Newcastle Herald Letters to the Editor: Monday, December 4, 2017

PARTNERSHIP: Since fathers were welcomed into birthing suites, there has been a deepening of the relationships they have with their children, argues one contributor.
PARTNERSHIP: Since fathers were welcomed into birthing suites, there has been a deepening of the relationships they have with their children, argues one contributor.

BACK in 1970, with the support of pregnant women, I invited their husbands/partners into the labour ward. Initially these men stood remote from the birthing process.

The nursing staff had to make adjustments to the presence of men who were way out of their comfort zone. Over a short period more became involved. Assisting in the delivery just evolved. Many wept, most were speechless but all were deeply moved by being part of this miraculous event. 

With difficulty the hospital system slowly adjusted to this socialisation. Fathers were present in operating theatres as epidural anaesthesia allowed both parents to share this important family event.

That started 47 years ago here in Newcastle. Since, we have all seen fathers in public places carrying their babies. There has been an enormous shift in the depth of the relationships between fathers and children.

That first generation came with their own limited connections with their fathers. Now we are beginning to see these children, as adults, approaching parenthood in a totally different way to their parents. Why am I saying all this? In the mid-1960s feminism broke out. It had to happen, and brought with it a lot of changes in attitude by both men and women. There was a lot of valid anger but not much opportunity for constructive dialogue. Forgiveness was often absent and anger remained an unresolved emotion. Men got hopelessly lost in this rebellion.

It is not hard to see that by the 1970s would-be fathers were unknowingly finding a legitimate place in the family unit. There was a healing process going on in their hearts and spirits.

We hear so much about the wounded men who do physical and emotional harm to their partners. I have seen that this evolving generation of men have been changed by the healing that began in the labour wards and birthing centres of this nation, not only for the parents but also the children. Finally, there is an opportunity for dialogue as men find a legitimate place in parenting and partnership.

We all have good and wounded parts in our makeup. The best in us can surface if given a chance. Forgiveness is most important element that we need to bring to this healing process that is taking part in this next generation.

Steele Fitchett, Kotara

PLAYING POLITICS

CONGRATULATIONS to the Minister for Health, the Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter, and the NSW government for getting on with the ground-enabling work for the new Maitland Hospital. This is a facility which will benefit people living in my community and beyond for many decades to come. It is great to see work transitioning from remediation to preparation.

What is unfortunate is the continuing confusion and anxiety being brought up by the NSW Opposition on what should be a great occasion for the people of the Hunter. This includes, in my opinion, conflicting information between state Hunter Labor MPs on the site of the new hospital. Another example was last week when the Member of Maitland reiterated she had campaigned for the hospital over the last six years. This is despite her fellow members of the Opposition campaigning against the site and pushing to have it moved from Metford.

This inconsistency from NSW Labor started as early as 2013 when the current Member for Cessnock Clayton Barr called the Metford site “just absurd” and called for the proposed site to be moved to either Branxton or Greta. This was followed up in 2014 with further calls from the member to have the site moved closer to the Hunter Expressway. In July 2015 the member tabled a petition on this issue in NSW Parliament, and went on to reiterate on social media that “I am not going to give up on this fight”. This has continued up to March 2017 when Mr Barr once again conflicted with Ms Aitchison claiming “The new hospital (at Metford) won’t service residents in places like Singleton, Branxton or Kurri Kurri”.

This constant conflict in vision for the new hospital should ring alarm bells for the people of the Lower Hunter. If after four years, the members of the NSW Opposition still can not come to an agreement on the location of the new hospital, how can the community trust them to deliver this new facility for the region if they were to form government in 2019?

Mitchell Griffin, Liberal councillor, Maitland

QUESTIONING PRIORITIES

I WAS a commuter on the 4.15pm Central to Newcastle service on Wednesday, November 29.

At Ourimbah, just north of Gosford, we were held up by a goods train breakdown at Dora Creek just north of Morisset station.

The train PA said the delay would be "indefiniite".

This was the extent of the message as hundreds of passengers disembarked and following trains arrived.

There were no staff, understandably, at Ourimbah to advise passenger what to do and many appeared to opt for buses and taxis. We were officially advised that bus companies were being sought to offer alternatives.

After approximately one-hour delay we were told a slow move north was possible.

I arrived at Broadmeadow  at 8.30pm, or 90 minutes behind schedule.

What surprised me was receiving information that in the case of freight train breakdowns with privatisation, that passenger services come well down the list of priority by State Transport and this NSW government.

Peter Tuck, Birmingham Gardens

TEAM OF ‘IMPORTS”

WE have done it again, imported a team.

The team from last year was improving as could be seen with the win over Parramatta before the semi-finals and they were a team that went on to the semis and should have beaten Melbourne.

I am not saying that we should not bolster the team but how far do we go?

It seems to be we have the money let’s splurge on anyone in the market.

In the case of Pearce we could have another Hayne issue if he gets sick of the club and wants to return to Sydney and the Roosters.

Browny wants to take a good look at himself because he was the one that said it would take a few years to get back and he was happy with the way things were going, now he has a team made up of a number of senior players who to a certain extent won't need much coaching and it will be up to him to make the semis or, I think, it will show that he is not a first grade coach and only works of the recruitment of senior players.

Allen Small, East Maitland