Friday, June 20, 2008

Update on an old post

Very early on in my blogging career, last November, I wrote this post about an Aboriginal woman who abducted a newborn baby from a hospital in Sudbury, in northern Ontario. When I first heard about the case, I found myself praying, not only for the baby's safety, but also that the kidnapper wasn't some crazed bereaved or infertile woman. After all, don't people think we're crazy enough as it is without worrying that we're going to take off with their child??

But I was right. She had recently lost a baby. :(

That was in November. I spotted this article in the National Post yesterday, saying that she'd been sentenced to five years in prison (the Crown was aiming for seven). Her lawyer is planning to file an appeal. Here's another article about the case from CTV News.)

I was particularly struck by two paragraphs in the story:

"In August, 2007, Batisse lost a pregnancy after being assaulted but pretended to be pregnant to preserve her relationship with the baby's father. She said she eventually felt pressured to produce a baby." (emphasis mine)

And this sentence:
"I want to apologize, especially to the mother," Batisse said. "My intention was never to hurt anyone. I know what I did was wrong. But in my head that day, I wasn't that person. I don't know who I was. I just wanted my baby back."

Of course, pregnancy loss is no excuse for snatching someone else's baby. Much as we are baby-obsessed &/or grief-stricken, 99.99% of bereaved &/or infertile women would never do such a thing.

But I still think that this story reflects (in part) the societal pressures women (still) face to procreate, the beating that our self-esteem takes when we're not able to do that, and the lack of support and understanding that surrounds the issues of pregnancy loss & infertility.


  1. I recently watched two cable documentaries on women who abduct newborns or attack PG women with the intent of taking the baby. Both programs said that the profile is not the average woman who has experienced a loss, but a woman, typically of lower socioeconomic status, who feels that she must have a baby to maintain an unstable romantic relationship. These women could benefit so much from obstetrical follow-up care and counseling -- unfortunately they rarely get it. A couple of years ago there were two abduction/attack cases in Missouri, and I heard a lot of talk about "crazy childless women." Sad all around.

  2. I saw a similar article in the local paper here yesterday as well. Of course there is never an excuse, but it is indeed sad to think of the reason that drove her and others like her to do something like this. You're absolutely right - it clearly shows the pressure we face and the lack of support we have.

  3. When we were going through infertility treatments I sometimes wondered how thick the line that divides sanity and insanity is and how close I was to it. I would joke that I wondered what it would take to cause me to snap. I imagined myself holding someone else's newborn and then refusing to give it back and then having no recollection of the event and trying to convince everyone of that. I have sinced talked myself off the cliff. I used to think about those women and what they were going through. Funny thing though is that it never occurred to me that the common thread among them was the pressure to have a baby. I do think it can be confused with desire. In my case I can say it was desire and not pressure that was motivating me.

  4. What a sad story. All I thought was that this woman should be getting treated for her depression, not going to jail. She sounded like she was mentally ill after her loss. I can only imagine that she didn't have any support for her loss and how to deal with it. I really feel for her.

  5. What a sad story for all involved. nclm

  6. Wow. This is so sad. I'm pretty darn desperate, but I don't think I'd ever resort to baby snatching.

  7. How sad and how tragic. I wonder if prison time will cure her of what really ails her?

  8. so sad to know how little support is out there for infertility and loss.

    I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought more than once like the characters from "raising arizona" -- they got more than they can handle, I want me one of them toddlers! then of course I remember I don't want one of theirs, I want one of my own.

  9. My heart breaks for all involved (minus the biological father for the assault).

    You're right to point out society's pressure and lack of understanding for grief that accompanies such a loss.

  10. That story broke just as I lost C@llum. I felt terrible for the woman and I suspected she had lost, too. I'm not sure how I feel about her sentence. The whole story just makes me so sad.