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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Abuse and Neglect

I'm a sensitive person in general--it is difficult to hear about others' problems because I picture how it must be, and feel bad. I guess I am highly empathetic--when someone around me is upset, I am also upset.

So stories of people abusing kids and babies have always haunted me. Literally, like I think of many of these stories over and over and feel bad and sometimes nauseous, over and over, and I never forget.

So it's always been bad, but now, since having James, it is ridiculous. My sister or someone was telling me that before unions and labor laws, lots of women, after having a baby, could not take any time off of work, and could not afford to get someone to watch the baby. So for 8, 10, 12 or more hours, the baby would be left alone while the Mom and Dad worked.

The thought of a tiny infant being completely alone for that long brings me to tears. I just picture their loneliness, the hunger gnawing at their stomachs--crying until they were too exhausted to cry, missing their Mom so much, losing hope, and finally, accepting that their needs were not important, or worse . . .

God it just kills me! And then there are the people who intentionally neglect or abuse--and I've heard before that profound neglect is worse than abuse, and since this picture came into my head of the lonely infant, I have to agree.

Since having James, I just CAN'T imagine HOW people could neglect or abuse their children. Let alone those mothers who freaking push their kids into a lake and stuff. I just don't get it. The thought of James even being hurt is tearful--losing him altogether is unimaginable, and it's a biological imperative. Every part of him is designed to make people, me and his Dad especially, want to care for him. Every part of me is designed to want to and be able to care for him . . .

Something must be very very wrong in people that could ignore these instincts--or maybe they are missing them altogether . . .

Now all these babies pass through my mind--in overstuffed orphanages where they just can't possibly get enough love or attention . . . in abusive home situations . . . I just want to rescue them all--it just seems so wrong that a tiny infant could be neglected--and yet I know it happens all the time all over the world. I just want to take care of all of them.

But I can't. All I can do it care for my baby. And since all these visions entered my mind, you can bet that I am holding him a little closer and loving him a little extra for all those babies that I can't hold.

8 comments:

clare on earth said...

Oh A! I'm glad you are sharing these heavy thoughts. In a lot of ways sharing them helps lighten the load. I can't drive with my arm but I'm a phone call away if u want to chat! And I can't wait to come and love you and your fam up this weekend.. love you.

Marilyn said...

One thing that I have learned a lot about, from South Africa and from conservation, is that we can't change the whole world but we change impact whatever our "sphere of influence" is. So maybe I can feed all of the poor, hungry people in south africa, but I can donate to local food banks or volunteer at places in Willimantic.

I just read this book, the prince of tides. Maybe you have read it. It is about abusive parents, and it was really hard for me to read. It was really good as well though...

mpence said...

I am right there with you on this one! I would love to be able to help a child or a sibling group in an orphanage! I would love to provide a loving home to a child or children who are in such need of someone who is willing to take the time to love and cherish them...

Having grown up in an abusive home, I know what is out there...I know what the foster care system in the US is like, and that it is broken beyond belief! We were denied a fostercare parent license last year because of having too many children in the home...

Alyssa said...

Oh, I totally know what you mean. Anytime I hear a news story about something like that I break into tears and hold Evan a lot closer. Then I start thinking about all the abuse in the world and it just makes me feel ill and overwhelmed.

Ash said...

I can't read those stories anymore they make me too sad for exactly the same reasons. I just picture how the babies must have felt. For me the worst are the stories which involve newborns being left outside/in the trash and not surviving. For their whole life they knew absolutely no human warmth or feeling. Absolutely awful. But I think we have to focus on making a difference in our scope. Like if I ever notice a child in daycare, or school who seems neglected or abused taking the time to take a second look, talk to the child and the parents, make sure everything is OK and if not get help for the child, etc.

Ash said...

P.S. Marilyn thanks for the book tip! I am checking it out from the library, as it sounds really good- depressing but good:)

justadrienne said...

Uh Ash that dumpster scenario IS awful! Ahh, crying again.

Michelle--That is awful that you were rejected to be a foster parent because of having too many kids in the house! I can SORT OF understand because I can see how they would want foster kids to be able to get plenty of attention, but I'm sure there are much worse alternatives than your house!

I think I've basically decided that we'll adopt a little girl from China at some point, and I would also like to be a foster parent but I will wait until we are done having kids and they are a bit older, probably.

mariclare said...

ugh i know what you mean. this might sound silly, but i was watching law & order once, and it was an episode about neglected children. in the trial scene, they showed this experiment where the mom is laughing and talking with her baby, and the baby is responding by also laughing and smiling. then for about 30 seconds, they had the mom look away and completely be unresponsive to the baby. during that 30 seconds, the baby continues to smile and reach out for the mom. soon the baby notices that the mom is not responding, but the baby continues to try to get her attention by reaching for her and continuing to smile. eventually the baby starts to sort of give up, realizing there's no response.

after i saw that scene i was like heartbroken for days afterward. it totally haunted me, just like you said. i even went back to watch it again because i couldn't stop thinking about it. so yeah, i totally know what you mean. and it just makes me wanna squeeze little james even more!!

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