The importance of care and empathy

I’m writing this newsletter after being awake most of the night. My son was in pain. He cried and cried. He would only settle in my arms while I walked around. He refused his father’s arms and kept calling for me.

I think that even if a nurse had been around, I couldn’t have been replaced and taken some time off to sleep. My presence and care were essential to him yesterday, just like they have been most of the time since he was born.

In the morning, I announced that I had to take him to the doctor and I was pretty zonked out – don’t expect too much of me workwise. Thankfully my job is flexible, though in some countries this wouldn’t come down to your job – this type of care is taken into account by the state. For example, in Sweden, parents and caregivers get compensation from the government if their child is sick and they need to stay at home to care for them
But in most other places, caregivers have to do some high-complexity juggling if a kid gets sick and can’t go to school.

This isn’t just an anecdote. My colleague Lynn Berger starts off on a new adventure as our Care correspondent this week, and it’s a good time to reflect on the issue of care.

The type of care that parents give to their children on a daily basis is usually an invisible form of labo…

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