Wednesday, June 15, 2011

We are all Habiba

Imagine that you are the mother of a 15 month old.

Not a stretch for many of the people I know.

Now imagine that you have fallen on awfully hard times.

Again, not a stretch for some of you.

Imagine that you have lost your home. You and your child are without shelter, without work, scared, alone. You have left an abusive partner.

So you suck up your pride. After all, you have a child to think of. A child that you love, a child that deserves the best. And even though things are pretty grim, you have to take care of your baby. That's the important thing. It would be for me, at least, and I imagine for every parent out there. Your kid comes first. So you go to a shelter. You go there because it is your last hope. Because you dream of a better life, but you seriously need help now.

And so you go there. And you try to comply with what they say to do. But they tell you you have to wean your baby. And your baby is probably a little freaked out by the change - toddlers don't handle them well, after all - and weaning is stressful. Stressful to the baby. Stressful to you. So you refuse. Because, really, it's BREASTMILK. Nursing is recommended by the World Health Organization until at least age two - the average world weaning age is three to four. Even your country's top physicians recommend it. And, being in a group home situation, what is better for your baby than immune protection tailored to her environment? After all, it's not like you have tons of money to go ahead and get medical care.

It is with this reasoning that you politely refuse to wean.

And with that, you are plunged into a nightmare.

Your daughter, your sweet, 15 month old child who knows no other care provider and has not been separated from you, is ripped away. You are kicked out of the home while your child is kept from you. Your breasts swell, used to being relieved by nursing. Your child is presumably a wreck - kiddos don't do well removed from a loving caregiver. You are a wreck. SOMEONE HAS TAKEN YOUR CHILD. You were not given the chance to say goodbye or to plead your case.

Now imagine that in the past 14 days, you have seen your precious child for 2 hours total. Imagine how you explain to your baby why she is with someone else. Imagine how you feel when she is taken away again after a short visit. Imagine being a fit parent, whose only crime was being poor. Now tell me how you feel. Tell me if this is ok.

Yet this is the exact scenario faced by a young mother in Spain. I am ashamed, today, to admit my Spanish decent. I am ashamed that the country of my ancestors is allowing something so cruel and tragic and anti-family. Anti-child. Anti-mother.

If you are human, you cannot help but think that this is horrible. If you are a parent, you cannot help but feel for this mother. If you have ever been economically disadvantaged, you know how powerless you already feel and how terrible this is.

If you have a heart, it is breaking for Habiba.

Please, please, please my friends. Please sign this petition to help this mom get her child back. Please help reunite this family. Please take a stand for basic human rights.

(If you are having a hard time on the site, since the actual signing part is in Spanish: nombre=first name. Apellido = last name. Tu correo-e = e-mail address. Cód. Postal = zip code. Click the little box to accept the terms and then click Firma la peticion.)

1 comment:

Farmer's Daughter said...

I have a 15 months old who is nursing/sleeping on my lap right now, as tears stream down my face.