There is a woman in Australia that I feel sorry for this week.
A woman who has been condemned as evil, vile, despicable.
A woman who has been described as an “unfit mother”.
A woman facing 20 years in jail.
This woman dumped her newborn baby, who was just 17 hours old, in a drain beside the M7 at Quakers Hill, Sydney. He fell 2.5 metres to the ground and lay there, close to death, for six days.
The images of the baby boy’s face, framed by a pink hospital blanket, made me shudder. All three of my children were wrapped in similar blankets.
Yours as well, probably.
I found it difficult to put any of my three children into a cradle for the first week, let alone throw them down a drain. Nurses couldn’t tear them off me, and I refused to allow them to be taken to the nursery without me by their side.
I held them tight, breathed them in and sobbed with relief into their downy hair - they were healthy and safe and beautiful. I cherished them.
This mother, who appeared before Blacktown Court on Tuesday, did not cherish her son. And yet I am not this woman, and so I find it difficult to condemn her.
Are you surprised?
I'm surprised by my reaction because most mothers I know feel anger towards this woman, but I don't feel the same.
I agree she is unfit to be a mother.
I agree she should be held accountable. And I agree she shouldn't be reunited with the baby that she abandoned down a drain.
But I don’t agree that the full force of the law should come down upon her. And I don’t think she deserves the hatred being directed her way.
I think she needs help. Not vilification.
There is so much we don’t know about this case. So many details that will eventually emerge from the courts. The woman made a calculated decision to deny the pregnancy. But who really knows why she made this decision.