Facebook was awash yesterday with condemnation for the 17-year-old mother whose baby drowned after she left her unattended in the bathtub. The cruel irony, of course, is that according to the TVM news bulletin, the mother went into another room to go on Facebook.
I am not going to say anything against this mother, because my heart truly goes out to her. She will have to live with this – the ultimate tragedy for any mother – for the rest of her life, with her neighbours all pointing towards her every time she walks by, “look, that’s the one.”
At 17, going over to a friend’s house and chatting on Facebook is a normal carefree, teenage thing to do. Unfortunately, the biological act of conceiving and giving birth to a baby doesn’t automatically wire a teenager’s brain to suddenly become mature and responsible over night. Teenagers are renowned for assuming that hazards don’t exist and that nothing can ever go wrong.
Clearly, this young girl thought that by leaving the baby alone in a bath for a few minutes while the water was running, nothing could possibly happen.
Clearly, those of us who are more mature and older and who have had children in our care were shocked at this reasoning. “Mhux ovvja!” people were tapping out on their keyboards in scandalised tones, “that you don’t leave a child alone in a bath! What was she thinking?”
The fact is she wasn’t thinking, because unfortunately these young girls having babies at such a ridiculously young age, are simply not aware of the enormous responsibility they have taken on. You don’t simply have a baby because you can. A baby is dependent on you for everything, and your job is to take care of it at all times. Maybe this horrible tragedy will serve as an eye-opener to all these silly, wide-eyed girls who think that having unprotected sex is no biggie, because they’ve always wanted a baby to love anyway.
Babies are not just cute little things which gurgle and coo, and which you dress up in tiny, cute clothes as you play Mummy while pushing them around in a pram. Babies are not dolls.
My deep condolences go to this young mother and the father of the child, and their families.