A hard life or natural consequences of a string of poor decisions?

Fairfax have an interesting piece this morning

Something snapped inside teenage mother Oshon Wilson when the State said she would never care for a baby of her own.

The next day, the heavily pregnant 16-year-old swallowed 48 painkiller pills and a bottle of bourbon.

She found herself in hospital, screaming that she wanted to live.

Oshon and her baby survived that suicide attempt, but within the year she was dead.

Her grieving mother Sheryl Featonby, 52, tells her youngest child’s story at the dining table of her modest family home in west Hamilton.

Name a job and Featonby’s probably done it.

She now earns a wage slicing, packing and cleaning in the offal room at the Greenlea meat works off Kahikatea Dr.

She has a clean police record and memories of a hard life.

The thought of Oshon’s story never being told drove her to speak publicly, and the hope that others might avoid the hole her family fell into.

Oshon was born at Waikato Hospital in 1996, the last of five children to three men.

She was a “placid” baby, but she grew into “a little deviant”, Featonby says.

She was “always” getting into trouble sticking up for others.

Featonby recalls Oshon launching into a fight because she mistakenly thought her brother was getting beaten up.

Another time, a boy tripped a disabled girl over and Oshon “laid him out,” she says, laughing.

It’s all shits and giggles…  or is it?

Life started to unravel when Oshon dropped the baby off at the young father’s house, Featonby says.

Twenty minutes later, Oshon received a call saying the child had a lump on her head. Doctors at Waikato Hospital suspected a skull fracture.

The father denied responsibility, as did Oshon, Featonby says. However, hospital staff notified police as well as Child, Youth and Family.

At the time Oshon was staying with her gang-affiliated brother, Featonby’s eldest, and their house backed onto the Outcasts pad.

There’s longstanding bad blood between the motorcycle gang and Waikato police, particularly after Outcasts made threats of violence against officers in 2000.

Featonby says other things played against Oshon – an overheard conversation that mentioned cannabis being one – and a chain of events was set in motion.

The authorities blamed Oshon for the injury and her baby was taken, without her or her family’s knowledge.

Featonby applied to become the child’s guardian, she says, but she went to an aunty-in-law on the father’s side.

Oshon fell into a depression.

She would never get her baby back and visitation was limited to once a week.

She became pregnant again pretty much straight away, Featonby says.

“God knows who the dad is. She thought if they were never going to let her have [the child], she would have another baby.”

Eight months later, CYF staff told Oshon she would never be allowed to care for a child of her own again, Featonby says.

“I said to mum, ‘Look at her, something just snapped in her’.

“And she said, ‘oh, you think? I thought she was doing quite good’.”

Featonby says Oshon raged at her, blaming her for the State taking her unborn child away.

The next day, she took the pills and the bourbon.

What a train wreck.

Where do you even start?


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

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