For the Motherless Child
Today, someone I love used a term so hateful and vile that it took my breath away.
He was reacting to the horrible news of a woman who had left her 7 month old baby for dead, for three weeks. I understand something of what led him to say what he did, and I would not ever censor him or challenge something as real as those feelings. But, as unfathomable as it is to imagine a mother could do this to her own children, as unimaginable an injustice it is to a child of any age, it’s not my place to forgive her, judge her, or condemn her.
I wouldn’t mind knowing, however, what in the name of God her so called “friends” were thinking that they couldn’t be moved to step in. I can’t help but wonder whether anyone one of them didn’t ask her how she was feeling. Nobody asked Andrea Yates, either. If a handful of average white men were to suffer but a moment of that hell called Post Partum Depression, I believe suddenly there would be a lot fewer dead or abandoned baby stories in the news.
I think the world might be better served by extending the culpability all the way up the human food chain, to the pundits and policymakers, to the Founding Fathers who themselves couldn’t bring themselves to free their slaves, to the Haves and the Have Mores that split us all apart, rather than lay it all at the feet of the person squarely at the bottom. Had she had better chances like I did, made better choices, she might more easily have thrown off the shackles that hold her in this horrible, dark place she might not even call her life.
Still there is the child. There can’t be any worse feeling than to know your mother doesn’t love you – or worse, to not ever know that she does desperately love you but is completely incapable of showing it or caring for you. Believe it or not, that happens.
Tonight when I am holding my own children close, I'll say a word of thanks that I can be here for them for however much longer I'm given. And I'll keep motherless babies, and the women who could not love them, on my heart.