Mama Maremma is always on the job. Watching, listening, smelling and sensing. Lying in bed in the early hours of the morning becomes a skilled task for her, willing herself not to make any sudden move which could alert the one she is caring for of her waking status. The knowledge that she is awake would deprive her of those last precious restful minutes before her day becomes immersed in the care and guidance of her child who lives every waking moment with the effects of FASD.
Those extra few minutes could however be a HUGE mistake. Maybe Mama Maremma will miss the sound of her child ever so slowly opening the door to escape outside unsupervised. Maybe she will not notice the subtle flashing of a torch being used to attract the early morning traffic passing by. Or did she miss her child commando crawling across her bedroom floor to collect something which would otherwise be locked away in daylight hours? Mama Maremma tries to sleep with one eye open, but it is ready to close at a moment’s notice so she resembles a happily sleeping Mama. She wills her body not to give her away with any movement or sound from her fatigued muscles, which are desperately seeking more rest. Mama Maremma is on guard ALL OF THE TIME.
BUT what happens if Mama Maremma’s guard needs to drop? How and why could this possibly happen? Surely she’s invincible! Many (including Mama Maremma), would like to think she’s invincible. But here is a list which presents a dose of reality, things that really do happen or really must be done…do any of them sound familiar?
- Carers get sick…..really they do!
- They have their own needs…imagine that!
- Other people need them too.
- They have other tasks to attend to also……like grocery shopping so everyone can eat.
- Being on guard for what seems like infinity, results in this condition many call fatigue.
- Finally…..Carers like to do things on their own sometimes. (This brings up a lot of guilt)
So what happens if her guard drops?
Have you ever seen the movie “Oddball”? Definitely Mama Maremma’s all-time favourite, starring her hero and distant relative. If you are unfamiliar with the story, here is a sneak preview https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QvTYfYe0ydE
Oddball’s unexpected guarding of the Little Penguins, made him a hero and the story has become immortalised by the movie. But there is now a cruel twist to this story. Recently about 70 Little Penguins on Middle Island were wiped out in a fox attack, which is the same island on which Oddball saved the depleting colony over 10 years ago. Why, why why? The answer is simple…..there were no maremmas on the island guarding the penguins because of high tides and bad weather.
Oh wow!! Can you see the connection? The maremmas who protect the Little Penguins from the invading foxes, were prevented from being there to guard them. Mama Maremma is not always able to guard her child who also needs protection along with constant supervision and guidance.
So should Mama Maremma berate herself for not being invincible and therefore dedicate the entirety of her day and life to being on guard, regardless of how she feels or whatever else she has to do? Absolutely not, no way, forget it!! This is when Mama Maremma has to step out of her comfort zone and send for reinforcements. THIS IS HARD….WAY HARD! This feels like an admission of failure to her. But wait! It’s time for the “village” to step up and put into action all of the offers of help that have been given and maybe not given. Mama Maremma does not have to feel guilty about the absolute need she has to recharge from the intense care she provides to the one who is living with FASD.
The vulnerable Little Penguins on Middle Island can expect a better future with a management plan being formulated to prevent fox attacks in the future. With a willing village, Mama Maremma and those just like her can also expect better days to ease the fatigue that easily invades the body.
Long live the village!!