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Please advise/reassure. Health visitor questionnaire worries...(6 Posts)
Sorry in advance for the long post.
I've just had my first ante-natal appointment with my health visitor and she went through a questionnaire with me. She warned me that there were a lot of nosy questions but I am worried about it now and kind of wish I'd refused to answer.
I'll give a bit of background so you know what I mean:
I was in a women's refuge for a while with my mum when I was 13/14 due to domestic violence (although it was emotional not physical). When we finally got settled I experienced severe anxiety and panic attacks which resulted in me seeing a CBT (cognitive behavioural therapist), although I have been recovered for several years now.
When I had my DS 4 years ago I was living with my mum as a single parent. When DS was 6 weeks old I noticed a purple mark on his foot. Panicking I took him to my GP who sent me to hospital with DS as he did not know what it was and wanted him to have blood tests.
After a stressful few hours at the hospital I was finally seen by a doctor who asked lots of probing questions and insinuated that I had harmed my son and that it was a bruise on his foot. They kept us in for "observation" and the next day sent a social services worker to my home. By this time the purple mark had completely disappeared- it was not a bruise as it wasn't painful to him and didn't fade to yellow as you'd expect, just disappeared! Social services weren't concerned at all. However I expect they will have some record of this somewhere.
I have just repeated all of this to my health visitor and am now worrying that it will be used against me at some point or kept on record which may cause problems later. You hear all these horror stories about social services taking babies away because of misinformation so I am having a bit of a worry. Should I have not said anything (wouldn't that have set alarm bells ringing when/if they discovered this info later?) Please can anyone give me some advice/reassurance??
It takes a hell of a lot for social services to take a child away from their parents. The hoops they have to jump through are extensive to ensure slip ups like the horror stories you hear don't actually happen. Please try to remember that the horror stories you hear are only usually about 5% of the actual situation. It's not really like Eastenders at all.
The dr's have to ask probing questions when children come in with potentially suspicious injuries to cover their own backs. Not because they think for 2 seconds you're actually guilty of anything, you sound like a wonderful mum.
The HV questions are also generic. Try to view the HV as someone who is there to support you, not someone who wants you to slip up so they can take your child away. For one, it's a hell of a lot of paperwork and if they were to make a mistake that severe they would be struck off mighty quickly.
Just keep doing what you're doing
I would try not to worry and FWIW I think you have done the best thing by being honest. It may be on your DS's medical records that a referral to SS was made, and by being open and honest you have avoided suspicion which may arise from keeping that info from health professionals.
I can't for a minute think that your HV would consider that your baby is at any kind of risk - from the incident with your DS or the historical anxiety issues (which you positively dealt with so this is a good thing). However I can reassure you that if she did get overly anxious and make a referral to SS they would in all probability open and read your DS's file and send her away again. I used to work in child protection and I can't see that what you have disclosed would cause any kind of significant concern.
Please try not to worry, although I can understand that you are. I do think that you did the best by being honest.
Health visitors are there to support you and your child. They have to ask lots of questions in order to try and see who might need more support or might be more vulnerable to getting post-natal depression.
You did exactly the right thing telling the health visitor about things that have happened in the past. Please don't worry about your baby be taken away. It sounds like you have done an great job so far. If you are feeling more anxious than usual it might be an idea to mention it to your health visitor / GP - they are there to help you.
Have you heard of mongolian blue spots? They are more common in babies from particular ethnic origins but can crop up in all races. They're also most common at the base of the spine, but again can pop up pretty much anywhere and often are mistaken for bruising if the paed/midwife isn't familiar with them.
If it's something like this then it's maybe a good thing that this is recorded as your new baby might get one and you'll be able to refer to your previous dcs experience.
I think it's always good to be honest - you had a hard time as a teenager, but you got support, came through it, are a great mum and have loads of experience of making the best of things and knowing when to seek help - I think it makes you look stronger. Good luck!
Thank you all of you. You've put my mind at ease. You can't help but worry when social services are mentioned. And although there shouldn't be there is still a stigma attached to having been in a women's refuge.
My DS does have a mongolian blue spot on his bum but that's been there since birth. I read a story recently about a couple whose child also had this mark on their foot, again it disappeared as quickly as it appeared, but they had social services brought into the equation as well.
Heres the link to the story. The mark looked exactly like that one. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2272830/Loving-couple-hell-social-services-mistook-tiny-birthmark-babys-foot-bruise.html
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