As support grows with the increasing awareness of Samuel & Benjamin’s plight, it’s heart-warming and encouraging to no longer feel so alone. However, at the same time, it’s been depressing to find out that neither am I and my children alone enduring such a nightmare.
Since the Austrian news story was published on Monday, other mothers have contacted me to share their frighteningly similar custody cases. They too had their young children taken from them in the most barbaric of circumstances at the hands of the Austrian judicial system. Their stories also involve highly irregular court processes, fabricated psychologist reports, professional misconduct by the Social Services and worst of all, the trauma and continued suffering of their vulnerable children.
We met as a group and spoke for hours. We cried together, compared evidence and tried our best to comfort one another. What touched me and impressed me the most was the total lack of negative emotions among the group. Every mother had the right to express anger, resentment, bitterness, recriminations against the individuals and organisations that have so devastatingly betrayed us and our innocent children. However, far from venting anger or hatred, we were united through compassion, warmth, tenderness and most of all, a steadfast devotion to our children that motivates each of us to get through another day.
I was amazed at the power and strength of these inspiring women. The terminology of our joint experience, “custody battle” is itself so paradoxical. ‘Battle’ is such a harsh, aggressive word. Together, we demonstrated that motherhood is anything but. Similarly, courtrooms; the coldest, most sterile places in the world are where decisions on the most emotive of all subjects are discussed: children’s lives.
As each mother shared her own struggles and daily challenges, we drew strength from one another and empowered one another. While I do not understand why any of us – educated, capable women – have been tested in this way, this experience has taught me many valuable lifelong lessons that I may never otherwise have discovered in my previously sheltered existence.
One day I will share these lessons with my dear Samuel and Benjamin. Most of all, this difficult journey and the people it has connected me with, has confirmed for me one of the most profound lessons of all – the overwhelming love of a mother for her child. It is a blazing fire that can never be extinguished.