July 17, 2013

I am that kind of mother


A family lost their baby today, because a mother tragically forgot to drop her off at the babysitter’s house.  Instead, as her sweet baby slept in the back seat, the mom kept driving and went to visit her husband at work.  Three hours later, she received a phone call from her babysitter asking why she hadn’t been by with the baby.  Although she immediately rushed to the car, it was too late.

While reading of this news, I was surprised with the onslaught of public criticism and judgment. 

“Who could do that to their child?” “What a terrible human being!!” “What kind of mother would leave her baby in the car?”

Let me be the first to say… I am that kind of mother.  My world was so rocked when our son came home, that I didn’t know up from down.  I dare say I am still working on getting things aright.  It was all I could do to keep him fed, changed, and clothed until help arrived on any given day.  You can forget any type of shower or beauty routine on my part!  So, once he was a bit older and I was expected to, you know, leave my house every now and then, I often felt as if I’d fought the Battle of Mobile Bay just getting the two of us ready and out the door. 

Wake up to screeching baby. Change baby. Feed baby. Rock baby. Put baby down. Start shower. Pick up crying baby. Start coffee. Open yogurt. Gently place baby in swing. Take world’s fastest shower. Step on creaky plank by baby’s nursery. Wake him up. Pick up squawking baby. Bounce. Pour coffee. Look in closet. Hate all clothes. Bounce. Dress baby since he’s already awake. Bounce. Ever so gently lay baby in bassinet. Army crawl away. Start make up. Check e-mail. Remember forgotten to do list. Make baby’s bottles.  Pack his bag for the day. Is the baby seriously awake again? Discover blow out. Change baby. Clean baby. Dress baby (again). Balance baby and make up. Get dressed. Throw away curdled yogurt.  Grab purse, coffee, baby, phone, lock door and head outside. Put baby in car seat. Get in. Start car. Forget diaper bag. Go back in. Get bag. Back out to car. Ready to start the day…

Mamas do not forget their babies in the car on purpose.  This family has experienced a tragedy I imagine could happen with any exhausted mother. They don’t need insults, they need encouragement.  Criticism doesn’t bring their baby back- but community may help them heal.  

The next person who wants to launch a vile comment her way- be sure and pick up two rocks.  You’ll find me at her side.

37 comments:

  1. This story happened today in my hometown. Such a tragedy. So heart breaking. As I read the story online, I shook my head in disbelief and sadness, and then horror as I read the comments. Thank you for putting into words some of the things I felt...

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    1. Sass, I am heartbroken as well! Thank you for reading and commenting!

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  2. It's happened a couple of times already this year, and I think happens up to 25 times a year in the US. I think it's more a condemnation of how we have set up society that women are expected to get back to work in 6 weeks or less, and return to our previous levels of productivity and timekeeping as if nothing had changed in their lives. We are basically expected to be two people whose lives never interrupt one another's. And these precious babies are the fallout. I am not saying for a second women shouldn't work. But they need to be supported better. My heart goes out to this woman. I can't, and hope never to, imagine what she is experiencing.

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    1. You make a great point. Being a mom is hard enough as it is. In light of such tragedy, she certainly doesn't need extra condemnation.

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  3. It actually happens on average 37 times a year. See http://ggweather.com.heat

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  4. yes. Thank you. From a mother who has both lost a child and dealt with ignorant judgement.

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  5. www.kidsandcars.org needs our support to help stop this from happening.

    thank you for this post - I was outraged at the nasty things people are saying about these parents.

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    1. Christi, thank you for linking www.kidsandcars.org! Great resource!

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  6. Thank you for this post. It breaks my heart that so many people are throwing stones at her. How about we support her? She lost her child. She didn't intend to do it. There are plenty of criminals that we could focus our attention on and instead, people are beating her while she is down. I won't make excuses for anyone, but this was not intentional. She didn't leave her in the car to go into a bar or even the grocery store. I don't need to know why she left the baby in the car. In this busy, distracted world, I make mistakes, too. Something was different about her routine today. This will affect her the rest of her life. Use her story to educate people and show how distraction costs lives. Accidents are the number one cause of death in children. Share that. And pray for this woman. Her life will never be the same.

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    1. Brandy, I couldn't agree more! Thanks so much for sharing.

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  7. It's so easy for people like me, who are not mothers, to judge and be harsh and say 'how could you?' I'm not going to lie, that was my first reaction. The thought of what that baby went through kills me, I can't get the image out of my head and I can't stop crying.
    But everything described above, what it's like being a mother, I can't even fathom having all of that on my plate. I have a cat and I can barely manage to take care of the two of us just because I am so forgetful and scatterbrained. Half the time I forget to feed myself, let alone another human.
    I am absolutely heartbroken for this family, I can't even come close to imagining something like this, and the last thing they need right now is hate or nasty comments. Unless you have been in there situation you have no right to judge them. They need love and support right now, they deserve that. They are definitely in my prayers.

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    1. I appreciate your transparency. I don't deny feeling horrific pain at the thought of the death of the baby. But at the end of the day, this sweet family is left in pain, alone, needing prayers and encouragement. Thanks for sharing!

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  8. Yes, Amanda, just, yes. I can't even begin to imagine the depths of grief, guilt and sorrow this family is feeling right now.

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  9. As a mom of 5, and one who was exhausted beyond belief at times, I still can't imagine forgetting my child. Sorry, but it just doesn't ring right in my head. I feel so sorry for her but still, this child was almost a year old...perplexed.

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    1. Jan, I appreciate your comment. Thanks for sharing!

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  10. As an expecting mother for the first time, I am terrified that I will forget baby somewhere - anywhere. I'm not use to a routine where I have to remember the needs of another human - a defenseless human. Society has trained us to go on auto-pilot so frequently that half the time, I don't remember how I got 3 miles down the road because my mind is in a hundred other places.

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    1. Please don't live in fear. This really is such a tragic, isolated incident. My post was more to illicit compassion for the mother and show that we could all be in her place; it certainly wasn't to add fear. Congratulations on your miracle!

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  11. I blogged about this story today as well. I am appalled by the judgemental comments. I feel so sorry for this mom. People should save their mean comments for those parents who take their kids to bars and leave them in cars. Just happened here in Atlanta. In my blog I mentioned a solution to this. I read about it somewhere and it's a great solution for busy parents, grandparents, or any caregiver. Leave one of the shoes that you are wearing in the backseat near the child.

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  12. I don't agree with this at all. You're implying that all mothers have the potential to just forget their child in a car? Sorry, no. I don't understand how anyone could just "forget" their child. No matter where I am or what I'm doing, my daughter pops into my head constantly. I think, "how is she? I wonder if she's crying.." etc,etc. It seems to me that during one of these moments, if I had left my child in the car, I would remember. I understand some moms have more on their plate than others, and I understand there are issues like postpartum depression and generally being overwhelmed. I have dealt with this myself - the moments where you have a panic attack because the baby is crying and you can't have a moment to yourself. I understand there are numerous factors that could lead to this. I'll even go as far as saying that I can understand how a break in routine could cause you to forget your child was in the backseat. But I don't understand how this mother didn't realize for HOURS that her child was in the car. That's the part that, as a mother, seems so wrong. Having a child changes you, and no matter what, that child's well-being is your number one priority. You don't just "forget" you have a child. A mother can be exhausted, overwhelmed, and an all out emotional mess, but they will still think about their child 900 times a day. I'm not saying that there wasn't some other factor that caused this - maybe she was seriously in need of help, physically and mentally. I just don't agree with the fact that we should all just go "It's ok, she was tired and stressed out."

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    1. My implication a hypothetical one. I wasn't actually saying that you, personally, would do this to your child. I am also not condoning leaving children unattended in a car. The post was to illicit compassion for the mother. I was and AM stating that I believe we can all agree this woman has suffered enough punishment and torture by losing her baby. That loss is permament, as I am sure her guilt and self admonishment will be. I don't see how judging her behavior or criticizing and obvious mistake helps the situation.

      But what if we were the voice of compassion in her darkest hour? What if she heard a whisper of hope amongst the spewing hatred of her attackers? What if, as mothers, and friends, and community, we rallied around her... knowing that we are all flawed too?

      My implication was that kicking the broken when they are down is cowardly. I want to be the type of person who jumps in, fights my way to the middle, and picks them up until they are strong enough to walk on their own.

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  13. My heart breaks for her, this family.

    I came very, very close to doing this once myself. I thank God that this wasn't my story and that day wasn't Anna's day to leave this Earth.

    Many prayers, grace, and love for this mother.

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    1. Thank you, Gretchen. I know that feeling in the pit of your stomach to have a near "miss" with your beloved child. I, too, am praying!

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  14. Hey Amanda! I met you at the park on Monday. I am glad to "see" you again :) Thanks for your thoughtful insight. I was so saddened by what happened to that baby girl. I can't imagine the feelings of that momma. I pray she know our Father and is leaning on Him.

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    1. Hannah! Thank you for commenting! I do hope she knows the Father, as surely He is the only way to peace from this situation. Praying...

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  15. I understand how she did it. It's very sad. People should pray for her and her family instead of talking about how terrible she is, and saying that they could never ever do that. We are all human. We all make mistakes. This is a mistake that will haunt her forever. Every time she shuts her eyes she will probably see her lifeless baby's body on the floor being given CPR. Every day she wakes, she will be emotionally torn apart with this mistake. She will never be the same. Her family will never be the same. Yesterday's incident (which happens ALL THE TIME sadly) will shatter her life. So for the people who wish her to die the same way her poor baby did, don't worry, she is living a life of torment now. STOP JUDGING HER, PRAY FOR HER.

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  16. First, I feel aweful for this family and mother. But I have to say I'm an exhausted mother of 3 continually on the run and have yet to forget one of my kids in a vehicle. I don't understand how this happens. I saw it happen to my neighbor. I thought she was just running in for something and when she came back out she said she'd forgotten her daughter. I don't get it. I am constantly thinking about my kids. If I get the blessing of having alone time in the car I get freaked out when I look back and my kid isn't there. I don't get it. Again my heart goes out to her and her family, but I'll never understand how this thing happens.

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  17. I totally agree with you! My goodness, is it not enough punishment to have to live with this for the rest of her life?!?! A mother would never leave her child intentionally in a car. Usually the parents that children attend daycare do this. They make an extra stop or do something out of their routine and their brain "misfires" thinking that extra stop was daycare then go about their day. For parents whose children aren't with them during the day, they don't find it odd their child is not with them. Of course stay at home moms wouldn't likely do this bc their children are always them. I can't believe all the bashing. I have done some pretty crazy things since becoming a mother, let's not judge this poor mother who is living a true nightmare.

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  18. Thank you so much! I know this family and the parents are such incredibly sweet people who cherished their daughter. The mother had just found out an employee/friend of her's had committed suicide and they found him a week later. Also, a father figure of her's was in the hospital from a stroke. The baby's birthday party was supposed to be this weekend, instead they are now having a funeral. It's a very sad, horrible situation but thankfully they know our awesome God and are leaning on him to make it through this. I just wanted to say thank you.

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    1. Thank you so much for your comment. We are grieving for and uplifting this dear family in their time of loss.

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  19. I was completely and totally unprepared for how mindnumbing the lack of sleep in my child's first year would alter my otherwise alert and rational brain. My son was colicky for the first six months and wasn't a good sleeper for YEARS. He's five now and I'm finally able to catch up on sleep, but he still wakes up every single night between 3 and 4 am, like clockwork. He knows not to wake me up these days unless it's a big emergency, but before he was able to understand that I didn't get much sleep for about 3 years. Any change in my normal routine would completely throw me off, and I can see how this happened. Not condoning at all, but I do believe it could happen to anyone, anytime, who has a new baby and a very busy schedule. There are many, many scenarios that I can imagine that would cause this to happen, and running on a year of interrupted sleep would be one of them. My heart breaks for this family. I cannot imagine the torment that mom will forever force on herself with any judgement from any of us.

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  20. I totally needed this...thank you!

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