You don't know what you've got till its gone

Stream: Living with Hepatitis
Date: Thursday, 31 March 2016
Time: 11.15 am – 1.00 pm


This paper will discuss and analyise the deliberate undermining of drug using women as 'good' mothers . It was not until my three adult children had passed the danger zones of growth that I realised I was lighter emotionally and psycologically, having reared three productive, happy, thoughful human beings validated me in a way I had not thought possible. The expectation of the children of mothers who use drugs is bleak and as mothers we know this, this affects our mothering in ways that have not been identified or elucidated. Even within our own community there is an elevated sense of fear around mothering and what can be reasonably asked of us. The social misrepresentation and lowered expectation of mothers who inject has skewed the natural mothering instinct while simultaneously undermining any positive stories as exceptions. Positive role models are crucial but such role modelling has been denied to women who inject - the only reflection we have been allowed to acknowledge is damaged and tainted.


Jude Byrne (Presenter), AIVL
Jude Byrne has worked in the BBV and injecting drug use sector for over two decades. She has represented the injecting drug using community locally, nationally, and internationally.