Mothers on the outside looking in: the pain of dealing with a child behind bars
Imagine this. You're at home and the phone rings. On the other end of the line is the measured voice of a police officer.
The voice says your son has been arrested, charged with a crime you never thought possible for your kid. He ends up in jail, with a long sentence. Meanwhile, you have to navigate the questioning from neighbours and friends, keeping feelings of shame and guilt to yourself.
But a few mothers in Ottawa, realizing they aren't alone, have broken their silence. They call themselves the MOMS — Mothers Offering Mutual Support. It is the only group of its kind in the country. And each woman shares that defining characteristic: all have (or once did) a kid in jail.
By agreement, they don't discuss details of the crimes their sons have committed. They share practical information, talk about jail conditions — and what can be done to change them. But what they talk about most at their once-a-month meetings, is what it's like to be a mother on the outside looking in. MOMS does not allow meetings to be recorded, but four members agreed to open up for Christine Maki's documentary, There for Me.
By Christine Maki
So what happens when the subject of your documentary limits your ability to capture those sounds? That's the challenge I ran into when I pitched the idea of putting together a documentary about a support group for mothers with children in jail (called MOMS).
Having now spoken with many of the women in the group, I can say they are brave, intelligent, tough and caring people. I also discovered, they place a high value on their privacy. Continue reading →
About the producer
Christine now helps produce the morning show in Ottawa, where she's been called on to cover everything from politics on Parliament Hill, to the growing popularity of a Norwegian sport called skijoring.