At just a few months old I had colic, croup and projectile vomiting. Doctors set a benchmark for me of 10lbs which for a long time I was unable to reach. I dropped below the 0.4 centile line on the growth charts used at the time. My mum was sent a young girl training in childcare to help with my feeding. She was left hysterical the first time she saw me vomit clear across a room. We had a constant stream of appointments and home visits from Health Visitors, Doctors and other Health Professionals. I struggled to grow my entire childhood. When I was a toddler my parents were offered hormone growth injections and told I'd only grow to be 4ft 10inches. If you ask my mum about it all now she rolls her eyes and says "what did they know, look at you now."
(FYI, my parents did in fact refuse the injections and although when I started secondary school I was still wearing 7-8yrs clothes I am now a happy 5ft 4inches!)
I remember when M was a baby and she started sliding down the growth chart; having started life on the 25th centile line, by 12 weeks she had dropped to the 2nd. She was breast-fed and fed every 3 hours on the dot for 20 minutes and no longer. I often expressed in between feeds and so I knew my body was producing enough milk. This didn't satisfy my Health Visitor however and we were put on fortnightly weigh-ins. My medical history came up during a conversation with my GP and after that we were put on weekly visits. I can recall complaining to some mummy friends that my baby was in no way 'at risk'. Yes, she cried A LOT but she was otherwise alert, curious and a mini version of the michelin man, why was my Health Visitor so desperate to intervene?
When I talk about my experience with M now I tend to adopt the same look as my mum "health visitors eh..." but recently I've had a change of heart. I am so so SO grateful that we live in a country where we have free access to medical care and that there are professionals to BE bothered about whether our babies are putting on weight and getting enough sustenance, that when the time came for M to move onto formula I was able to just walk down to my local supermarket and buy some...not everyone gets that chance.
I recently read a blog post by Mummy from the Heart about a new campaign by ONE called Thrive: Food. Farming. Future.
7.6 million children die each year before they reach their fifth birthday, the majority of them from the world's poorest countries.
The key aims of the Thrive campaign are that by 2015 they will see:
- 15 million fewer children chronically malnourished; and
- 50 million people lifted out of extreme poverty.
It's hard to even get my head around such vast numbers of people...even more difficult to think how I could make a difference.
I don't know how many people read my blog but if even one person reads this post and adds their support to the campaign then that will be an amazing achievement.
It's more than likely that I wouldn't be here if it hadn't been for access to medical care...it truly breaks my heart to think that there are millions of babies who don't get that chance at life.
I'll be adding my voice to ONE's campaign. Find out here how you can do the same.