I spotted this headline outside our village shop and saw red.
The story in The Advertiser told of how a 31 year old woman who threw her newborn baby out of the window.
She had kept her ‘unwanted pregnancy’ ‘a secret’ and had ‘had expressed a desire to kills both herself and her unborn baby’. The paper reports; ‘the woman had not wanted the baby, having discovered that the father, who she was no longer in a relationship with, had a different name and a family’.
The woman; ‘gave birth in the toilet bowl and put the baby in a plastic bag before throwing it out of the window’. The ‘baby girl was left with serious injuries, including bleeding on the brain, but survived her ordeal’ and the mother was ‘jailed for 10 years having admitted the charge of attempted murder’ because her crime was premeditated. The woman was described as; ‘naive and socially immature’.
Straight off, let’s be clear that I am in no way condoning harm done to children, to babies, to anyone in fact, but where were the people supporting this woman?
She told people she wanted to kill herself and the baby; so where was the support for her? Why did no one step in to ensure that she was cared for so her baby was safe? If someone knew she had said this, then someone had a responsibility to step in and take action to protect the woman and the baby?
No one should have to give birth in a toilet alone in this country, in this day and age. Where were her friends? Family? Colleagues? How can it be that no-one knew or took action to support this woman?
Then where is the father in all this? He gets off scott free in-spite of having lied to her (and another woman). Not just a little lie, but a lie so big that he changed his name and denied his other family. Who is holding this man to account for his actions? For his duplicity? For his lack of care of either family?
Why did this ‘naive and socially immature’ woman, carry the can for his desertion, his lying, his duplicity?
How can this have happened? How is it that this woman was not cared for by anyone? Where were the people in her life?
Given how little care was taken for her, I can understand how she didn’t feel able to care for the new-born; she didn’t even want to be alive, she had told people that and yet no one cared enough to do anything about it.
She has shown ‘remorse’ and she will do for the rest of her life; no one carries a baby and feels nothing about it.
But what about us, you and me and this society we live in; do we feel remorse because we should? This incident is our fault as much as hers. She came from my town, where I work, I feel ashamed of us. People like us let her down; doctors, midwives, neighbours, colleagues, friends, family, the father.
She is described, by the judge as having ‘many hallmarks and characteristics of someone half her age’, so how come no one had picked this up earlier; in school, at the job center? Who knew and did nothing?
‘The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing’. Edmund Burke
I just can not believe or condone the fact that this woman has been jailed for attempted murder for 10 years when it seems to me that this was a woman who needed our support and care and not our judgement and punishment. She isn’t evil, she was sad, betrayed, lonely, and probably scared.
Did she have work? Did she have the means to look after herself and a child? Why did no one stop to ask these questions and to reassure the woman that she could have the child adopted, that they could both be cared for, that they both mattered?
Because this 10 year sentence tells this woman, what she already knows; that she doesn’t matter, that no one cares, that no one was there for her.
The man who lied and betrayed two woman is responsible for what happened to his child and should be held to account. It makes me so cross that we have such double standards to for what we expect of men and of women when it comes to commitment to a child.
And this is our responsibility. It is up to us to look after each other. Spend less time watching the news and awfulizing about all the things you can’t do anything about in the world and get up and check in with your neighbour, your colleague, your friend.
The Bystander Effect , is when we do nothing, because we think someone else will do it instead. You have more chance being helped by one person on an empty street, than in a crowd as in the crowd will just let ‘someone else’ take charge, or help; so no one does. Whereas if it is just you and me and you pass out I feel morally obliged to help.
The people who knew this woman was pregnant and did nothing to support her are responsible for what she did. I wonder how they are feeling now. I’m sure it is much easier for them to blame her rather than to turn the lens on themselves.
We all need to take responsibility for the care of each other. That is what society is. It is me, looking after you and her looking after me and him looking after her, a safety net of care to catch us from falling. Where was this woman’s safety net? Her backup crew? Who had her back?
It makes me sad. I feel ashamed. I feel angry. I will make sure this doesn’t happen on my watch. What about you?
ps I’m feeling dead chuffed as I’ve had an article published by Elephant Journal; click through to see the article and also you’ll love the resources on there: https://www.elephantjournal.com/2017/09/who-is-seeing-what-is-seen-my-reckoning-with-non-duality/