Asking to have it explained again, or written down, or translated or drawn with pictures doesn’t make you stupid or less capable of learning these new facts.
If a mother doesn’t understand something, she has the right, and the RESPONSIBILITY to her child, to make sure that she demands answers from medical / educational / whatever / professionals.
It’s their JOB to give you the information, and YOUR job to make sure you keep asking until you get it. If that means you must kick up a fuss or be obnoxious, do it. Being a young mom, or a poor mom, or an uneducated mom does not make you an irresponsible mom. Accepting instructions without understanding WHY does.
What else would you tell them on Saturday, if you were me?