A sobering reminder from a simple questionnaire | A MUM'S WORLD

I’m feeling emotionally drained, after what can only be described as two hours of interrogation about my family life and relationship with daughter Yasinta.  

Okay, the word interrogation might be a little too strong for what was actually me tapping the answers for 200 multiple choice questions into a laptop computer, in the comfort of my own warmly lit dining room. But it was definitely intense.

Since her birth in 2004, Yasinta has taken part in Growing Up in Australia – The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children. This means every two years we are visited in our home so Yasinta can be weighed and measured and we can both answer questions about her life.  

Medical records and school information are combined with Yasinta’s and her parents’ responses to a myriad of questions about her emotional wellbeing, family interactions, peers, career plans, spirituality, use of technology and physical health, to form a data rich image of a rural teenager in 2018.    

Australian and international researchers from fields such as education, psychology, psychiatry, medicine, economics and sociology will use this data to compare adolescent development cross-culturally.  

What a fascinating specimen my 14-year-old daughter is.   

I wonder what they make of our volleyball playing, opera singing, gumboot wearing, anxiety ridden, stage acting guitarist who loves to decorate?

Yasinta is a prototype for sure.

While I love contributing the vital statistics of our family to a study that will develop knowledge about how lifestyle choices influence outcomes, I don’t love the extremely personal nature of the issues which must be questioned and answered.  

Even though I can honestly answer a question about having ever been frightened of my child’s father with an emphatic ‘no’, I am painfully aware of the different response many mothers around the country must provide. 

If I were bedridden, would there be someone to bring me meals? If I needed a hug, would there be someone to deliver it? Every one of these questions, to which I had a simple answer, made be soberly reflect on the many mothers who would struggle to find one.  

You see? It was definitely intense.  

Luckily, the equally interrogated Yasinta was able to deliver the hug I needed when it was all over.    

 – Yolande Grosser