Training day today in Maternal and Infant Mental Health. An excellent course looking at a really potentially difficult subject but a reminder of the importance of child development during the first three years, the perinatal issues faces by mums and post natal depression experienced by 10% of dads! A lot of information over a one day training course but then an invaluable awareness for professionals working with families.
When I first began writing my autobiography I naturally began at Chapter 1 which is here on my website titled ‘Memoirs of a child in care’.
I wanted my story to be as honest as possible and so one of the first things I needed to do was track down my birth mother which I did to a small flat in Uttoxeter. Bizarrely she had quite a lot of photos dotted around the flat of me as a small platinum haired little boy and pointed at them saying ‘That’s Alan’. However she did have occasional lucid moments and during one of these I asked her why she had put me in a children’s home.
She replied that in those days everything was means tested and that she was only given eight Bob a week (40pence) to keep me. One day she walked into the Social Services office and plonked me on the counter. “I can’t keep him on eight Bob a week, you do it” she said, and walked out.
At the time of that conversation I was in a very different psychological place to where I am now; my sense of humour could be particularly cruel and to laugh at something like that then was a coping mechanism for me.
Naturally these days I wouldn’t see a scenario like that funny at all and as a children’s worker for many years I have often actively prevented adults saying things in front of youngsters that I feel may cause them emotional harm? This ink painting was how I coped with my feelings at that time.
Regular readers will know I’ve been researching and clawing through my autobiography for years and occasionally come across a little gem which either clarifies something or sends me up an entirely different road.
Durham County Council have been helping me piece together my early years (which I’ve been writing about here on my website) and at some point found my registration card which I had stored away but turned up again as I was packing some papers.
When I read the card again I felt dreadfully sad although not so much for me; I already know what happened to me though I didn’t know the kids home I was in was somehow connected to the North East Workhouse. No, I felt really sad for my birth Mother who, although I rejected her later in life for putting me in care, had been accommodated in Crossley Sanitorium and only she could have known what that experience was like.
As I’m left with my thoughts I am at least thankful to Durham County Council for giving me another piece of my jigsaw.