“The whole time I was in hospital I wanted my mum’s help, but there was no space for her.”
Arahia Allen was exhausted. Her baby and her both needed medical support and her partner could barely keep his eyes open after being up for 48 hours supporting her during her long labour. They needed sleep. But sleep was hard to find.
“It was awful. We were both so sleep deprived, and I hated the fact that my partner Nathan had a blue vinyl mat on the ground to sleep on. It was so uncomfortable - he could hardly stand up because his back was so sore,” says Arahia.
Arahia and Nathan came from Kaikōura to have baby Saiperia. After the long labour both pēpi and mum were tachycardic, meaning their hearts were beating too fast, and Arahia needed iron and blood transfusions. They were too unwell to transfer to Kaikōura so were admitted to Level Five at Christchurch Women’s Hospital.
“The whole time I was in hospital I wanted my mum’s help, but there was no space for her. There was no way I was going to ask mum to sleep on the ground or sit on a plastic chair all night. Culturally, it’s just not right,” says Arahia.
Arahia is not the only mum who has struggled to ask for help while giving their parents the manaaki – or respect – they deserve. “My cousin had a caesarean and when her mum came to help she insisted her mum had the bed and she took the chair.”
Arahia says the second night she stayed in hospital was the worst. “Baby was crying every 30 minutes. My milk hadn’t come in and my partner and I had still had very little sleep. It was the hardest night ever. That’s why when the hospital said they wanted me to stay for another night I said no. I needed to go home. I needed my mum.”