I woke up this morning and read this article about Forgotten Baby Syndrome discussing parents who have forgotten about their children and left them unattended. In particular a couple of cases in America where the children have been left in hot cars for hours and had tragically died. Whenever I read anything like this it sends shivers down my spine, not because I have done it but because it always remains a fear of mine. That one day it may happen to me too.
There aren’t many days that go by that I am out and about without Beastie but for the days that I am, I feel like something is missing. Those tend to be the days that I might suddenly glimpse in the rear view mirror in the car only to think to myself ‘of course he’s not with me today, he’s at nursery’. It sounds like it happens a lot, which it doesn’t but when it does it ever so slightly frightens me. I find myself imagining horrific scenario’s where I have left my son standing by the car as I drive off, only to realise part way into my journey that I have forgotten him. I imagine the pure terror you must feel as you frantically rush back to the scene of abandonment, imagining all sorts along the way but above all praying that they are unharmed and in the same place.
With a new baby on the way I suppose I am thinking of all the new challenges to come and the sleep deprivation that is in store. Along with that is the new territory which is motherhood to two children, a whole different ball game than to one I played before. Now I know I have done it all before and I know what is in store for me but you still never really know how you are going to cope each time. Take this picture of a sleeping Beastie. Sometimes he is so quiet I can forget he is there, particularly when he was a little baby, after all that’s mostly what they do, sleep. Nowadays it’s more tricky to not notice his presence with the running commentary coming from the back seat. Add a new baby to the equation and it’s very different. I will have lots more to do and my days will be much busier than the early days with Beastie where we had all day to do pretty much what we liked. This time round the baby and I won’t be able to lounge about the same as we will have Beastie to ferry about to pre-school, my days will be much busier and I will be much more pre-occupied. This spells more fear but I like to hold on to the fact that I know my own mind and limitations and more importantly I have my instinct. There are families with far more on their plate than I do and I know that they cope and that their children remain safe and sound.
The article mentions the well known phrase between Mum’s which is ‘baby brain’ and there is research to suggest that pregnancy does not in fact affect the brain, it remains unaltered. I think for most of us who are perhaps *ahem* a little more scatty than we were before, this is interesting to read and of course leaves us nothing to fall back on. What campaigners are saying is these incidences are on the rise due to our busy lifestyles which increase our forgetfulness, somewhat worrying with our hectic lifestyles we lead now and the need to juggle several tasks at once.
Unrelated to leaving your child, I saw a classic case of absent mindedness the other day. A lady walked past me in the supermarket car park with her trolley and suddenly raised her hand to her mouth, stopped in her tracks and turned on her heels back the way she had already come. Her trolley was left careering across the car park, where luckily a passer by managed to grab it in time before it crashed into the side of a parked car. Where had the lady gone to? she had forgotten to pay at the ticket machine. As I passed her, I told her what had happened and she ran off frantically back to her trolley. It was as if something had switched off in her brain momentarily and sent her off course. Imagine if a child had also been sat in that trolley?
My heart goes out to any parent that has unwittingly forgotten their child. The guilt they must feel must be terrible and not something that you would forget in a hurry. A momentary lapse of concentration on the task in hand could be devastating. I think this only goes to show that sometimes we need to slow down a little and not take on too much in our lives. Easier said than done in some cases.