My mother is a psychiatric nurse who is also an agency nurse, recently worked on the mother and baby unit, a ward that treats women with postpartum psychosis. It is their policy to let the babies stay with their mothers..
The latest patient to be admitted to the mother and baby unit had had four children by different fathers. Each of her partners was in prison and three of her children were in care. In hospital the woman spent most of her time preening herself: plastering her face with make up, rubbing fake tan onto the flesh of her body, painting her nails and ignoring her baby’s cries.
Conversations my mother had had with this woman revealed the narrowness of her horizons and the poverty of her mind. Her knowledge of culture lay within the confines of the television screen. She had no other window on the world. She never wrote, she never read. She devoted her life to mindless procreation, to breeding snotty-nosed, intellectually-stunted brats who would grow up to become just like their mother. If, that is, they were permitted to remain with her. It was suggested that this latest baby should also be ‘taken off her’.
‘She should certainly have that one taken away too,’ my mother told a student nurse who stepped back, eyes wide, horrified that a senior nurse could bring herself to utter such a thing. In the Mother and Baby unit this was heresy. For it was their philosophy that no one was beyond hope, that everyone could be redeemed. She wondered if the student nurse she was mentoring would report her to her superiors. And then she decided that she couldn’t really give a toss. She retires next year. What could they possibly do to her?
I guess she has earned her disillusionment .