By Esther Whitney (artist name: Doctor Doom)
Content overview: Discussion of child removed from care, trauma and poor treatment from professionals.
This painting explores the impact on families in relation to a child being wrongfully removed from their care because of a lack of understanding and support.
In April 2016, my 7-week-old baby was taken from me by the Local Authority. I started to scream, I am still screaming, I will never stop screaming. The removal of my baby was a violation of our Human Rights: at the time there was little understanding about autism and parenting.
The pain caused by the removal of my baby cannot be put into words or expressed, unless you have lived through it, you could never comprehend the trauma.
I am still living through it; nothing will ever put right what happened to our family, much time was stolen, time which can never be replaced. So much pain caused; pain that can never be erased. I am not the same person since it happened, I will never be the same again.
This painting is rather emotive, it’s difficult to look at it. But it’s important to acknowledge that when there is an absence of knowledge and understanding the consequences can be catastrophic.
The parenting experience is different for autistic people. Knowledge and understanding can make a huge difference to an autistic parent's life leading to positive perinatal experiences. As autistic parents our parenting style is unique. We should not be held to neurotypical parenting standards.
We are autistic, we will always be autistic, our parenting styles and experiences are different, not wrong. The more this is recognized and understood the better we are received by society.