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Another Child Care Perspective

by Melinda Smith

Date: Tue, 23 Mar 1999

I am also a child care worker who has been touched by SIDS, I was looking after twin boys plus their 4 year old brother, the twins were born 2 and a half months premature and once they got home we all thought the struggle was over, little did we know. I left work one evening (I was a live out nanny) and everyone was fine I arrived the next morning to find out that one of the twins had died overnight, the shock is still with me to this day over six years later. We were of course told that being 4 months old and the fact he was a boy it was a "classic" case of SIDS, it was terribly hard to cope with still having one baby that needed our attention (I talk in "we and "our" because once something like this happens you have such a strong with the family, in my case anyway).

Once the funeral was over and the parents went back to work, I was left at home with the surviving baby, this time was extremely difficult for me as everyone would ring and use me as a means of finding out how the parents were doing, this was fine although I would be the one that any awful comments were said to, for example I was told that they never really wanted two babies to begin with! They may not have planned it but they certainly didn't love them any less! Strange the things people say.

I stayed on with this family for a further 18 months and the children are now almost 11 years and 7 years, we are very close and I still see them often. I found it very difficult in fact impossible once I left to go into another job that had a child under 1 year in it, I just couldn't do it to myself and that was very upsetting as that has always been my preferred age group. It took me a good 4 years before I could have another baby in my care and it still haunts me that it will happen again, I dread the time when I have my own children as this experience has been bad enough without it being my own child, that I can't imagine and my heart goes out to all of you who have been touched by SIDS. I left nannying two years ago and I'm now at university studying nursing, I want to specialise in midwifery and while I'm scared something will go wrong I doubt it could get any worse than seeing a baby I cared for in the funeral home. I'm sorry this is so long and maybe not of interest to you all, but to anyone who wishes to talk, feel free to contact me at melbell@ihug.com.au.

Take care of yourselves.

Melinda

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