“‘Underlying health conditions’ is the new ‘but what was she wearing?’”

there is a moment

There is a moment with your newborn, sometime between midnight and 3am a couple of days or weeks in, where you realise you are not as independent as you thought you were.

Where you look around for the people who are meant to be there helping you be okay and realise that they are not there.

Where you feel vulnerable and alone.

Inside that feeling of being totally let down, you realise individualism (with it’s pedestal of being a totally independent woman who doesn’t need help from anyone especially with her baby because she is a natural) is a lie.

That we as humans are actually more dependent on one another than we had ever, ever conceived of in our pre-baby lives.

That other people should be helping you now, in your time of need, but they’re not, because they’re also busy trying to get by because no one is helping them either.

Yes partners, if present, can help overnight, but they need to go out to work in the real world tomorrow too. They can’t be expected to shoulder it all.

Recently I saw a tweet by Ebony McKenna (@WriterEbony) bia Carly Findlay OAM that stopped my scroll: “‘Underlying health conditions’ is the new ‘but what was she wearing?’”

I had a similar reaction to this post as I did to my “but where is everyone?” newborn moment of cracking open.


We know assault is a social problem, not a ‘victim problem’. We have a social responsibility to protect vulnerable people from violence by detoxing from the toxic frameworks that breed perpetrators, believing victims and acting accordingly, rather than blaming her/them for whatever was or wasn’t worn, said or done.

The pandemic is a social problem too, not just a medical or ‘patient problem’. Addressing it requires taking social responsibilities. It’s not a person’s fault for getting ill. Regardless of their health history, everyone’s life matters.

The instructions from every reputable health agency in the world are pretty clear: Keep washing our hands, keep wearing our masks, keep your distance where possible, get vaccinated if you can.

Not going to lie, I do have concerns about vaccine passports, and about mandatory vaccination for industries.

I’ve made my uncomfortable feelings about it known to my MPs. I’ve considered my commitment to pro-choice and autonomy and all things slippery slopes, and still...

I want my Aunty having chemo to have the vaccinated nurse.

I want my best friend in her third trimester to have the vaccinated midwife.

I want my chronically ill, bronchitis-prone little buddy to have the vaccinated kindy teacher.

I want my elderly nan needing bathroom repairs to have the vaccinated tradie.

I want my disabled neighbour who uses taxis to have the vaccinated driver.

We are bathed in individualist culture, yet we are so interconnected.

Is there a line in the sand, where one industry’s workers stop and another starts? My gut feeling says no.

Can the rights of those who do not want to be vaccinated be weighed against the risks to those who wish they could, but can’t, or even those who once vaccinated remain vulnerable? Again, my gut says no, but I also wouldn’t be able to personally look someone in the eye and deliver a dose they refused.

Can I truly stay open to loving those who are spreading what I and 99.9% of the doctors and scientists of the world see as dangerous misinformation, knowing that reality is in the eye of the beholder, and my eyes view it as whacked out BS? Honestly, I don’t know yet.

I so want to choose compassion and love, to keep the flame of optimism alive in an environment of governmental failures and false heroes. I’m trying my best but my patience is wearing thin. I too am a mum in lockdown with a toddler, and there’s only so much I can take.

I do wonder what the tradespeople of Melbourne think of mandatory vaccines think though, that is the vast majority who aren’t out protesting.

Maybe some don’t really care either way and are just waiting to see how it plays out.

Maybe some are watching on, shaking their heads at what they see as a delay in getting back to work.

Maybe some have their own health conditions in the back of their mind, wondering if they’ll go back to work at all if the protesters get their way.

Maybe some are at home worrying about the eventual outcome for their own family members with “underlying health conditions”, wishing others would see that their lives are just as important, and the social responsibility we have to keep each other as safe and supported as possible at all times, but especially now.

Because just like we know from our “newborn midnight moment”, one person can’t shoulder it all.


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