Look at these sweet, beautiful, happy faces. Eyes full of hope and amazement. Children are such precious little wonders. I mean, yes, they can occasionally be little brats sometimes, but all in all, children are incredible, loving tiny humans.
Sitting here watching my little Choo-choo playing with his musical Bible songs book, I find myself wondering how on earth anyone could leave a three year old, a four month old boy, or any child at any age for that matter, alone somewhere and never check on them. Whether in a corn maze or in an alley or in in a hurricane like in the news recently, or even at the park or on the side of the road.
HOW does one FORGET THEIR CHILD and NOT report them missing until the next day or at least several hours later???? How does this happen?
I mean, okay, I understand mental health issues. I myself was borderline postpartum psychosis. I get it.
Also, I do understand being busy, hurried, frazzled, etc. As parents, we definitely deserve a break, a little quiet time, a quick moment to catch our breaths. Just not at the expense of our child(ren)’s safety. And I know it’s possible to be in a rush and maybe not notice one of the several children isn’t with you right at that moment. But there comes a time not long after when you say, “Hey, where’s _____?”
This is the moment to look for them. To ask for help if you can’t find them. To even call the police for help in locating your child. Because they are your child. They count on your to keep them safe, fed, clean, dressed, healthy. So on and so on.
I am not talking about abductions and kidnappings because there is almost nothing that can be done to prevent those. (And that fear is a whole other story.) I am talking about little kids being completely and totally “forgotten.”
As in in the cases I mentioned above when the child(ren) were essentially abandoned outside at night and not reported until later the next day, how is this even possible? My mind just cannot comprehend it. Think about a child, especially a baby or toddler. If you are away somewhere, there would be an empty car seat. Home or not, they would still need dinner, snack, a drink of milk or water. Some kind of nourishment to fill their bellies. Babies and even some toddlers have diapers or similar that need changed frequently. Potty training children also need to use the toilet often as well.
Then you move into bath time, pajamas, teeth brushing, stories, bedtime. And of course, there would be playtime in there somewhere. Then putting the child in bed. A baby would wake in the middle of the night, usually anyway. Then children need to be cleaned up and given breakfast in the morning.
That is a WHOLE LOT of activities that one should realize hasn’t happened when they have kids and a child is missing. That’s also a whole lot of quiet that you might not normally experience, as neither babies nor toddlers are prone to be silent all day and night.
Like I said, I was down in the dark, murky depths of postpartum depression. There was a time in which I thought maybe my child’s and my husband’s lives would have been better without me. But… I still always knew where my son was and if he was okay. If I ever didn’t know where he was, like perhaps Diesel took him for a walk while I was asleep, I always made phone calls to be sure. If I couldn’t get ahold of Diesel, I’d call my mom, his mom, our friends, and so on until I knew where Choo-choo was and that he was safe.
Children tend to seek out and look toward their parents or caregivers when scared. They will call for you if they don’t see you. They will cry or even yell if left alone in a dark or unfamiliar place. They would look around and run to mom, dad, any adult they trust when frightened.
For example, when Diesel and I took Choo-choo on a fun little day trip out of town, we played at the park for several hours full of new things and strange people, in Choo-choo’s eyes. A dog (on a leash!) walked within 15 feet of Choo-choo as he stood near a swing set. My son’s eyes grew wide. He looked over at me, back at the dog, then ran to me, shouting, “Mommy! Mommy!” the whole way. Even though the dog hadn’t even paid attention to him, Choo-choo was scared and sought a person who makes him feel safe.
This is when my heart starts to break, thinking that it is quite possible those children were abandoned on purpose. I cannot fathom what could have gone through the minds of the so-called parents who could intentionally hurt a child or abandon them in an unsafe place or leave them outside to face Mother Nature’s worst on their own.
This is also a reason why Diesel has told me time and time again to not read the news because it is so utterly depressing. Some of these stories I read after scanning news headlines, but some of them also popped up on social media timelines without me ever searching for them. So really, I can’t avoid all the negative stories, as hard as I might try. And while I do like knowing what is going on in the world, I am not sure if I can handle reading any more about children suffering for any reason, especially at the hands of people who are supposed to love them.
Now, I would like to say this post was not meant to depress any of you, though I am well aware that it might have. I just wanted to put words to how it makes me feel thinking of all those helpless children. These kinds of stories really show me why organizations exist to protect children and offer support and counseling to those who need it before situations like the above ever happen. Of course, not everyone who should take advantage of programs that can help them will, unfortunately.
I do feel helpless myself sometimes wondering what awful things children might be subjected to. All I can do right now is just hug my son a little tighter and make sure he knows how very much he his loved and protected each and every day.
I also want to mention that if you feel (or someone you know feels) like life/circumstances are getting to you and you just cannot take care of your child or children right now, PLEASE seek help!! Here are some resources that you might find helpful:
- National Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453)
- http://www.familypaths.org 1-800-829-3777 ***free, 24 hour, confidential counseling, among other resources
- nationalparenthelpline.org/find-support ***a great list of resources for parents
- (Australia) raisingchildren.net.au
- http://www.mothersunion.org ***Parenting Worldwide/Worldwide Parenting Programme, with a “Passionate about Parenting” program in the UK & Ireland
(If you know of resources from other countries, please post those in the comments!!)
Of course, if you are in a DIRE, EMERGENT situation, seek help immediately!!! In the US, our emergency number to call is 911.
And as always, know that you are not alone in the world, no matter what you are feeling. Also know that help is available if you need it. Please don’t be afraid to ask for it.