A mother consented to a Care Order being made for four of her children because, she told the judge, she was unable to care for them due to her own psychological difficulties.
At a District Court hearing in a rural town, she said she believed it would be in the best interests of the children if they stayed in care. She said she had experienced a very hard life and needed to address everything that had happened to her. Her father had been abusive and she had subsequently suffered abuse while in care. When she was a child she had not been allowed to show any feelings. Nobody had shown any affection towards her and she didn’t know how to show affection to her children.
She told the court that she had started to self harm when she was about eleven years old and this was never addressed until she herself was in care. She said she had suffered a lot of domestic violence and she had felt that she deserved nothing else. “Physically I was there (for the children),” she said. “But emotionally it was not good for them. I think it’s for the best that they stay where they are.” She said she did not want history to repeat itself.
The mother said she enjoyed her regular access with her children. They laughed and joked a lot and it was important for her that this would continue and she hoped that it would lead to overnights in the future. “Now that I’m a lot stronger, I can feel emotions and it’s quite rewarding after so many years.” She said she was seeing a specialist who was working with her on dealing with her childhood issues, including abuse. It was very hard work and it was not an easy decision for her to make but the children were very happy where they were. “It’s a life I never had. They have a stable life.”
The judge told her it was a very difficult decision for her to make but that it didn’t preclude her coming back to court at a future date, when she had her own issues resolved, to have the Care Orders rescinded. “But I have to leave it to you and the HSE to make that decision,” he said. “I fully realise you need to work on your own demons and I wish you well in that regard.”
The mother’s solicitor said the mother had put her own children first and it was an extremely difficult and brave decision for her to make. The judge granted the HSE its application for the care orders. He said she was a caring mother who was doing the best she could and realised that her children were in a better place.
“I can’t predict the future. There may come a time when she will be in a position to care for them full time. It’s not for me to say when and if that will happen. I wish [Ms X] well in her journey and its clear to the court she has the best interests of the children at heart,” the judge concluded.