Monday, 14 December 2015

To save a baby?

Today's news item that many more babies are being taken into care soon after birth brought back an unwelcome memory.

As a young mother in the sixties I lived in an old Victorian house which had been converted into flats. I had the ground floor flat and a young couple and their baby had the top one. During the summer months , windows open meant that I heard quite a lot from above and the sound of the baby crying disturbed both me and my small children.

One long summer night the baby started to cry around ten at night. She was still wailing at midnight. None of us could sleep as her cries became desperate. Eventually I got up and crept quietly up the stairs to the top flat. Trying the door I found it open and went in. The baby was in a soaked cot and roaring. Her parents were completely out of it...slumped together on a sofa oblivious of the crying.

I picked up their baby, carried her downstairs, changed her into dry clothes and gave her a bottle of diluted cows milk.

Nursing the little scrap in my arms I wondered what on earth to do. Eventually I took her back up stairs, rested her on a dry sheet and went back down the stairs without either of her parents being aware of my involvement .

What to do about this situation became almost unbearable...I tried to talk to the young mother but she simply did not want to know. Eventually I told one of my friends about it. She was a health visitor.

I regret to say the baby was subsequently put into care but this incident has stayed with me for a very long time. Is it ever right to remove a child from its parents?

I never knew the end of this story. I moved from there soon afterwards.

I just hope the baby survived to live a happy life...but I shall never know if my interference was a good or a bad thing in their lives.... It's a risky business thinking we always know best!

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