"My engagement with ghosts began when the stories of the birth mothers and children began to haunt me…." ~ Lisa Morriss, Social Work Researcher
Since 2014 I am working on this blog, The Red Mother. On Red Mother I am talking also about haunted mothers, mothers who had their children taken away by the State and have lost all contact to them. I am focusing in my writing on the situation in England, Canada, the United States and Australia. In these countries we find a deeply embedded, historically entrenched culture of haunting mothers, by removing children and new borns from their care. The children are placed into foster care, or forced adoption or with the former (often abusive) partners of these mothers. These are the very same cultures that so loudly protest that they protect women from abuse. The very same cultures have sent thousands of children to work as slave labourers in Australia (see also the Child Migration scandal) and took many more from their indigenous parents in the Americas, Australia and other colonies to "re-educate" them. However, this is not re-education but child trafficking and child abuse in one of it's most severe form and is one of the many social issues, where liberal feminism is demonstrating how hollow it really is and what kind of role it plays in the propaganda wars. I have so far not met even one liberal feminist who spoke up for these haunted children and their haunted mothers.
"Software programmes in a social workers' office determine if a mother is unfit based on factors like employment, income, housing situation and past mental health issues.
The reasons for removing children from their mothers in the Anglosphere these days, are most often not because of any drug use by the mother, neglect or physical abuse, but because of race and class bias and because of algorithms. Software programmes in a social worker's office determine if a mother is unfit based on factors like employment, income, housing situation and past mental health issues. In the UK and the US all of these data are recorded in a centralized file system accessible to any child welfare officer and public official.
The British Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services reported in 2014: "Without their knowledge, every pregnant woman (and expectant father) is screened by the UK's National Health Service (NHS) to see if they may be a risk to the child, and they are monitored for risk factors like previous mental illness, domestic violence, being a teenager, unemployed, homeless, a former or current drug user, etc. They are then automatically referred to social services, who may hold child protection planning meetings before the baby is born."
If you want to know more about this, I can recommend the blog from the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform.
But not only the own population suffers from privacy intrusions and abuse, in the UK visitors and tourists can also fall foul to this system, as the infamous case of the "Italian Woman's Forced Cesarian Case" in the documents:
"Pacchieri, 35, who has a bipolar condition, is reported to have come to Britain while pregnant to attend a training course with an airline at Stansted airport in Essex.
After she stopped taking medication she had a panic attack and was sectioned under the Mental Health Act.
The court of protection gave the health trust permission for doctors to carry out a caesarean section, and the newborn child was taken into care by Essex social services."
The baby was eventually placed for forced adoption by the UK court. Whoever is interested in the nitty gritty of the legal arguments surrounding this appaling case can research the web. There are also plenty of legal commentators who give their snobish "expert" opinion on this case, trying to convince a shocked public, that it is perfectly normal and reasonable to treat a mother and her child this way. What is never mentioned by these hacks are the adoption agencies who are well connected to UK child protection staff and are paid high fees for successful child placements.
"There are also plenty of legal commentators out there who give their snobish "expert" opinion on this case, trying to convince a shocked public, that it is perfectly normal and reasonable to treat a mother and her child this way."
Not only are vulnerable women under pressure by this system of child removal, also mothers who are not on the radar of any agency feel the pressure. Women after they "delivered" (the English language really makes me shudder sometimes) are pushed to perform perfect mother- and womanhood and proof their "worth" every day. Women go to a local hospital, "deliver" a new life under enormous emotional and physical pains, go home with a baby, back into a life of having to manage jobs, household and child rearing, and all too often also abusive partners and highly abusive social conditions.
The social complex around motherhood and mothers having to be perfect to be worthy of their children, while at the same experiencing exclusion, abuse and neglect, plays a huge role in Post-Natal depression and Post-Natal psychosis. Postpartum psychosis (PP) occurs in around one in 1,000 births. Affected mothers can experience a mix of depression, mania and psychosis. Some experience thoughts of self-harming or harming the baby. It is an extremely stressful experience. The lines between depression and psychosis are blury.
"When women experience abuse during and before pregnancy it increases the likelyhood of a depression and psychosis manyfold."
When women experience abuse during and before pregnancy it increases the likelyhood of a depression and psychosis manyfold. Marie Flem Sørbø, a researcher in Norway, has found that "regardless if a mother was abused right before pregnancy, or years before, abuse was found to drastically increase the risk that she would experience depression after having brought a new life into the world."
Such studies however do not mention, that a mental health problem like postnatal depression will be used by the abusers and their social systems against the mother. It is the weapon the abuser and the State agencies need to remove mothers from their children by declaring them as "unfit". Norway itself has an infamously harsh child protection system. Most mothers I spoke to about these abuses would never entrust themselves to any public official or women's rights group - only the foolish and naive fall for them. A series of public cases has convinced them, that it is best to remain quiet and not to trust the invitations by "the system", that is to open up about their personal lives, and obtain - often rather questionable - medical treatment for mental health problems. They know the risk of child removal all too well and they rather suffer but to risk the greatest of suffering, that is to loose their children.
It is interesting how the association of hurt mothers with "haunted motherhood" got some credibility in England recently and how the psychic remains of lost motherhood and lost children has been described as ghosts. The UK social work researcher Lisa Morriss uses this terminology in her work on mothers whose children were taken.
“My engagement with ghosts began when the stories of the birth mothers and children began to haunt me…. but [this] enabled a transformative recognition that the mothers may also be understood as being haunted. .. women who have had their children removed exist in a state of haunted motherhood, suspended in the shadowlands where the living and the invisible coexist, and temporality is both disrupted and merged.”
“State-ordered removal disrupts the expected future for both the children and their birth mothers. For the mothers, this is a unique form of loss and trauma as their child has not died but is living elsewhere, often for the entirety of their childhood."