I recently had a chat with a friend about taking care of babies. And how some babies are brought into this world in unfortunate circumstances. Unfortunate circumstances that could have been avoided. As much as we wish for it to be possible, not every baby is born into the hands of loving, responsible and financially-abled parents.
Have you read of this story that went viral online, about a mother who visited a nursery in a third world country, housing orphan babies? She realised it wasn’t a typical or ordinary baby nursery when she stepped in. It was oddly quiet.
How would you imagine a baby nursery? Full of baby cries, right? But not this one. It was occupied by many babies. But it was quiet.
When she inquired, the caretaker explained the poor babies have come to a realisation that crying profusely will not bring any results or cause anyone running coming to their aid. So they just don’t cry anymore.
The cries of a newborn can usually be deciphered and tended to. The common reasons may be due to hunger, the need for a diaper change or the deceptive feeling of loneliness. If these can be crossed out, the baby could be in pain which will require the parent’s further action. Otherwise, mere cuddles or hugs could put an end to the cries.
But what happens when a baby is left alone to cry, over and over again? Apparently the baby just gives up and stops crying altogether. Some parents do believe in self-soothing but this is a big no-no for newborns! However in this case, the babies are without parents.
The lady who travelled afar is a mother herself. When she travelled back home, she did something that surprised the husband who instinctively took a camera to capture the unexpected moment. She crept into her baby’s crib and slept next to her baby.
Dialogue is based on author’s imaginative assumption:
“Why did you do that?” the husband asked.
“She was crying. She needs to know we’re here for her,” the lady told her husband, referring to the baby.
“Seeing so many unattended babies who gave up and stopped crying broke my heart,” she added.
* * *
Back to the conversation with my friend.
We were talking about how some babies are even physically and emotionally abused. Inevitably, the environment and treatment given to the baby will shape his/her character and personality, as well as the way he/she reacts to surroundings. We may think babies do not understand, but they feel. And they do have that baby instinct.
That is why it’s important that a husband and his wife or vice versa (doesn’t matter really) are prepared to take on the role as a parent. Don’t get me wrong, there’s no such thing as being fully prepared for the emotional roller coaster ride the baby will take you on (due to sleepless nights, endless cries, etc.) but preparation in this context is the willingness to take care of a baby, financial planning and the initiative taken to ensure the baby is given the best possible (family planning, yaww!).
This reminds me of a true story I was told of that occurred at the hospital. A mother of 7 had just given birth to her 8th child at a government hospital. The baby had to stay longer than expected at the hospital after being born, to be monitored due to some complication. If I’m not mistaken the overstay was for about one month or so and not just for a few days. Throughout that duration, the mother – who had already gone home – did not even bother to set foot in the hospital to check on her baby’s daily condition.
If it was you, would you even dream of going home? What mother can bear this sort of separation, especially from a newborn?
When the baby was ready to be discharged, the nurse rang up the mother to take the baby home. The nurses and doctors were baffled at her carefree attitude and ignorance towards the baby’s wellbeing. But she did show up, with the baby’s diaper bag. The mother then told the nurses she had to proceed back downstairs to check on her other kids who were in the car. Her baby was still in the nursery.
So she went downstairs.
And she never came back. She was never in sight again.
This mother had just abandoned her baby.
It was later discovered that the mother was pressured by her husband to leave the baby as she already had to care for the seven others and they could not take on another one.
What a heartbreaking story. And this is just one out of the many others. The baby was eventually handed over to social service.
This sort of incident is mostly plagued by families within the lower income bracket that lack family planning education. I do believe though there are organisations out there that provide guidance and counselling on these matters.
Anyway, to everyone else — if you’re not ready, it’s fine. Don’t let people judge your decisions.
If you haven’t been blessed yet, be patient. Really, really patient. Take the time to fully prepare yourself and spouse. Don’t stop praying, too. I always believe God has perfect timing when it comes to these things.
For those with a baby, don’t forget that the tiny being needs your undivided attention. Talk to your baby, read stories and sing songs to him/her, teach her how to recite verses from the Quran. There’s no such thing as too early of a mind stimulation. You’re even encouraged to already start doing so when the baby is still in the womb. Don’t keep your baby cooped in the dark corners of your home (unless the baby is ill, of course) — take him/her out and dress the baby up once in a while!
Treat your baby with immense and unconditional love.
Infinity love ❤ Or actually, more than infinity.
Don’t let a baby who is in need of love, care, help and that gentle touch go unnoticed. Do what you can.