Why I called the blog “The Dutch Mother” – Bethan Germon
Updated: Apr 3, 2020
I made the blog “The dutch mother” as I have had 10 years of raising two incredible girls. One with additional, sensory and emotional needs the other with a range of disabilities. There is little to no support out there to make friends online and discuss real issue with one another. The world of additional needs is hard and isolating as it is. Add health complications, a compromised immune system, 24 months of hospital admissions and a long list of complex disabilities (I hate that term) but the walk is A LOT more isolating. In fact its unbearably lonely. Fortunately I haven’t had to walk this path alone. I have a husband @Dadability, a wonderful mother & father, sister, mother in Law and other family members who have supported all the way from the get go. But despite all the help I have there is a difference in perspective, emotions and practical help when it comes to being their Mum. I see things differently to my supporting family members because I have been made differently to them and my role is different. So as much as we are united it has still been at times lonely and hard to express exactly how, I feel as their mother.
One night I was really down and struggling with a lot of issues, my self esteem was rock bottom and a good friend sent me this poem. This poem changed my out look on my journey with motherhood and made me realise I was grieving children that were actually here and there was nothing wrong with them or how I was mothering them. My journey was different and didn’t meet my pre children expectations. Every where you look these days you can get advice on fertility and getting pregnant, pregnancies, delivery, birthing plans, parenting, new born stage, development, milestones, weaning. You name it, its there. Boots magazine, Tesco magazine, toys r us, mothercare, google, pinterest, even cow & gate have there own advice line. I had NO WHERE. Not even friends could help because I knew NO ONE. My husband was in full time work and my mother knew as much as I did because these unicorns I was raising were completely unique. The baby has a 1 in a million genetic mutation that only affects 6 girls world wide and guess what, she was different from the other 5 too. Fortunately in the past two years I’ve made some life long friendships with other Dutch Mothers. They are some of the best women I’ve ever met, I love them all dearly and their children are awesome. Please feel free to join my Facebook support page and make some friends yourself, they really are an awesome group of mums 🙂
This poem has helped me in good and bad and I want to show you this poem too. So here it is.
WELCOME TO HOLLAND
by Emily Perl Kingsley.
c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved
I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability – to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It’s like this……
When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting.
After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.”
“Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.”
But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.
The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place.
So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.
It’s just a different place. It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around…. and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills….and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy… and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”
And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away… because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.
But… if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things … about Holland.
If you think this poem can help a mother just like me or like you, please share it to them today. You never know it could really help them in their hour of need.