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About A Week: Truby King

Diana Donald from Soham, Cambridgeshire, was moved by an arrticle written by Sylvia West about the heavy-handed advice of Dr Truby King, a New Zealander who believed and taught that babies should be treated and reared on the same strict regime that worked with farm animals, calves in particular.

I was touched by this article. The first six months of my life were spent in a Truby King 'nursing' home in 1939, in the UK, and there is no doubt the experience permanently damaged me psychologically. No doubt my parents did what they thought best at the time. They certainly were financially hard up so it was an expensive option before NHS days. However, I was unwanted and my mother had a difficult birth, something she told anyone prepared to listen. She loved me, but never liked me and that was painful to accept.

Allegedly I had an allergy to milk. I suspect that my allergy was to my mother\'s milk as negative feelings were no doubt picked up by me. Babies are so intuitive. Eventually my parents received a call demanding I be removed as death was nigh. What a caring regime this must have been.

It is only since my mother\'s death, and other unpleasant revelations have come to light, that I have given my experience of TK any thought. That happened because while talking to a friend she told me she knew someone who worked at a Truby King home in New Zealand and she told me what sort of babies wound up in them !

I worked with addicts and spent quite a lot of time talking about the need for babies to be nurtured from birth, little realising it was denied me. Interestingly I had a breakdown in 1966 and recently acquired my notes. My parents told the staff I had always been a distant and unaffectionate child. What a shame that in those days there was so much ignorance about such things. Truby King has a lot to answer for as do those who have perpetuated his regime.

As my life draws to an end, I become increasingly depressed and it is harder to kick myself out of it. I guess this is called going the full circle. Like Sylvia, my childhood was okay for the most part although I was often most unhappy and whingey. I was much better looked after than a lot of kids, but because of the war was shuttled from relative to relative, further rejection, but frankly I don\'t recall it bothering me. I can only wonder whether things would have been different had Truby King not touched my life. We all make our own luck, but some make better choices than others and roots really are important. At least I didn\'t become a criminal!



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