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.