I don’t know what it is at the moment, but the strangest things make me quite emotional. We were watching one of the episodes of Dinnerladies on DVD the other night and as it ended I just started crying. Mr H just didn’t know what to do with me. For those that know the show it was the Millennium (Minnellium!) episode where Anita leaves her baby on the fire escape for Bren to find. I’ve watched that episode several times before but it’s never affected me in the same way.

I’m sure part of it is the broodiness I’m feeling at the moment, another part of me just can’t understand how someone can just abandon their baby. However I know it’s not a completely unusual occurrence. According to thisBBC news article 49 babies were abandoned in the UK in 2004, I don’t know what the statistics are for the US or other European countries. I know it is a lot more frequent in China, especially girls due to the one child laws and the opinion that it is better to have a boy, and I read somewhere recently about it being more prevalent in India as well.

But why is it done in the UK? According to the BBC site:

There are no firm conclusions as to why babies are abandoned. Some psychiatrists believe that mothers – especially young ones – can become overwhelmed by the presence of something that they denied for nine months. When the baby is born, the distressed mother can lose contact with reality for a brief period of time and may abandon her child.

Often the women can be suffering post-natal depression or feelings of inadequacy. In some cases, parents may see abandoning their child as an alternative to abortion or leave their baby believing the infant will have a chance of a better life. Economic, as well as emotional and social factors, can play a part.

I still find it hard to comprehend though. I know I was fortunate to bond really well with the munchkin initially despite the problems with breast feeding. I suppose I can see some of the reasons above, I just don’t think I can fully comprehend it.

Some countries have produced baby hatches or foundling wheels as a way for parents to leave their infants somewhere safe where they can be looked after for a period of time before the parent can return and claim the child or the child is taken into care and put up for adoption. In the US many states have safe havens laws whereby the parent can take the baby to a safe place such as a hospital or fire station where the child can be given into care anonymously and without there being any repercussions for the parent.

At the moment in the UK there is no facility for anything like this and a parent abandoning a child is seen as a criminal and could be imprisoned, I do feel this is harsh for someone who must definitely have problems in order to do this. Rather than the threat of prosecution hanging over these people they need help and support if they come forward, and that’s something I hope they’d have whatever.

That’s just my rather confused ramblings on the subject, what do you think?

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