Christmas, CJS & Motherhood

Christmas is a jolly time for families. Adverts appear on the telly with smiling faces around a gloriously bronzed turkey and as is very British, paper hats sit wonkily on Grandpa’s head as he smiles happily at his family. Advertising campaigns amuse me no end. Posh people in suits spend the summer dreaming up commercial selling points to inflict on a hungry nation. Endless words of Christmas is for family spout through our TV screens and all that lurrrve is around us.

SHE women spending a Christmas out of prison in their new homes face some challenges. They are trying to build up bonds with their children. One woman has given up hope. Her little girl is in the throes of being adopted. She is broken-hearted as she has been told her two-year old daughter will be confused if her mother re-enters her life after ten months. Whoever came up with that bizarre piece of psychology deserves to be flogged in public and I would happily do it. SHE team will pick up the pieces of the damage that statement alone has done to our lass. I will fight that insensitive statement till you shake in your polyester suit and your toes curl. This is reality for many women who serve short-term prison sentences. This woman was on remand and the charges dropped, the accuser found her purse. That is okay then, all is well.

Peer-to-peer led projects work. I am a woman. I have been through the CJS. I am a mother. I am spending my eleventh Christmas without my children. I took myself out of my children’s lives. I was an utter mess. Many say I deserved it. I deserved my sentence, I broke the law. I deserve to be in pain. As does my lass above.

We do not. Mother Nature cannot be fought. Take a child from its mother, firstly the child suffers more than some jobsworth can ever dress up in fucking fancy psychology. I know. I was separated from my mother.

And us, the forgotten mothers. The damage is immense. My lass & I can support each other. We know what it is to be vilified, feel as though we are worthless by a greedy press who love nothing more than a ‘bad mother’ story. When I hear the words back to my support and offer to get the help our lass needs, ” I always lose” it is enough to send me over the edge. 2015 will open with a fight for our lass. With our support. SHE & INCAS will support her through this & we will not lose.

Among the glossy adverts for happy families, we at SHE and INCAS do celebrate the work we do, we do celebrate the people who come to us and together we come through some painful times.

Our cooperative structure means we help each other through challenging times. I know what it is to be without my children, I do not wish this pain on anybody. Pain, deserved or not, is still pain.

So as Grandpa with his wonky hat, looks over his flock on glossy TV adverts, my thoughts, prayers & time goes to the many mothers both in and out of prison, apart from their children.

Merry Christmas.


  1. Tracey, thank you for sharing your thoughts. Your ‘lass’ is truly blessed to have so many people like yourself being so supportive and caring. As you know, I can fully understand the pain she is going through and please tell her, from me, that I wish her all the best in her fight for justice. She and her child do not deserve to be treated like this! Keep the good work up.

  2. This is the applicable psychological theory in such instances and is the harm caused to this child and her mother of forced separation by the callous and ill-considered actions of this social worker.
    The relationship between a child and its mother should always be treated as sacrosanct and should only be severed in extremely exceptional circumstances, and restored as quickly as possible. Too many people in our society are suffering Reactive Attachment Disorder as adults because of the wrongful actions of social workers and Courts in the past and present.

    1. Thank you, Charles.

      You have succinctly put what I am unable to say.

      I want to highlight (and nothing against fathers here) the damage to a child and its mother when the two are forcibly separated.

      This is not about *rights* it is about a bond between mother & child. I forego my rights, my bond remains intact. It can never be broken.

      My bond with my mother never left me. To be driven away in a car & the visual of my mother as a broken woman on the court steps in 1977, will never leave me. I was 9. I’m 46 years old.

      I was a child under social services in the 70s, the SW attached to me was wonderful. She kept me going as a child. I do not see this today.

      I see a risk adverse society. A society unable to manage risk, a society that prefers to obliterate risk.

      And that stinks.

      1. I am in total agreement of your theory Charles unfortunately when it gets to the family courts the ( GAME) play changes & the child is the last pawn on the board !!!

      2. Carrie, TY for your comment. You have made a valid comment.

        This is about forced separation. The emotional damage to a child and a mother. At the tick of a box, women are losing contact with their child.

        As for Father’s rights, the moment the CSA was born, this bred a whole wave of court hearings.

        My point, is not about rights, it’s about forced separation of a mother & child. That in itself is the largest damage ever.

    1. My mind, Carrie, is where it always has been. Forced separation of a child and its mother, should never happen only in extreme circumstances and in the safety of the child.

      You are missing my point, entirely. I’m quite clear on the damage done to children & mothers when forced separation is in place.

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