The charity helping women who have had their children taken away by social services

By Nina Steele 

Childless not by choiceI was visiting an acquaintance a couple of years ago when a young woman stopped by. She looked quite agitated, and even though we had never met before, she didn’t waste any time and started recounting issues she had been having with her boyfriend. It became quickly clear that she was troubled. When she left, the acquaintance filled me in on her story. As it turned out, she had had several children taken away by social services and just a few days earlier she had given birth to another child, who was promptly taken into care. The acquaintance explained that she was a drug addict and that she was also in an abusive relationship. I remember asking why the system couldn’t prevent her from becoming pregnant in the first place, since that would save a child from having to grow up in care, with all the issues that a lot of these children inevitably end up facing later in life.

Which is why I was rather pleased to read about the charity Pause. It works with women ‘who have had two or more children removed’. A quick description of the charity from their website states that: “Pause works with women who have experienced, or are at risk of, repeat removals of children from their care. Through an intense programme of support, it aims to break this cycle and give women the opportunity to reflect, tackle destructive patterns of behaviour, and to develop new skills and responses that can help them create a more positive future”.

Although they don’t advocate for the women to be sterilised, what they do is convince them to “put their fertility on hold for 18 months with an implant”. As expected, the charity has been criticised in some quarters for what some see as a violation of a woman’s right to have complete control over her fertility.

I for one totally support the work they do. I find it quite frustrating when critics keep going on about human rights, even when it is glaringly obvious that the solution to a problem demands some form of intervention. And what about the rights of the unborn child? Are these critics really suggesting that they would rather these women kept having babies, even with the certainty that they would be taken away? What good does that do for all involved, except to create more misery.

Tellingly, the charity has the support of the women themselves, with one saying: “I’d get sterilised if I could but they [healthcare professionals] won’t let me”. That says it all really.

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