Learnings from being Skye/Kathryn’s Mother

(written 1998)

Some of this is fairly raw/ more like a journal for me to work out just ‘what was I doing???’ after the dust settled down.


Initially, the awareness that she was not as her brothers in utero, that there was no sense of connection mother —fetus. An awareness that there was something very different about the pregnancy and birth. An awareness, once she was born, that all was not well with this one.

A total lack of medical interest in the incoherence of her blood results, her apparent lack of eye contact, or indeed ability to open her eyes in any light, and her amazing ability to vomit through her nose.

A descent into hell, as she lost all vestiges of normal baby behaviour, all the while the process being denied by the paediatrician, who conducted all check-ups by phone, through his receptionist. Eventual emergency admission to hospital, fitting and near death.


The arrival of the heroically rescued (through a myriad of medical, and her mother’s interventions), massively brain damaged baby. Beginning a new life, clawing her way back to some semblance of normal. All the while attempting to exit, via obscure viral illnesses, refusal to sleep and no doubt visceral chaos brought about by often non stop screaming, fighting life.


Finding a neurological rehabilitation programme to begin the long road back to rewiring, reconnecting and awakening her very compromised neural hardware. Concurrently continuing with the structural rebalances, via various chiropractors, Reiki to attempt to stabilise the rage, hatred and horror that the baby felt and emanated, and many very alternative solutions to health issues as they arose.


Realising that autism was as much a factor of the puzzle as the frank brain injury.

Finding a more comprehensive neurological programme, and being joyfully inducted into the altered state parents are in, in order to live and breathe rescue on the scale required to win back some of what could have been.


The realisation that Skye was incapable of going forward until the underlying issues, as yet unknown, but very obviously there, were worked with. Finding a metaphysical counsellor to delve into the non standard realities that were larger than our realities for the very, very traumatised little one.

As a consequence, Skye attempted to get us to kill her, by strangulation.

Consequently, all volunteers were thanked and released, as we attempted to make sense of the new behaviours.


Eventual maternal exhaustion, awareness of the need to ditch child, or go under self.

Last hurrah a mother and daughter holiday to say goodbye, as her mother’s intention was to somehow release her into care. A personal realization that ‘I can’t do this any more’.

Very strangely, a new me emerged.
A new her emerged.
Totally different self, renamed. Now Kathryn.
Totally different.
Wanting to be related to and with.
No longer fighting touch, in fact wanting it. Needing to be with people.
Needing to be loved. (A miracle).

The gradual reintegration into semblance of ‘normal’. Pre school, special school, someone there who was able to be related with and to – and who wanted and NEEDED touch and inclusion as a person. Who needed love.


Gradual descent into another hell. Pushed over by MORE mercury poisoning – this time the MMR that I had decided to give her (when 4 years old) when she was the most well and least autistic she had ever been. What a disaster – to spend the next year attempting to salvage her life and her sanity . . ..

Of screaming throughout all summer. Of eventually fitting massively, of me considering allowing her to slip away in one of these nearly hour long sessions – just as I had given her the gift of life (without checking if that was OK by her), and thus the awareness that neither she could be expected to live this horror any longer, or I could afford in any aspect of my life, to continue as we were.


Solution unplanned or wanted pregnancy.

Creating huge drama.

Choice to not abort.

The turning upside-down of life as we had known it, and a journey back to ‘home’.

NZ, where the government in setting up better systems of support, parents seemed recognised as being victims of circumstance; to be supported, not sidelined, ignored and punished by the keepers of public purse.


The realisation that none of us could continue Josh (aged then 11) as the surrogate Dad for much loved sister, and baby brother, or me as sole parent in a new land, of three very diverse children, with no financial or domestic security.

Kathryn to stay in my native land (NZ), fostered out, Josh sent to Perth to be with his father, and I back to Australia to attempt to give the new baby a settled home with his Mum and Dad. A dream, that did not follow Hollywood scripting.


Maternal burnout, to try to retreat into making sense of the entire process, concurrently acting as a very functional assauger (professional and in her own life) of others’ wounds.