If unwanted babies are sick, and they often do for deliberate lack of care, their ‘departure’' from the world is usually imminent. Some of those who defile the pang of early death usually run the risk of being deliberately injured (battered) in an attempt to make there death look accidental.
A woman once brought her sick 2 weeks old baby to the hospital. The child allegedly fell down from the bed and sustained some injuries. On examination, the child was found to have disproportionate and unusual injuries, which are out of tune with injuries expected from such a fall.
History latter revealed that the child was hardly attended to in the first week of life. He was abandoned for 3 days to the care of the husband who ensured his survival. Now there is this discovery of his unusual injury. This is just another case of ‘battered baby’s syndrome’. That is, the injuries were deliberately inflicted to create a suitable forum for a cause of the death of the child, being blamed on simple accident. Without a background history, the seemingly sympathetic outlook and pose of the mother would probably have been mistaken for a true concern for the health of the child.
The unwanted child who escaped being aborted is prone to battering, mental and physical stress, and destruction.
A promiscuous child was once pregnant for a man he did not know. Unfortunately, she was poor and could not sustain the child on delivery. She would also not return home from the urban city to her parents to uphold her foolish pride. She however loved the child. She tactfully abandoned the child to the hospital for lack of finance.
A crowd once gathered beside a pit. They were watching a pathetic site. Vultures were consuming the remains of a day old set of twins thrown away by an unreceptive mother.
It is however not unusual that a previously desired pregnancy, or an accepted child may revert to an unwanted child after the occurrence of certain sour events. Divorce on account of the child, infidelity and deformity are a few of the cause of these reversions.
A black woman was presumable pregnant for her black spouse while they were in a white man’s land. When they returned, she delivered a mulatto. The family of the lady promptly claimed that the child looked like a greater, great, great, grand father who none of them ever knew or saw. The husband was not convinced.
Instead, he accused her of infidelity. The outcome of medical examination was similarly uncompromising. The other superstitious belief that was advanced was that honeymoon abroad especially when done during the full moon has been known to result in the delivery of mulattos. All these explanations turned to the deaf ears of the man. The turbulence, divorce and disgrace which followed promptly converted the previously cherished pregnancy and delivery into an unwanted one.
The availability of functioning welfare division in all standard hospitals is an available social amenity which many people are not aware of. This wing offers advice and in some cases offer assistance regarding what to do when an unwanted baby and pregnancy presents.
Welfare divisions also exist in some ministries to advise and cater for matters arising from this complexity. A mother and the child could in this manner be rehabilitated.
By now, the need for the existence and maintenances of abandoned or motherless baby’s homes cannot be overemphasized. When a rejected child is delivered, the society must have a place for him. Here the child is brought up with the hope that this unfortunate social ill would not be propagated. The child is taught to be useful and adjust to the society. His training is also directed at giving emotional stability which should be as near as possible to that arising from a model home.
Homes like this could in addition to bringing up the children directly, arrange to give out babies to dedicated foster parents. These foster parents should be able to provide both mother and father figures simulating that of a stable family for the proper emotional upbringing of the child. It should also be noted that many local arrangements make use of fostering.
These homes also provide avenues for the adoption of babies. An adopted baby is a legal child of the adopting parents. In this regard, it is different from fostering where the foster parents are only responsible for the upbringing of the child. With so many intricacies involved, it can easily be appreciated that the role of the law in the establishment and running of such homes cannot be underestimated. The law is often the only avenue to turn to when problems and disputes arise from some of the activities of welfare centres and baby’s homes.
A woman fostered a child from birth till he was 16 years old. The child's mother eventually came to collect the child so that she could continue with his upbringing. Both foster mother and child were not emotionally prepared to part. The child preferred the foster mother and father. He would not even welcome his real mother. That case ended up in the court.
For financial reasons a girl abandoned her child. She however, monitored the outcome of her action. She knew the child, visited the home on many occasions like any other sympathetic visitor. She was however not an insider as she thought she was, and could not know of any internal arrangement. She suddenly realized that the child has been adopted by a wealthy man. Another court battle!
After six months of marriage, a man had a head injury following a motor accident which occurred while he was going to visit his new born baby in the hospital. The recovery was not quite complete. The woman no longer wanted this previously desired baby since she would not want to bring up the child of a mad man.
It is worth noting that an unwanted child has a fair chance of survival if other members of the family or community come to his rescue.
A mother abandoned her 3 days old baby to her mother-in-law who she said was the cause of discord between her and her husband. She was seen twelve years later expressing how much she loved the child.
A married woman had a quarrel and separated from the husband. She met another man. She was pregnant and had a son. The man abandoned the child to the woman on the ground that she was previously married. This was a fact he knew before going into the woman.
The family of the woman ensured the survival of the child. The man however resurfaced 16 years later to claim his son. There are also some instances where both parents who initially valued the pregnancy and delivery of a child jointly agree to reject the same child for one reason or the other.
A couple delivered a fair child. Soon after delivery, they noticed a significant rapid growth of the head. This disproportionate enlargement of the head defiled local treatment. After an undue delay, he was taken to the hospital. There, a diagnosis of hydrocephalus (water head) was made. The poor response of the big head to treatment, in this case was due to a late report to the hospital. It led to the rejection of the child. The child was abandoned as white elephant gift to the renowned teaching hospital. A source of examination to medical students and doctors! The child was accordingly named Oriola (Lucky Head). How lucky?
A poor couple desired a child. The wife was pregnant and had a quadruplet. The couple absconded with one and abandoned three. There are some borderline children whose conception and delivery is anticipated with mixed feelings. The child sits on a delicate edge, and could easily tilt to an acceptable or an unwanted zone, depending on the prevailing circumstances.
The factors which tend to favour the acceptance of such children in this environment include, the sex (male is usually preferred), good health, beauty, being posthumous (double edged), favourable family and societal comments and reactions, sudden financial boost arising on account of delivery or attributed to the ‘star’ of the child. The reverse of these conditions usually arouses rejection and all the problems associate with it.
Mothers who do not want there children should not abandon, harm or throw them away. They should at least visit the welfare homes, hospitals or welfare centres for advice. They should in reality be attended to with utmost care and relevant assistance offered.
To be Continued......