Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Restart the Rescue

"You have pre eclampsia, and we need your consent to deliver your baby", the consultant quietly said, his voice very serious.
"Could the baby die?" I asked.
"Yes", he replied.
"And if we do nothing?" I asked.
"We lose you both".

So I signed I made the decision, to have my child born at 27 weeks and have him at the mercy of the world rather than inside me, which had become a hostile environment, the only home he had known, one he wasn't meant to leave, not yet. But although I loved him, my placenta did not. The hardest choice, knowing that for him to have any chance of survival I must expose him to great risk, to pain, to an enormous fight.

How heartbreaking that the first fluid he received was not my breast milk, not formula, but morphine, to prepare him for the troubles ahead. Not sweet air, but a ventilator. Such huge mountains did my tiny baby climb.

It was the right choice. He turns six in just 3 weeks. He wants to be a cardiovascular surgeon and save lives. It was completely the right choice.

What if that womb was my own nation? What if the land we were born to became hostile? Due to regimes so viciously determined to obliterating parts of their population we can't even imagine. Due to famine. Due to war. Due to persecution. What if the option to stay meant certain death and the option to leave meant probably death? What would you do? What would you want for your children? Would you have the courage to walk across the Sahara with your baby and partner in the hope of a safe new life?

I have sat with Eritrean children in my office, letting them draw pictures with my sharpie pens I use for work training, whilst their parents receive advice from the Eritrean community leaders who help them navigate their time in Britain, to settle, and to lead productive, worthwhile lives in their new country.

I have seen them draw pictures of flowers and sunshine and happy faces. This is what being safe means to them. Having happy families who can safely and quietly go about their business. Use their degrees, practice their Christian face (sorry UKIP so many of these migrants are more Christian than the likes of you could every hope to be.

I am a long standing supporter of Save the Children through my blog, and through my private giving.

Please join the Restart the Rescue campaign, use the hashtag #RestartTheRescue on social media, and please let's try to make a difference. I have no idea what the answers to the migrant issue are, but I know children dying at sea isn't the answer. No child is born to die.

I ask you to do what you can, write, give, make someone listen that these children deserve much more than to die at sea. They deserve safety, warmth and love, every child deserves that. Not to perish because to stay meant more certainty of death than leaving.

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