Mourning a baby


Last month a 14-month-old baby was crushed by his father for crying. He was squeezed until the ends of his ribs poked out his back. No one in the extended family “noticed.”

I was utterly floored, especially when I recalled that a similar horror happened a year ago in the same location. I thought about the incredible gift my daughter has been in my life, and how bleak it would have been without her. About there the imp on my shoulder whispered “yes, but you wanted that daughter, you planned for years” and that is true.

Then, as part of getting ready for Night Out, I was walking from house to house on the block, making sure everyone knew about the event, the picnic, some games for the kids. Some other neighbors also door knocked. We all noticed the number of condoms in our street – and the specific houses where there seemed to be a great many.

These two occurrences finally came together this week.

When “making” babies is off hand, tossed thoughtlessly away, perhaps the babies are also tossable.

Americans in general have not been very good at supporting families to be successful. We have for decades had prohibitions on teaching responsible sexuality. We do not seem to consider the lifelong commitment a child requires, but we have had very busy interference insisting that every conception be brought to term, without a corresponding insistence on the preciousness of a life, or on teaching parents how to parent well.

I know I will have nightmares for years about that 14-month-old, and I very much hope that we can learn how to prevent such dreadful parenting.