This week Rockhampton poet Belinda Hemmens is sharing her very personal journey with us. We've explored trauma. mental health challenges, and the stigma that still surrounds mental health issues. Today, in the final installment, we look ahead to the future and the next generation.
He Walks In My Shoes
When I had my child, it was something I could not envision,
Before he was born I made a massive decision.
I was warned that maybe I would pass this to my baby,
And he would grow and develop this illness, maybe.
But I went ahead, I gave birth to a son,
He was my everything, my only one.
I struggled through times on raising my child,
But I considered this OK, it was only mild.
All along I was riddled with guilt, almost ashamed,
We had a happy family but I could not resist the blame.
My mental health was up and down while my boy was growing up,
He was full of so much love and often filled my cup.
He had some quirky things I must admit I saw,
I reached out for help, I needed to know more.
He was assessed and diagnosed with the label ASD
From that day on he struggled, and all because of me.
I sat back then and thought about what did I not do,
Have I made life hard, or impossible to get through.
Then one day I watched him, he was perfect, just a boy,
Yes, he hears the voices and lines up all of his toys.
But I would not have things any other way,
He brings love to my life. We will be OK.
So maybe you to have mental illness and doubts on what to do,
It is the best feeling to see your child wipe away your blues.
My son, his illness, I was able to read the cues,
He is amazing, like his mama, he will walk in my shoes.
- Belinda Hemmens
If this poem has stirred up bad feelings or traumatic memories for you, please take care of yourself. If you need to talk, please reach out - to a trusted friend or family member, or one of the organisations below:
- Lifeline telephone and online crisis counselling: 13 11 14
- BeyondBlue mental health support and advice: 1300 22 46 36
- DV Connect, for anyone who's experienced domestic and family violence: 1800 811 811
- The Blue Knot Foundation, for adult survivors of childhood trauma and sexual abuse: 1300 657 380
- ChildWise National Child Abuse Helpline: 1800 99 10 99
- 1800RESPECT, for anyone who's experienced sexual assault or domestic and family violence, 1800 737 732
- Suicide Callback Service: Call 1300 659 467
- Rockhampton Women's Health Centre: (07) 4922 6585