When A Mother’s Love Is Not Enough Review: Special Television

November 9, 2009 by  
Filed under - Home, Reviews

WHEN A MOTHER’S LOVE IS NOT ENOUGH: Tuesday 10th November, BBC One, 10:35pm Alert Me

Capturing the reality of raising a disabled child is difficult to tackle.

But Rosa Monckton provides a fairly objective and poignantly candid portrait of families dealing with this issue in Britain today in When a Mother’s Love is Not Enough.

Monckton, a self-proclaimed businesswoman, charity worker and confidante of the late Princess Diana (shameless exploitation), speaks to five families and their challenging children in this sombre documentary. She witnesses a couple cope with the unexpected violence of their 17-year-old with Asperger’s and discusses state-supported respite care and blatant discrimination with the distressed mother of a 12-year-old with Cerebral Palsy. And naturally, she offers her own commentary.

“My immediate reaction was that if I could run to a window, I would jump out of it,? Monckton says matter-of-factly of her birth to Domenica, her now 14-year-old daughter who suffers from Down’s syndrome. A bit harrowing, no?

Then a mother of a blind and epileptic infant named Rose admits: “I know hand-to-heart that if it was just me and Rose, we wouldn’t be here.? So maudlin, it is almost comical, and then the sad reality sets in.

A documentary centred on disabled children would not be at the top of anyone’s to-watch list. But the candid accounts and horrific situations of When A Mother’s Love make us sit up on our seats. This documentary proves insightful and engaging–a worthwhile piece of entertainment.

Danielle Jacoby

Helen B says:

I found the programme enlightening and very emotive, I do not have a disabled child, nor am I in any type of caring role and this programme really brought home the amazing job parents and carers do.

I do not feel Rosa Monkton demonised these children but portrayed the real challenges parents and carers face every day. Although the programme did show these children and young adults being challenging it also showed the unconditional love they have for the people closest to them.

I found the insight into the young carers life very hard to watch. When I compare the life of my 10 year old to that of the young carer I felt close to tears. The programme showed the bullying he experiences it seems there is no respite yet he has more maturity and strength of character than any of his so called peers, siblings are so often forgotten and I applause this programme for including all aspects and experiences. It would be interesting to know if he does get any support via school, a young carers club etc.

With the unacceptable victimisation of families with disabled children and lack of recognition and support for carers, programmes like this help to keep these important issues in the spotlight which can only be a good thing.

L Lawrence says:

At last a proper insight to all the challenges of growing up with a disability and the toll this takes on parents and siblings. I am a former nurse trained in learning disabilities. I commenced my long standing career in what is now referred to as the old hospital institutions. I quickly progressed my care career towards the community as my hospital closed and a ‘better life’ in the community was to be provided. I have no doubt this was a move in the right direction but it had and still has enormous shortfalls in available funding and services, and never ending politics of which authority pays for what. I worked in a large rural community with no history of specialist services. I met parents of grown up children with Down’s Syndrome who sadly believed as their consultant had advised at birth, that their child would die before them and there was nothing to worry about. My work involved a long sensitive approach of finally letting go and successfully moving towards more independent living. All the traumas of what will happen when education finishes, are still the same as they were 15 years ago. I was subject of health cutbacks and despite being the only specialist in my community, I was advised that a simple cup of tea and chat was not a supportive role to these families. In my 27 years of career I have seen a constant series of cutbacks or in professional terms ‘service rationalization’! Of all the disabled groups, it appears learning disabilities and now mental health have been mostly targeted. These are often the groups unable to speak for themselves and who will be left most vulnerable. Care in the community promised a better life but the shortfalls often result in crisis management and the door to the community closed and shut for most, periodically open when funds and politics permit. With proper funds and effective inter agency net working, I have seen excellent care packages and an ordinary lifestyle achieved for both disabled people, and their families.

Thanks to Rosa Monckton for this passionately told story of these exceptional mothers and their beautiful children, living in such terrible circumstances. It was shocking and disturbing to watch and we only hope this will make the politicians in this country sit up and take notice. How alarming is the current system. While footballers, bankers and the like are worshipped and paid millions, these poor people, who are worth their weight in gold are ignored by society. The fact that a mother should have to measure her child’s urine in order to obtain nappies is preposterous !! We are so busy helping immigrants to get hand-outs, while ignoring the desperate plight that these families find themself in. Please thank Rose Monckton for her bravery in bringing this matter to the nation’s attention.

L Dunne says:

Rosa Monckton, friend of Lady Diana and mother of a daughter with Downs syndrome, did a very good job of demonising disabled children.

She wallowed in ‘the shame’ of disability and how ‘these people’ make life difficult for the ‘normals’.

OK, her argument was that carers may need more support, but her focus appeared to be on looking on in abject disgust as a child struggled with tourettes and asperger’s. She was intent on packing children off to residential ‘respite’ places that resonate with institutions of old. This was presented as a ‘brave’ and ‘realistic’ option.
Her ‘support for carers’ argument appeared as a guise for instituionalisation.

Put Rosa in an institution and lose the key.

Naturally, there was a BBC ‘If you have been affected by issues raised in this programme…’ announcement at the end.

J M & K Woolley says:

You say that your programme is ” a worthwhile piece of entertainment”. I’m afraid that I find very little entertainment in caring for disabled children.Hard unceasing work,yes,heartbreak almost every long,long day,yes,but entertainment,definately not and I speak with the benefit of 50 years experience of caring,first for our son David who died in 1977 aged almost 17 and then for the following 34 years for our daughter Sarah who died on the 16th February this year. No definate diagnosis given for either,just a genetic accident.Both of them doubly incontinent for a total of 30 + years and unable to do anything except breath for longer than we care to remember,with every bodily function having to be performed for them.Our own lives have been forfeit as a result but when you find yourself in this position you have to dig deep and play the hand that you are dealt with,you owe this much to the poor unfortunates that have come onto this world as a result of your actions.Self pity and asking “why me” will not provide the answer.
Our experiences range from more or less the inception of the idea that disabled children should be cared and the facilities to do this made available to those charged with the task, up to the present day during which time we have seen tremendous change. You do have to battle the authorities to achieve this but it is much,much better than it was. We recieved a great deal of help from our authority in Derbyshire but I do understand that this is just about the besy in the land and perhaps we are fortunate in residing where we do.I am pleased to say that we never ever suffered abuse,just the usual funny looks and the movement away from our unfortunate child, just in case it was catching.

Our hearts go out to any parent facing the same or similar lives to those we have experienced for there is only one way to face the situation in you want to be considered a responsible human being.You have to grasp the nettle firmly and accept that it is your responsibility and yours alone to fight for everything that may be required to care for your charge and to further accept that your own needs are now secondary.Failure to do this will render you unsuitable for what lies ahead. Your own life is no longer yours and the love of your lifes partner will become an increasing neccesity as time progresses.

There is another consideration and this is the well being of the carers who find themselves in this unenviable situation. We all wear out and although in our case we had access to respite care before Sarah became too ill, when our situation neared its inevitable conclusion we did not have a holiday for 2 years and 24 hour care can become quite traumatic. We had the opportunity to have people come into our home and care for Sarah whilst we took a short break but we ourselves had become so paranoid that we trusted no one but ourselves to care for her and in this situation a break is pointless.We even found it neccesary to stay overnight on Sarahs admissions to hospital,not even trusting the nurses. There is the saying that “no one looks after them like yourself” and I’m afraid we took this literally
We are now both just as traumatised as troops returning from a war zone.We have few friends as a result of our strange and and consider ourselves as institutionalised as a “lifer” on his release from prison,having been regimented for so long we have neither the will or the knowledge to manage the lives returned to us after so long.The actuality of suddenly,after all those years of having no time to yourself to having all the time in the world in which to reflect ,well,thank God we are nearing the end of our own road.

Yvonne says:

I am a disabled mother with disabled children. I am supported by a charity called Real Life Parenting. It was created by parents of disabled children. The support they give is amazing. They have run courses, supported parents, and arranged respite care. Most of all…. informed us of our rights.

Many parents do not have any idea of what they are entitled to until somewhere like RLP tells them!! I know I didn’t!

Please support them. They support every disability not just one or two.

140 Balaam Street