I read an article today on “forgotten baby syndrome”. It made me reflect on moments in my life as a parent. THEN I read the comments to that very article! THAT made me feel so incredibly pissed off! So many bullies sitting behind their computer screens riding their high horses about how could anyone ever forget their child! Quite possibly, to many women and men out there, this may be a completely compatible thought with your own. But let me tell you what sleep, or the lack thereof, stresses of being a half yearly single parent, trying to provide for everyone financially, physically, emotionally and mentally can do for a persons judgement and massive lack of it. We are all busy. Too busy and I can, honestly, tell you I have driven many times and had a thunderbolt of panic hit straight through my chest wall as I’ve not been able to remember if I had put my son in the car. Only to turn around with utter relief to see his beautiful face sitting there sleeping like an angel, something he doesn’t do at night. I have, bravely, admitted this to friends at times who have all said the same thing has happened to them, completely without judgement and with 100% compassion to the guilt and horror you are feeling.
On my sons first birthday (my fifth child – not an excuse but an explanation of sorts) I had driven back and forth to the park where his party was being held. I went down to set up. I came home picked up the cold food and took it back. I forgot something, went home, grabbed it and took it back. Then I went home for the final time to get the hot food and the birthday boy who was fast asleep in his cot. He had been minded the whole time by his 16 year old sister, just in case you are wondering. I was flustered, frantic and on auto-stressed-as-fuck-pilot. With something under both arms I jumped in the car with one of my older sons, I gave him the hot food, threw a bag of stuff in the back and drove off. The park is literally 400m up the road. I pulled into the carpark and that bloody thunderbolt hit me straight through the chest wall again except this time when I turned around he wasn’t there! No beautiful little angelic face. It was a terrifying moment and the most frantic 400m drive home.
But I’m lucky. I’m lucky that my daughter was still home, although she was unaware he was still in his cot sleeping. I’m lucky my house didn’t burn down. I’m lucky that this isn’t a tragic personal story about my forgotten baby. Whether its a syndrome or not is not for discussion here all I know is that I can totally see that this is possible. I can. Its awful I know and to those who don’t understand it sounds downright insane, mean, unloving and selfish. What kind of parent, right? Thats what you’re thinking. Well I’m that kind of parent. But you wouldn’t know that because you see me as a mother who nurtures my kids, who brings them up in a loving home. You see me as a normal everyday mum food shopping, dropping kids to school, out on the weekends to sporting activities but I am here to tell you Superwoman or not there are moments in time, moments in my life where I have had a serious wake up call and that article could have been about me. Those judgements you’re passing could be about someone so innocent and pained and broken and having to live with the most heart shattering consequences for the rest of their life. A baby died. There is no justice. No happy ending. There may or may not be such a thing as “forgotten baby syndrome” but tragically and ironically that baby will never be forgotten now.