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Dawn's story

As a carer to a disabled child I have given up the life I had. I am not the same person, I grieve for what I once had and for the life I will never have. I am a carer, a mother and a wife in that order, with very little space in between for me.


Dawn and her husband Garry are parents to five year old twins, Ethan and Grace who both have complex needs. Ethan was born with brain damage and Grace has a life-long genetic condition.

Dawn gave up work to become a full-time carer for the twins, which put a strain on the family's finances, cutting their income in half.

With no outside help from family or friends Dawn and Garry try to focus on how happy the twins are, but it is difficult with little to no support.

Dawn said:

"I am no longer the person I was, I am a mother, but more than anything I am a carer. But aren't they the same thing I hear you saying? No they most definitely are not on the days when you have to give medical care, that is destressing for both your child and to you as a parent.

At times of crisis you quickly learn that most people would rather bury their heads than help a sick child. I remember one friend visiting my daughter and the look on her face I think summed up the general fear of everyone around us.

When my son went into respiratory arrest six days after coming home, I watched my husband give CPR, muttering in between breaths, you're staying with us, we are not giving up on you. We are not giving up and we never will, but the fight is not easy.

"The financial pressures of being a carer are immense, you give up work. Carers Allowance is only designed for carers who look after one person and not two, and barely covers any living costs.

"Motherhood may not have gone to plan, but life rarely does. I have two beautiful children, life is different, life is hard, but it is also lived to the fullest, because I know at any moment everything could change."


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