Govt adding further trauma to mother and baby homes surivors - says campaigner

The government's handling of the fall out from its redress scheme for Mother and Baby homes survivors has caused further trauma to the survivor community.

That's according to the chairperson of the Coalition of Mother And Baby Home Survivors (CMABS ), Paul Redmond, who was born in the mother and baby home in Castlepollard. The government has been criticised by the survivor community and experts in early childhood trauma for excluding from the redress scheme any child who spent less than six months in a home.

Mr Redmond says that the survivor community has been “been further traumatised by the government's short sighted and cack handed fumbling of a deeply sensitive issue, namely the matter of redress and justice for survivors of mother and baby homes and county homes”.

“Any scheme that wilfully excludes a large proportion of our community is doomed to failure and is further pouring salt into an open wound.

“One of the fundamental failures of the scheme is that it entirely ignores the single most painful trauma inflicted by the so called Mother and Baby homes, in reality, an institutional cross between a maternity hospital for single mothers and a prison, is the forced separation of a mother and her baby.

“In the international adoptee community, there is one book - The Primal Wound that is often called 'the adoptee's bible' as it was the first mass market book to explore the trauma caused by the separation of mothers and children from each other.

“There has been a veritable mountain of academic studies since that time confirming the reality of the life long pain caused to both parties by this unnatural and inhumame practice which was common in western society from the 1930s to the 1970s (commonly called 'the baby scoop era'). The pain of separation has now been classified as a form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The symptoms include: flashbacks, nightmares, secondary infertility, suicidal ideation, anxiety and panic attacks, etc., etc. For the babies, the symptoms are similar although issues such as genetic bewilderment and premature ego development can be added to their list.

“...It is vital to understand that adoption is a lifelong ongoing experience. It's not a matter of 'I was adopted, it's: Ia m adopted now. Adoption never goes away. All of this is without even mentioning the human rights issues involved. The total lack of vital family medical history, the identity theft, etc.

“ There is no difference whatsoever whether a mother and her child are separated at two days old or two weeks or months or years. While there are variations of trauma, the pain is always a life sentence.”