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18 Month Old Twins Starved to Death in Brisbane

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18 Month Old Twins Starved to Death in Brisbane

Post by dianeh on Wed Jun 18, 2008 10:18 am

This is a terrible case that has upset me very very much. The twins (a boy and a girl) were kept in a room away from their siblings and fed only on milk. But for both to die of starvation at the same time, would imply to me that they were either murdered or died not of starvation but dehydration, as if the mother couldnt be bothered to feed them, she probably didnt give them any water either. They were dead for at least a week before the police were called, and the father didnt even notice, as he never saw the twins either. I would suggest that this mother has some sort of serious problem (either depression or is a drug addict) but she has refused a psyciatric assessment. I also wonder why if you dont want the children, you just dont give them to a member of your family (or the social services) to look after them. Better that than let them starve to death. The poor little mites, with no outside contact and locked in their cots constantly, I bet they coudnt even walk properly, or talk but at least they had each other. Is is just so sad, but I wanted to share it with everyone.

once again, this is child abuse. This is what our tax dollars must stop. I dont know the answer, but surely as a society we can do something to stop this from happening. When parents refuse to look after their children,then it is up to society to do so. All children deserve to have a life, and to be loved. And as I said, at least they had each other to love. I take a little solace from that.

Sibling 'found dead, emaciated twins'
Email Print Normal font Large font June 17, 2008 - 5:33PM

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The mother of 18-month-old twin toddlers who lay dead in a bedroom for a week allegedly told police: "I don't think I fed them enough."

Their father had walked past the children's room but said he didn't know the boy and girl were dead, and hadn't seen them since Christmas, a Brisbane court also heard on Tuesday.

The children's deaths emerged after their 11-year-old sibling - alerted by an unusual smell - found their decomposed and emaciated bodies in the front room of the rented house in Brisbane's Sunnybank Hills.

The child allegedly said to her mother: "I know why you have been crying now."

Police found the toddlers' bodies at the couple's house around 7pm (AEST) Monday.

The 28-year-old man and his 30-year-old partner have been charged with failing to provide the necessities of life.

But the charges could be upgraded to murder, Brisbane Magistrates Court was told.

The couple was remanded in custody until Thursday pending the results of post-mortem examinations.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Tina Green told the court that once the examination was completed, it was "most likely" the charges would be upgraded to manslaughter or murder.

An earlier court hearing was told that police found the bodies in a "state of decay" and the children appeared to be malnourished.

The mother told police she had noticed the twins were dead on either June 8 or 9, the court heard, but she did not report their deaths.

She told police she had been suffering from a cold and rarely fed or changed the twins, it is alleged.

The court heard the children weighed the same as newborns and appeared to be suffering from malnutrition.

One weighed 3.6kg and the other 4kg, and the mother allegedly told police: "I don't think I fed them enough."

The couple's other four children said they rarely saw the twins, who had been kept in the front room for most of their lives, the court heard.

Defence lawyer Michael Cridland, appearing for the father, told a second of two court hearings on Tuesday that his client had only been informed of the children's deaths on Monday.

His client was "further removed in his culpability" than the mother because he had not been responsible for supporting the children.

Mr Cridland said the pair had been undergoing "significant relationship problems", and his client had not seen the twins since Christmas, despite living in the same house.

The mother was the primary carer and the father took the older children to school before going to work each day, he said.

However, Sgt Green said the man had to walk past the twins' bedroom to get to his own room, where he slept separately from his partner.

Both the accused refused to undergo a psychiatric assessment.

They are expected to make applications for bail on Thursday.

The mother's four other children - three of whom were fathered by the accused man - are staying with their grandmother.

A spokesman for Queensland's Department of Child Safety said the twins were not known to the department.

He said the family was reported to the department before the twins were born, but no evidence requiring action was found.

"Where there is no evidence for the department to take action, it has no legal basis to intervene with a family and it would be totally inappropriate for the department to attempt to do so," the spokesman said.

Here is the link. There are hundreds of stories on this on the internet at the moment.

http://news.smh.com.au/national/sibling-found-dead-emaciated-twins-20080617-2rrj.html

😢 😢
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I posted this on the ForMadeleine forum and wanted to share this with you.

Post by dianeh on Wed Jun 18, 2008 4:46 pm

This is a very very sad case, and the two little darlings must have had a terrible life. The only solace I can take from it is that they had each other and since they had very little contact with anyone else, then they would have been each other's worlds, and would have loved each other very very much.

The children had been severely neglected for the last six months, since their parents relationship broke down. The mother must be some sort of sick person to be feeding 18 month old twins on bottles only, and then not even bothering to do that. How could she have put up with the crying, when they were hungry. The father hasnt seen the twins since Xmas and he still lives in the house. The other kids hardly ever seen them. But surely to God, the father and the other kids heard the babies crying, even the neighbours must have heard them crying. Starving kids cry for a very long time, until they become to weak to do so.

I cannot understand how anyone can do this to their children. If you dont want them,then give them up, or give them to your parents. The other children are now with their grandmother. I feel sure, that if she will take them now, she would have taken the twins if she had known what was happening to them. (but why didnt she, she lives in Brisbane as well, but musnt have been near them for months).

It is a wake up to all of us. We should not ignore what is going on and try to stay in contact with our family. If the grandmother had seen the twins in the last couple of months, at the house, she would have known that they were not being cared for. So would the father, if he had bothered to even open the door to the room. The father is as guilty as the mother. There is no excuse for both parents to forego their responsibility to their children. Even if the mother is mentally ill (but she has refused a psychiatric exam), the father should have known what was going on.

the poor 11 yo sister, who found them. She will probably question how she let those children die, as she gets older, yet at 11, she would not have realised that something was very very wrong. She is too young to realise that her siblings were being slowly starved to death. It may also turn out that they were given nothing at all for the last few days of their life, and this will show in the autopsy, if they died of dehydration.

Poor, poor little angels. I weep for them and the lives they have lived. To only know neglect and pain, is so sad. But as I said above they would have known love because they had each other. It is such a pity that they werent found earlier, that someone cared enough to save them, and that they could have grown up in a family that loves them.

This has upset me so much. The grandmother is on the news as I write this and she said the other siblings are completely traumatised. There is a 3 yo, 4 yo, 5 yo boys and the 11 yo girl. The grandmother is going to make sure the kids know they are wanted and loved. The children are too young to understand why their parents are in gaol.

As to how much I care, I am crying as I write this. Children are a blessing and should be cherished. There is no shame in giving your children up if you cant (or wont ) look after them.. the shame comes in leaving them to die.

😢 😢 😢 😢
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18month old twins starved to death in Brisbane

Post by helenm on Wed Jun 18, 2008 7:23 pm

Oh Diane, how terribly sad. I can understand your need toshare this terrible tragedy. I too am in tears as I write this reply. It is hard to comprehend how two adults have allowed this to happen. Just as it is hard to comprehend that no-one knew of the plight of those poor children. How could that be?

IMO the man is as 'culpable' as the woman, he lived in the same house for goodness sake. No excuse in my mind that the relationship was strained and he didn't have anything to do with the twins. He took the other children to school every day, you're not telling me that the 11 year old didn't talk about the twins, about not having seen them for a while. Why didn't he question this? Unbelievable.

As for not agreeing to psychiatric testing, can this not be enforced by a court of law?

Could you please keep us updated Diane on this tragic news. :( :( :( :(
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Applying for Bail Today

Post by dianeh on Thu Jun 19, 2008 9:12 am

The parents are applying for bail today.

Police are waiting for the results of the autopsy before deciding on murder or manslaughter charges. They think it will be two weeks before the results are made public. It is my bet that they had nothing at all for the last few days of their lives and dies of dehydration, and the autopsy will show they died at roughly the same time (same day for eg). If it was starvation, one would have died before the other and this will show up. I doubt that it will only be manslaughter charges.

The other possibility is that the mother killed them (smother or something).

Anyway, I will keep everyone up to date on this sad sad case.
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Parents Charges have been upgraded

Post by dianeh on Thu Jun 19, 2008 5:00 pm

The parents of the twins have had the charges upgraded to murder and torture.

It is now thought the twins had been dead for 11 days before they police were called. The mother thinks that she found them dead (how could both have died of starvation at the same time, I dont think so, that is why I reckon that they were given nothing at all, no food, no water for the last few days, then they would die at around the same time, due to no water) on about June 8th or 9th, but didnt tell anyone. If that is the case, then they were dead for a couple of days before she found them. No wonder they died, she didnt go near them at all in the last days. She is now on suicide watch. Im sorry but I have no compassion for her, all she had to do was make one phone call to the police saying that I think my children are in danger, I cant look after them, and they would have been saved. What those poor little children went though. Months of starvation, dirty nappies and abandonment, and then just left to die in their last days, too weak to cry even. In this case, I have to forego the innocent until proven guilty presumption, as these children are dead and they starved to death. The parents are responsible. The question is, was she mentally unbalanced and wasnt able to care for them. For him, it is depraved indifference, and I doubt they are both unbalanced. There are so many if only's. If only the grandmother had come to visit in the last month, she would have seen how emaciated the children were, and done something about it. If only, the 11 yo had realised that something was wrong earlier (that your brother and sister shouldnt be locked away in a cot all day and night but she probably never even knew it was wrong because that was the way they lived). If only,the school had of reported the family for the non attendance of the 11 yo from school. if only the neighbours had reported the family when the kids came looking for food, or the 3 yo was left to run around on the road naked.

I can safely say that if I saw a little boy running around on the road naked, I would take him inside. And if he was on the road a second time, I would report it. As if he is hit by a car, then it would be too late. I know the neighbours are not at fault but if only one of them had of been angry enough to report it, then the twins would still be alive today.
😢 😢


There is also a suppression order been placed on the case, so no details will be allowed to be given to the press. I am not sure how long that will last.
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Mother of Twins went on the Internet asking for help

Post by dianeh on Fri Jun 20, 2008 9:32 am

But this is back in December, before she started starving them. If she knew she couldnt cope, then she should have rang 000 and placed an emergency call, saying that she feels she is going to hurt them. Then she would have got all the help she needed.

Here is the link.

http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,23891593-1248,00.html

And here is the text of the article.

THE mother accused of killing and torturing her 18-month-old twins in Brisbane's south had documented the nightmare she lived trying to raise her young family.

The woman and her estranged partner were yesterday charged with murder and torture following the grisly discovery of the twins' decomposed bodies in their Sunnybank Hills home.

The woman's anguish was revealed yesterday when her postings - including photos of her babies - were found on a popular Australian parents' website.

The 30-year-old mother, who cannot be named, wrote that she was concerned she "sounded selfish" as she bared her soul.

"I would like to know how other parents of large families cope from morning to night," the mother wrote on the Bubhub website.

"I find that I am drowning since I had the twins. I just can't get everything flowing nicely any more in a routine, it is just do whatever, and at the moment it is killing me.

"I put on 30kgs while pregnant with them and haven't lost a thing since having them. It is all just blah.

"I started crying last night when I wanted to go out because in the legs I was fine, it was all the top half, it was all just out there and it looked awful."

The posts, also revealed on the Seven Network's Today Tonight last night, were made in December - at that time the woman's relationship was breaking down and police allege the torture of the twins began.

"I like things done at certain times, and the house cleaned, but I don't seem to have enough time to anything for myself or have the kids to have their baths or their dinner anymore before 7pm," she wrote.

The woman and her 28-year-old partner sat at opposite ends of the dock in court yesterday as police said the pair would be charged with two counts of murder and two of torture.

Police claim that between Christmas Day and this week, the pair tortured and murdered the babies at their Sunnybank Hills home.

They are still facing two charges each of failing to provide the necessaries of life dating to October 1.

The couple's four surviving children were yesterday taken to hospital by their grandmother for health checks while a shocked community rallied around them.

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Suppression Order

Post by dianeh on Fri Jun 20, 2008 9:34 am

A suppression order was placed on this case yesterday but was lifted yesterday afternoon after a challenge by the media.

So we will hear the gruesome details. I dont know if I want to know, because I know it is going to be shocking and very very upsetting.
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Re twin starved to death in Brisbane

Post by helenm on Fri Jun 20, 2008 6:07 pm

Hi Diane,

Thanks for the update. Truly shocking. It does sound to me that the mother was depressed, crying out for help, hence her plea on the internet. The depression if that is what it is would have crept up on her. She is most probably suffering from post natal depression after the birth of the twins. Maybe she didn't know who to turn to or was so deep in the depression that she hadn't the wherewithall t muster that kind of thought. I suppose we will get to know the circumstances surrounding the twins deaths in due course. Still can't understand their reluctance to be psychologically assessed. Oh well, time will tell.
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Re: 18 Month Old Twins Starved to Death in Brisbane

Post by kiwigirl on Fri Jun 20, 2008 6:46 pm

Oh god Diane, this is truly awful. I must admit to feeling the same way as you and having no compassion for the woman at all. Frankly if she can go to a website and 'bare her soul' then she knew something was wrong - simple. However, she described herself as selfish, and I would have to agree, especially if she is now on suicide watch - that indicates to me that she is incredibly selfish indeed.
This is something that Viv et al need to read, as this is true neglect and abandonment - pure and simple!
How very, very upsetting.
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Kiwigirl, Helen

Post by dianeh on Fri Jun 20, 2008 7:11 pm

As a sufferer of post natal depression, I can honestly say that sometimes it was truly frightening and horrific. But never for one instant would I have ever harmed my kids. Lets be realistic, no matter what depression you are having, you know that if you dont feed your children, they will die.

I sought help and made positive changes in my life to help overcome the depression. It was during my worst times that Madeleine disappeared, and it affected me so badly. I know it is hard to see the way out, of course I know. BUT, she let her children die. She killed them. And that husband let it happen. She must have known that eventually they would die. All it would take is one phone call to 000, and her problem would be gone. During my depression, I never once stopped caring for my children. I was not one of those poor women who tries to harm the children, my depression took a different form, where I was paranoid something would happen to them, what sort of horrible world have I brought them into, watching them sleep all night without sleeping etc, etc. But in the end, I could no longer function, could no longer think clearly. So I quit my job, told my Mum what was happening and went to the doctor. But you know, I thought I had a brain tumour or something, not depression. How could I have depression, I am too clever for that, I should be able to snap out of it, and all those other stupid things that you tell yourself. I didnt recognise depression. But I did know that I couldnt cope and sought help.

As I said, one phone call, is all it would take to get help. One phone call and the children would still be alive. How any mother could let her children suffer like that is beyond belief. My compassion is in very short supply for this one. Has she sought help a month ago, then I would have had all the compassion in the world for her. But none at all for him. Lazy selfish SOB, that couldnt even look at his children, let alone help his wife. He is scum.

Sorry if I upset anyone with this but I have nothing there for these people. My heart broke for the twins, and for the rest of the kids, who will be affected by this for the rest of their lives.
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twins dies after being starved to death in Brisbane

Post by helenm on Sat Jun 21, 2008 3:54 am

Diane, you have certainly not upset me, everyone is entitled to voice their opinion. Your experience of PND must have been terrifying. I am glad that you had the wherewithall to seek out help and support at what must have been a very difficult time for you and your family. You have obviously drawn on your previous experience when replying to my post. I have never had that experience other than feeling 'low' after the births of my children. However, I will say that your experience is not necessarily that of all women suffering/suffered with PND. I believe that a woman with PND can lead to Postnatal Psychosis. Research shows that it is improbable that a woman will harm her child whilst having PND, but that does no make it impossible. So yes, I think I was being realistic when I put forth this suggestion, and suggestion is all that it was.

Kiwigirl, the fact that this woman is reported as being on 'suicide watch' tells me that she most probably has some form of depression or mental illness. A common symptom of depression is the feeling of being useless and better off dead. I do not believe that anyone who attempts or committs suicide is selfish, more a desperate cry for help, whether that cry is for attention only makes no difference. I am sure that there is nothing 'simple' about this case. As I have stated before the symptoms of depression/mental illness can creep up slowly on a person until they are no longer able to make everyday decisions.
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Helen

Post by dianeh on Sat Jun 21, 2008 4:35 pm

I didnt mean to imply that PND is not a terrible thing. Nor to imply that you were wrong to suggest it. I just cant understand how a woman can do this over such a long period. A friend of mine had to have her mother live with her for months and she wasnt allowed to be left alone with the babies (she had twin girls). The difference is with this other woman, that she has had 6 months to seek help, to recognise that she is harming her children. In most cases where the child is harmed, it happens very quickly, either in minutes or hours, particulalry where psychosis or very deep depression is involved. Something happens and the woman snaps and then it is over very very quickly.

By discussing my own story, I was trying to highlight that even when depressed, we know the difference between right and wrong and still have a choice. PND is well publicised here, and help is available but it needs to be asked for. That is one area that upsets me because I think there should be checks done on certain groups of high risk people (such as this woman with so many young children) over a period of years, to make sure that everything is going right. Even if the checks are done by the local church , or the Salvos and reported back to DOCS (Social Services). We leave too much to chance, and the good of the children is often overlooked.

I dont know why this mother did this to her children but I dont know how for day after day she could have watched them starving getting weaker and weaker without realising what was happeneing to them.

The whole thing is terrible. I think she should have a psychiatric assessment, because there is a real possibility to me that this woman had no idea what she was doing. How else can I make sense of what has happened. If this is the case, then the father is even more culpible, for depraved indifference, not even bothering to set eyes on his children for six months.
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As a result

Post by dianeh on Wed Jul 02, 2008 11:05 am

As a result of the death of the twins and two other cases of criminal neglect in the last two weeks, the Federal Govt has introduced two new measures to combat the increasing incidence of child negelct within our community.

1. A greater co-operation between the states (as Child services is covered under individual states) and a review of procedures such as the closure of files too early etc.
2. Health checks for all pre-school children.

Now while this sounds great, it wont make any difference. (Also, the twins would have been under the proposed age limit). The people who negelct their children will not take them to get the health checks. I have put forward an idea on a public forum that six monthly health checks should be done for all children and that all government benefits related to children are dependent upon them. This would mean that no money without the health checks. This would be vastly expensive, as a huge expansion of the current community nurse services would be needed but I think it could be done and would attract the nurses that have left the public health system due to the overwork and poor conditions. It would mean that we could direct money from the end of the cycle, after the abuse/neglect has occurred, to the front, in prevention. Apparently we spend billions on this each year, and still kids are being abused, neglected and dying.

Advantages are
1. The linking of health checks to benefits means that they will be checked. It seems that in some cases, the children are kept by the parents purely for money.
2. Different remedies can be implemented depending upon what the health checks show. For eg, parenting classes recommended, child nutrition, in home help (say for those with large families that are in need), referral for further health checks, referral to developmental experts, referral for assessment by child services, calling police in extreme cases, etc etc.
3. Health system would be bolstered by influx of previously retired health workers, coming back into a different sphere of health work.
4. Would take some of the pressure of doctors and the community health clinics that are currently overworked, by diverting some patients and also by increased funding and staff numbers.
5. Health checks would find cases of negelct and abuse, and even find families that are in need of help (whether physical assistance or financial). It depends upon how the health checks are done and what they would focus on. I favor a relatively quick check (after all to do them six monthly, they need to be quick) focusing on height, weight, major developmental guidelines, simple eyesight and hearing,teeth, motor skills, and speech, as well as overall wellness and signs of physical abuse.

I have to write this up properly and I am going to submit it to my MP. If I dont do any good with her, then I will go to one of the various child protection foundations that exist, and ask for their help. I am quite simply sick of the inaction and inadequacies of the govt departments and their inability to address the situation, and failing to protect our children.

What do you think? Does Britain have anything like this, and how does it work? Is there a website or something that details how it works, if you have something like this?
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Re: 18 Month Old Twins Starved to Death in Brisbane

Post by clairesy on Wed Jul 02, 2008 7:42 pm

Dianeh,

Thats a really really good idea. Im not sure if the Uk has anything like this.I know that babies are taken to clinic regular to check weight etc.....however this is solely at the mums discretion.
Infact the only vital checks on a baby are carried out in the first initial days after you leave the hospital .A midwife or health visitor calls to your home to check you and baby are fine and settling Okay. My daughter was born with a port wine mark on her back..its only little and isnt a problem,she also has one on the back of head to which isnt noticeable.
The midwife called on me one morning when my daughter was a couple days old as i was changing her nappy,getting her dressed etc.....she spotted the mark on my daughters back and asked what it was..i told her it was a birth mark and she asked to see it....she came over had a good old nose at this mark ...i had to laugh because it was clear she was confirming a birth mark andnothing else......................

I was glad though to see that she was thorough with her job.Its sad though that some health officials don't carry out the vital checks as they should do.

My little girl is 5 years old now but I clearly remember taking her to clinics fortnightly for regular checks on her weight etc. Usually they would ask that you stripped the baby to their nappies to be wighed.

Im not entirely sure what rules and laws they have concerning child benefits and things.
But I think your theorie of stopping government benefits relating to children if they don't take their children to these checks is absolutely fantastic. It targets every single household with a child in it....child benefits are payed out to all carers of a children here right up until the age of 18 yrs old, and i think if this was to be stopped on failure to turn up at these checks it would definitely be a good thing.

well done you its a brilliant idea...maybe you could let me know how you get on with this as I would like to see the same sort of thing put into practice here in the Uk.

Infact I hope you don't mind but I might actually write a letter to my local mp about this anyway.
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Clairesy

Post by dianeh on Fri Jul 04, 2008 9:12 am

Go right ahead and contact your MP. It doesnt hurt for alternatives to the current system to be brought up, even if it goes no where.

I would like to highlight one of the differences between your system and ours in regards to nursing sisters/midwives after leaving hospital. I recieved two home visits, two weeks apart, and I only received these because my daughter had a heart problem and resulting breathing problems and so I asked for a home visit. And I was only entitled to 2 of them. I went to the public clinic once after that. I used to take her to the doctor instead (we had lots of doctors and paediatrician visits), as the nurses were not able to deal with my daughter's health problems incluidng breathing and feeding problems (due to another congenital problem). They didnt understand the condition which she had and used to say the stupidest things, that were in fact dangerous. Luckily I was under a paediatrician, and the nurse was saying the opposite to him. As well, the nurse at my GP's clinic took the time to research what was wrong with my daughter, and it was great. She had never had a silent baby before (my daughter made no sound at all when she cried) and really researched her condition. With my son, I used the Well Baby clinic at the private hospital where I gave birth (didnt do with my daughter, but I could have, it was just that I was at the paediatrician more often than I need to go to baby clinic), and they were terrific. And I already knew the nurse very well, as she also worked in the Special Care nursery at the hospital, and met her when I had my daughter (7 weeks in special care for her, 4 weeks for Son).

There is very little support for new mothers here is Australia, but thankfully a lot more than is available in many other countries. A friend of mine had her first child in the US, was kicked out of hospital two days later and no help with anything, and no family either. She ended up paying a nanny to come and help for a while, to teach her how to care for the baby.

One of the midwives at the hospital when I had my daughter was British, and she was terrific, and had focused on mifwifery. She used a holistic approach and it was so good. She really helped me with what was a terrible time. With heart and breathing problems and subsequent feeding problems in my baby, health problems of my own, she was an angel. She was only casual and couldnt get a full time job in her field, and she was in some sort of action group trying to change things in the hospital (which is probably why she couldnt get that full time job she needed). In the end, she ended up taking a job as a psychiatric nurse, as she need the full time work (plus the benefits). And it is a pity because we need people like her in the maternity field. Just my experiences but it shows just how deficient our system is. I got the best care you could imagine for the baby, and no one even noticed my problems, even after I started asking the nurses about it. Seems the mothers are just expected to be well and to cope.
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dianeh
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