Tuesday, April 8, 2008


I was reading the pape last week when I found a story the AP released.

And it made me real, real mad.

One in 50 infants, aged 12mo. or younger, are victims of nonfatal child abuse or neglect every year.

The article mentioned this is the first national study pertaining to this age group. I guess I am unsure why it took until 2008, maybe those researchers were busy looking at what else causes cancer, like, having your windows down in your car while blasting Timbaland's new hit while simultaneously drinking caffeine and changing lanes without signaling.

Nearly a third of the infants subjected to the abuse were one week old, or younger. ONE week old. I have a friend who feared holding the lil' dude in her first weeks of life because she was worried about the fragility of her neck. The vulnerability of a week-old newborn was overwhelming to me. The thought of someone preying on this makes me sick.

The report mentioned neglect translates to "the refusal or inability" to provide the basic need of housing, clothing, feeding, and access to medical care. The article was quick to omit new parents "stumbling through rookie mistakes like breast feeding, etc." and parents simply learning how to be parents were not included in this study. Well, how relieving. Lil' dude, I dressed you as a miniature reindeer for your first Christmas photo with Santa. This clearly was not abuse.

I know when I was pregnant, I was terrified of ingesting something harmful. I did not paint the nursery. I did not clean up the dog crap in the yard. I used vinegar instead of bleach on my floors and countertops. I called the nurse line every time I needed Tylenol, Benadryl, Zantac 75, or milk with a 2-day old outdate. I cooked chicken and steak until it was ashen. I avoided all soft cheeses, including my fave food of all time, bleu cheese. I avoided second-smoke, vacuuming, high heels, green tea shampoos, and daily caffeine intake. I worked from home anytime my co-workers had a cough or a zit. I went off my industrial strength acne medication and always tried to take the vehicle I wouldn't have to put gas in.

Once I saw and held the lil' dude and saw for myself all those choices I made during womb time were not in vain, I relaxed a little. Until I realized the possibility that I could no longer protect her from everything. I couldn't avoid things for her sake anymore. But I sure as hell would not ever do anything to hurt her. And Jesus Christ and all the Saints, if anyone else tried, good luck. Because you'd be dead.

So the complete senselessness of the article I read last week . . . just made me so mad. It made me sad. Sad for the babies hurt everyday, babies born into really shitty situations to which they have no control.

It also made me pretty happy I know I'll always be a great mama to the lil' dude, I was made for this role and will never take advantage of the trust associated with it. Unless you count me singing the iMac commercial song to her really loudly or letting her wear dirty pajamas.

No comments: