Date published: 16 March 2015 by Anna Jackson
This Mother’s Day, children will be baking cakes and picking flowers for their mums. Mothers will be looking forward to being spoilt on their one day off in the year but for those mothers who have lost a child or have a child with a life threatening or a terminal illness, Mother’s Day will be no less heartbreaking than the next.
As a Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity Family Support Worker, I marvel at the bravery of the mums I support every day. These mothers who rely on the doctors and the medical profession to save their child while they juggle the devastation that has been handed to them with their child’s diagnosis. They are thrown into a world a million miles from where they were. They still have to be a mother to their well children, dropping off and picking up from school, dance or gym class and football. So many of these mothers blame themselves for their child’s illness, they gave birth to them and believe they should have been able to keep them safe. They didn’t sign up for this and they would do all in their power to see their child well again.
I go into families’ homes and scoop them up by supporting them through this, probably the most difficult time in their lives. I hope to empower these mums to make the right decisions by giving them the support no mother would ask for, to help her take care of her family. Every day I am amazed at what these women go through. At the end of the day, when they family go home and all the medical professionals have pulled out, they are left with the responsibility of taking care of their precious child, their bravery is inspiring and they don’t realise the enormity of what they are achieving. What they deal with on a daily basis and how they can bounce back is remarkable. These women who start grieving the day they are told of their child’s diagnosis but who continue to be the best mother they can to all their children. Their homes are still full of laughter and love in spite of the darkness hanging over their heads.
I am humbled by the heartache and burden these women carry, which cuts across all social boundaries. There is no distinguishing between those living in a flat or a mansion, their needs are the same, to be able to care for their family in crisis.
I help mums and their families to find or hold on to some resemblance of normality in their new chaotic world. I allow them to just be, I tell them it’s okay to be angry or frustrated and that I am here to help ease the load by taking them to hospital appointments, spending time with them in the hospital, at home or taking the siblings out for the day to give them some time to be children. I work hard to gain the families’ trusts, I want them to feel comfortable leaving their child or children with me so that I can support them in every way that I can. I encourage and help families to make special memories in the midst of their crisis. I want them to have some happiness with their children.
When I visit a family, I never know what I am going to walk into. They could be in tears, had no sleep or just heard bad news but after I’ve spent time with them, listened to them, shared some of their burdens and talked through how I can help, I hopefully leave them feeling that life is a bit more bearable.
I love what I do, I’ve been doing it for thirteen years and I am humbled every day by these families and want to wish all of the mums with a seriously ill child a very Happy Mother’s Day, you are the true heroes.