Jan 6, 2013

Dear Nicola Roxon.... From mother of Lewis and Rowan

Dear Ms Roxon, 

I am sorry to interrupt your Christmas holidays and time with your family, but my Christmas was interrupted on Boxing Day when I read about Ranjini and her children who are detained in Villawood Detention Centre. 

I had tears in my eyes when I read about her fears surrounding the upcoming birth of her baby and postnatal period. When I think about the wonderful  births of my two children and the supported postnatal period that I enjoyed, I feel distressed at the polarity between our situations. 

We live in the same city, yet our experiences of birth and the postnatal period will be worlds apart. The weeks immediately following birth are a time when women can be emotionally vulnerable and need the support of family and loved ones. While her and her baby’s medical needs I hope will be met in Villawood, this is not sufficient for their physical and emotional wellbeing.   

Aside from the upset I feel about Ranjini birthing in such stressful circumstances I am appalled that a new born child is starting its life behind bars.  You may argue that a newborn child has no knowledge of its surroundings and only needs its mother but there is some very strong evidence to suggest that the stress and trauma a mother feels while she is pregnant can have drastic effects on the unborn child (eg. Beydoun & Saftlas, 2008 Paediatric and Perinatal and Epidemiology, volume 22, pp.438-466).  A newborn also needs a mother who is emotional able to respond to its needs, not a mother who is traumatised and stressed because she and her children are being held in indefinite detention.  

Ms Roxan I beg you to take a closer look at this situation. I implore you to try your hardest to find a way for Ranjini to be able to live back in the community with her husband and her children. Find a way for her child to be born free.  

Yours Sincerely 

Naomi Homel 

(Mother of Lewis and Rowan)