Tag Archives: parental care

Parental Responsibility and Parental Support

If you’ve never had a baby, it may be difficult to imagine what it is like. There is much preparation beforehand with scans and regular check-ups. There are also classes which focus predominantly on birth giving as well as baby showers where friends and relatives give you tiny clothing and other gifts.

Unless you undertake a lot of reading or have experience with child-rearing, you are pretty much on your own after giving birth. Amazingly, the hospital staff just let you walk away with some tips and coupons and an entirely helpless small human being in a carrier. That’s not to say that the National Health Service (NHS) staff are in any way responsible for the system. The Gynaecologists, Obstetricians, nurses, midwives and health visitors all do a wonderful job, but many of them are stretched to breaking point with more women, children and families on their caseload and less resources. While women used to get regular home visits, these have been reduced as pressures on the NHS have increased. Then there’s the issue of premature babies, babies with health issues, mothers who experience difficulty bonding or breastfeeding and fathers who feel helpless or not engaged at all. As you can imagine, in addition to joy, there is often a lot of heartbreak and anxiety.

There is also a duty in law called parental responsibility. You have it when you are a parent whether you like it or not. With approximately 30% of pregnancies in the UK unplanned, it is paramount that parents receive the best support they can get. As the parent of two adults, I can attest that being a parent is not a bed of roses. I was happily in a good relationship when I became pregnant, and we both looked forward to being parents. However, both of my children were anaemic when they were born, and the older one had colic – a condition believed to be the result of an immature digestive system. Further, I had problems with breastfeeding. I don’t think that I’m alone in feeling that I did scramble around to get the information and support that I needed to be able to look after my children well and, without the support of my partner, I would have been in trouble.

Posted in Op-eds | 2 Comments

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Thu 28th Oct 2021