It was vaccination time for my seven-week-old grandson. One minute he was happily sitting on my knee; the next he was red-faced and screaming as potentially life-saving needles pierced his chubby legs.
He cried in pain, my daughter cried for his pain, and I felt my eyes sting for both of them.
I thought about this scene again this morning as I watched this video produced by refugee advocates People Like Us and Mums 4 Refugees. The short clip contains messages of support from mums to other mums – the mothers locked up by our government for daring to seek a better life for their children.
Having recently been launched back into the world of bassinets, bottles and bath times, I can only imagine how the mothers of the more than 100 children still held in detention centres cope.
The day-to-day struggle of nappy changing, feeding, sterilising, feeding, sleeping, washing, nappy changing and feeding would be daunting enough. But what about the longer-term challenges? How do you instil in your children a sense of hope, respect for themselves and others, and the certainty that mummy will keep them safe when the opposite is their reality?
How do you get through the day without crying at your child’s pain?
Within half an hour of my grandson’s vaccination we were home. Home – the baby milk-drunk sleeping, my daughter and I sitting by the fire eating dinner, sharing with the rest of the family the two-minute trauma we had endured. Home – a safe place denied to so many mothers and their children.
This Mother’s Day, the Uniting Church is asking people to consider all of the mums who are still being held in detention and think about how you can offer support.
Let the mothers and their children know that, in our own way, we share their pain.
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