This should make us all weep. It was reported in the last couple of days that 1 infant out of 50 has been abused/neglected before they reach the age of one. Out of that group, one third of them is less than a WEEK OLD! Where is the natural protective instinct that even animals have towards their babies?
These numbers are horrible… even one baby is too many…but one out of 50? A baby less than a week old is doing nothing beyond eating, sleeping, filling a diaper, and giving/receiving love. Those beautiful little babies are so dependent on those around them to survive. Imagine being abused from the very beginning of life; it is a cycle that will repeat itself over and over again if it isn’t stopped.
Of course, i know in my logical mind about those who are so consumed with addictions and rebellion that they continue to use drugs and alcohol during pregnancy. My heart is another matter. I have children that were adopted who were victims of their parent’s drug and alcohol use while they were still forming in the womb. It burdens those children everyday with learning disabilities, physical deformaties and or limitations, retardation, psychological well being, as well as having socially acceptable skills and life long medical problems. Is it fair? No! Is it abuse? Yes! Read up here: http://www.nofas.org/ or http://childwelfare.gov/.
The news report went on to educate me further. It seems that the neglect and abuse before the age of one includes things such as drug/alcohol use during pregnancy as well as after birth. Trust me…i live with those results everyday. My children were abused before birth and they struggle in ways most people don’t understand. They are “special needs children” because of that abuse. See this organization for information: http://marchofdimes.com/.
Then, the article informed me that those same babies that are abused/neglected, before the age of one, includes those situations where the mother did not receive proper, prenatal health care …or the mother did not follow up with doctor appointments and or normal health care during that first year. Here is some helpful information: http://kidshealth.org/ .
Alot of those statistics, i am sure, are a direct result of the health care crisis in America. Many people don’t have health care coverage. Poverty is a huge player in this part of the scenerio. I know money can prevent people from getting the check ups that they need. To walk in the door at my doctor’s office it costs $84 per 15 minute visit. Imagine a young mother (or father) having to take that infant in for care every other month or so plus the cost of immunizations. Check with your local health departments for help with those costs.
Some of the other statistics were infants under the age of one who did not have proper housing, food or clothing. Again those numbers are influenced by the national economy. Take a look at this: http://feedthechildren.org. or http://www.fns.usda.gov/wic/.
My personal opinion is that a larger section of our population was left out of these statistics; those little lives who are aborted each and every day. Is not killing a young life just as abusive as some of these other abuses/neglects? The number of aborted babies, i would dare to say, would jump these numbers of abuse/neglect into the stratosphere. Some would say that abortion is a personal/moral choice some say it is a political choice. There are organizations that try to help, by offering alternatives to abortion, such as: http://healthybeginnings.org/ or http://www.bethany.org . Those who have been affected by abortion often need help healing from the trauma even years down the road.
It is easier in our minds to dislike the person who physically/ verbally abuses, or neglects to feed or give emotional support to a young child; than it is to understand, that we all must play a part in changing things or we become a part of the problem. Silence or inaction on these subjects is equal to condoning them.
If you are able to support a young parent with physical or emotional help…do it. If you are aware of drug/alcohol use in an expecting mother…educate her to the consequences, seek medical intervention and/or report it if she refuses help. If you see or suspect abuse report it; you might save a life.
While i am trying to wrap my mind around these staggering numbers of affected people…i am also processing the idea of so many young lives being hurt just by being born. What must we do? We must make a positive impact on those around us. We each have areas of influence where we can impact positive changes. Take a look at this website for protecting children: http://keepingkidssafetoday.com.
We must take action. We must continue to educate. We must continue to stand between ignorance, addictions, abortion, poverty and plain old abuse and protect those who can’t protect themselves. We must build up our programs of intervention with jobs, health care, anger management, parenting classes, drug and alcohol counseling, family planning/pregnancy counseling, mental health/counseling; and yes, when necessary even prosecution of those who would visit pain and neglect on our littlest and most helpless citizens. After all, they can hardly do it themselves.