Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Shame.


I'm going to lift this story because when I saw it this morning I was immediately transported back to my youth. I remember so clearly the shock and outrage when fifteen-year-old Ann Lovett, died from blood loss giving birth in the middle of the night, at the foot of the grotto of the Virgin Mary in Granard, County Longford. I remember my Grand mother, crying and saying, 'Ah God love her, had she no one at all.'
Have times changed? I wonder. This is from today's Independent.

"GARDAI have appealed to a mother to come forward after the body of a baby was found in a derelict shed in Meath.

Senior officers said they are seriously concerned for the health and welfare of the woman.

They assured her she would be dealt with "as sympathetically as possible".

They issued their appeal last night after the grim discovery of the partially decomposed body of a newborn child in an outhouse near Kildalkey, Co Meath.

Gardai said it was possible the mother may have given birth to the child in the remote shed.

The baby's body was discovered by a man working on a local building site around 4pm, after it started to rain heavily.

When he entered the single-storey shed to shelter, he saw the small bundle wrapped in a blanket and towel tucked away in the corner of the building.

The body of the baby, whose sex is unknown, was taken to Our Lady's Hospital, Navan, and a post mortem examination is being carried out this morning.

Last night, the crime scene was still preserved pending a further examination this morning.

"We would like the mother to make contact with us and assure her we will deal with the matter as sympathetically as possible," said Supt Ken Brennan of Trim Garda Station. "We would also like to hear from anyone in a position to help gardai with their inquiries. We are very concerned for the mother's safety and health."

It appears the body may have been there some time.

The deputy state pathologist, Dr Michael Curtis, conducted a preliminary examination at the scene and will carry out a full post mortem examination today."

Is there anything more upsetting than reading something like this? Well, I'm sure there is, but for some reason stories like this depress the life out of me. What were the circumstances? Was this a hidden pergnancy? And if it was why? Was she raped? Was she a teenager? Was it incest? What would cause a woman in this days and age to disguise a pregnancy, have her baby and then leave it. The fact that the poor little thing was wrapped in blankets tugs at my heart too. Did the mother worry that it might be cold?

Ireland has moved on a great deal in the last twenty years, but in the countryside, where I'm from, there is still a real sense of shame, a stigma, attached to being unmarried and pregnant, maybe ths was a teenager and she felt she simply couldn't tell her parents she was pregnant because they'd hit the roof. Whatever the reason, a baby lay abandoned in a filthy shed, and somewhere a woman is dealing with that, most probably alone.

As granny said back in the eighties. 'God love her, had she no one at all?'

14 Comments:

Blogger KnackeredKaz said...

Oh I saw this too this morning and it stopped me in my tracks. I honestly didn't think this would happen in Ireland anymore.

My first thought too when I saw the news was that the mother must be a teenager who hid her pregnancy...but you never know, it could have also been an older woman in an abusive relationship, perhaps dealing with an alcohol or drug addiction? Whatever the circumstances, she must not have been in her right mind, must have been totally desperate and alone, to do what she did and so deserves all the support that can be afforded to her.

My mother was listening to the news with me this morning and was equally shocked and sympathetic, even though she's from a much older generation where unmarried pregnancy would have had the stigma attached to it. She said almost what you said FMC "the poor mother, what she must have went through, God help her for having no one to turn to".

Luckily as a teen, this was always my mother's attitude, particularly following the Ann Lovett case and whenever it was mentioned or something came on the news about young mothers my Mam would say loudly in front of my sister's and I, pretending that she hadn't noticed us in the room "it's terrible when girls can't talk to their parents and keep their pregnancy secret, I know MY girls would always come to me cos while we'd be upset of course we would always be there for you and give you a home and support"....and then she'd go back to her hoovering! She's a wily one is Mammy Dunne!

11:24 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

She sounds lovely. My mother used to say 'If any of you lot are stupid enought to get pregnant you needn't bother comming back here.'
Not so wily, more of a bitch.

11:45 a.m.  
Blogger finn said...

how accessible is abortion there, practically speaking?

if that even makes a difference -- for your story reminds me of ours, i mean delaware's, where 10 years ago two freshmen dumped their newborn in a trash bin. experts theorised that these kids denied the whole pregnancy thing until it was too late -- which i totally don't get. your belly swells week after week and you think it's just going to go away?? breed 'em and weep. [to continue yesterday's thread.]

FMC i am so confused and frustrated right now that if i could i'd call you and rant and you'd think it was yesterday all over again.

but i blame lack of sleep and coming into the office at 3am.

12:29 p.m.  
Blogger finn said...

and, have we shed any light on why britney's preggers again??

12:31 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Eeeek, Miss Finny Finn Finn. Don't worry, get it all off your chest.That story is very upsetting about the babies in the trash, but teenagers are masters of denial.
Abortion in this country, well is there any? Does anyone know. As far as I am aware you can legally get information about abortion here now and you can be treated for after care, but I thought women still travelled to Britain to get one. Travelling to Britain on the quiet though requires money, and if you are a teenager, where do you say you're going and what you need the money for? It would be very difficult to do it on the QT.

12:50 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

I can't explain Britney and her willingness to have more kids with Kevin Federjerk. I truly can not.

12:51 p.m.  
Blogger Angie said...

If a teenager, I can have sympathy that she may have had no one to turn to.

But what if it wasn't a teenager? But an adult that just didn't consider other options? Could she not have left the baby at the doorsteps of a police station? Firestation? Hospital?

Was finding an adoption agency out of the question? Anything?

This is nine months that something could have been figured out. And instead that person choose the worst possible solution.

As I said, if a teen, I can understand her being scared and possibly having no one to turn to. But even that has it's limits. If she couldn't turn to her parents, how about a doctor? Social worker? ANYONE?? I thought I did hear that you can get abortion in Ireland now. Perhaps not.

Nine months is a long time to consider options.

3:32 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

I'm fairly certain not Angie. It's a terrible thing in Ireland, we don't have abortion but we are happy to export our problem.

3:40 p.m.  
Blogger Boliath said...

That's just too sad, shameful, that poor woman, the poor poor child, we can all speculate as to the whys and wherefores, it's no good to either of them now. My heart breaks for the poor childeen, what a horrible short life, alone hungry and cold, it's just too awful to think about. I hope the mother comes forward and gets help, she probably won't now the whole country is wondering who she is, it's too fuckin sad...

5:02 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

I know Boliath, it's too horrible. Poor little thing and poor lass. I bet you gave you kids an extra kiss this evening. I had the little Goth kid up here this evening bitchin' and moanin' because she's grounded for two weeks for failing maths and Irish-even though she knows damn well she should have studies harder- and I kept thinking about the little person they found and what a life she/he could have had.

6:55 p.m.  
Blogger Boliath said...

And then you read this:
http://www.alternet.org/rights/35545/
and you shake your head just a bit more...

7:17 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

That's so wrong.
I remember years ago accompanying a girlfriend of mine to a clinic in Essex. She was so upset and distraught about the whole abortion process, but had made her mind up and that was that. I went with her because her asshole jerk of a boyfriend would not, not because he wanted the child, but because he 'didn't want to fucking know and it was wrecking his head thinking about it.'
We caught the train from London really early that morning, arrived, and walked up through this rather middle class estate to the clinic, and what did we find? A load of old man and women with placards displaying pictures of aborted babies and signs saying 'Jesus died for YOU!' and 'Murderer, repent!' and 'Who will protect the innocent???'
I was furious and I gave out shite to the receptionist when we eventually got in past the disproving eyes, while my poor friend stood weeping.
But what could she do? Nothing apparently, as long as they didn't say anything 'directly' to us, we had no complaint.
I have mixed view on abortion, especially with regards to lenght of term, but these people, grrr, if I'd had a shotgun loaded with rock salt in my backpack, I would have used it gleefully.

8:10 p.m.  
Anonymous Tawdreyaudrey said...

My secondary education in the North was delivered and driven by the Dominican nuns,on the Falls Road. I recently had a grievance related to a pastoral matter of my own. Being a teacher and now knowing structure etc. I pursued the head nun. She was still alive. Her only answer to my queries was that it was a different time back then. Are we the Ophrah Winfrey generation?

2:17 a.m.  
Blogger Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

In California there is a law now that any new mother in desperate circumstances can safely leave their child to any fire station, police station or hospital and no action will be taken against her and she will not be pursued. instead the child is taken inot the state's care. It is a good plan and is well publicised but the message is still not reaching the most vulnerable women. After an Hispanic baby was found dead in a dumpter about a year ago in San Luis Obispo, the authorities reqalised they had not publicised the new law in Spanish. This in a state where Hispanics are the fastest growing segment of society, the average age is falling as younger immigrants arrive and deportation fears and language limitations prevent many women from seeking medical help if they become pregnant.

South Dakota has recently become the first state to outlaw all abortion. I can only see the misery and fear such a law will cause. Nobody is in favour of "More, more abortions! Every gal should have one!" but it seems we are headed back to the bad old kitchen table, dirty knife days.

5:06 a.m.  

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