Baby, you were born in August 2015, at the height of the refugee crisis in Europe. The war in Syria was well into its fifth year and IS militants in their Toyota trucks very well used to ravaging and scarring humanity.
In January of that same year, ridden with all day nausea, I dragged myself to the French Embassy to sign the book of condolences in the aftermath of the destruction at Charlie Hebdo. Soon after, a bomb hit a civilian bus in the Ukraine, all when the ravage at the Lindt shop in Sydney and the tragedy of MH17 were still fresh on the mind. Tears were commonplace; and no, it was not the fault of hormones.
Whilst diplomats were arguing over the use of chemical weapons in Syria, you were safely listening from my womb. It was a babylon of languages out there: much was lost to translation and seeing eye to eye – saving lives – was less important than national pride.
I wish you never heard all of that Baby, but that was our world in 2015. And so far, it is no better.
From birth, little children are thrust into the frontline of conflict. Families are suffering. Pained mummies in transit camps are being told not to breastfeed their newborns. Their milk is poisoned, tainted with the throes imparted by evil. Babies are growing hungry, whilst their mothers suffer engorgement.
We are lucky Baby. At the height of the crisis, while you were still a fragile newborn, we sat on the sofa and watched the news everyday. You nursed hungrily whilst mummy wept and felt useless at the injustices facing humanity. When mummy’s milk was not enough, we bought formula and sterilised bottles but the babies on TV were still hungry.
Before mummy even realises it, you will grow into an inquisitive child. And then the question I am already dreading will come. ‘Why didn’t you do anything mummy?’
You see, I understand why you should ask. I made that same question to generations past after a visit to Aushwitz. And I was angry. Angry at how they could just sit and watch.
The truth is, it’s so easy to become one of them. Not to appease, but just to ignore and play the blame-game. Or calming your conscience by sharing the plight of others on social media; expecting, or hoping, that surely someone else will do something.
At this rate, I will not have an answer to your question my dearest. I have no clue what I can do to ease the suffering. I feel helpless and angry at the same time. The world and its problems look so big, so immensely insurmountable. I can promise you one thing though. Little deeds do go far and, until I find an answer, I will strive for that.
Nurture Project International works towards safe infant feeding in crisis situations. The organisation is currently assisting refugees in Idomeni, Greece by setting up safe and hygienic mum and baby tents to offer feeding support to mothers. You can help ease the suffering. Visit https://www.crowdrise.com/helpprotectthehealth for more information.