Eight weeks today since baby Ace’s traumatic entry into the outside world. I’ve surprised myself by how well I’m doing mentally and emotionally, but there are times when it all creeps up on me and I break down into a blubbering mess.
This past week or so my thoughts have been pre-occupied with Latifa’s story. Latifa, a Rohingyan woman from Myanmar, gave birth by emergency caesarean in Brisbane's Mater Hospital but was returned to a Brisbane detention centre after just four days, her newborn baby remaining in the neonatal intensive care unit. Latifa was only allowed to visit her baby at the hospital between 10:00am and 4:00pm. How can this be? How can we as a community be so completely heartless?
I am so disturbed by this story. I can’t help but remember the desperate need I had to be with my own baby while he was in the special care nursery. My deep need to be with him, to hold him, to soothe him, to breast feed him. What is to be gained by torturing this mother and her newborn child? Her distress, pain and angst haunts me. My own experience so overwhelmingly painful seems small compared to Latifa’s experience. An unknown hospital, a foreign land, language and culture, a difficult birth, separated from family, no stable home, no secure future… and a sick newborn child. I have shed so many tears for her. I’m filled with shame that my community, my government, my people have allowed this to happen. For what?
And what about the newborn babe? A traumatic entry into this world, sick and needing his mother. Our government without compassion for a child only four days old. How can it be? Where is the humanity? And what of his older siblings who are also held in detention? There mother would be sick and damaged from such a birth even in the best of circumstances. Were they kept from their mother whilst she was in hospital? Did they get to visit their newborn baby brother?
And here lies my babe, just a few weeks older. Safe and secure in his home, with his family, sleeping peacefully in his bassinet wrapped in a quilt made with all his Mama’s love. Refashioned from a pillowcase that was part of cot sheet set, the cotton is lovely quality. He is so blessed, he is so safe with an optimistic future ahead. So much fortune … all afforded to him by luck. Lucky to be born into a family that lives in a safe and secure part of the world. Winners of a geographic lottery.
Dearest Latifa, I think of you everyday, I shed a tear for you everyday. I am so sorry.
White on White Bassinet Quilt
500mm x 720mm (19.5” x 29”)
Polar fleece batting
100% cotton blue gingham backing
Experimental hand and machine quilting using embroidery thread