What Social Changes are Most Needed To Help Mothers and Children?
by Laurie A Frisch
Rated "PG" by the Author.
edited: Saturday, July 08, 2006
Posted: Sunday, April 16, 2006
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The situation for mothers and children in many societies is grim. For countries like the United States, what laws can be enacted to protect mothers and their children?
Mothers and children are suffering around the globe. In some societies, females are of such low status that a woman who is pregnant with a female fetus is forced to “ask for" an abortion. Or she may be forced to commit infanticide or to abandon her newborn daughter. At one time in history, a women who was pregnant outside of wedlock might be stoned to death. Even today in many societies, new mothers who are single are often forced to “give up" their babies for adoption. Like the sacrifice of a virgin was believed to benefit certain ancient societies, the “sacrifice" of a mother-and-baby -- terrorizing single women who reproduce -- is believed to benefit some modern societies. I can still remember clearly the horror I felt the day one of my brothers declared that “all single mothers should have their babies taken for adoption." When I questioned whether this might be harmful for the babies (and their siblings) he added “It doesn’t matter how a child will be affected."To a baby, her mother is her whole world. Hospitals today try to keep moms and babies together to pregnant the psychological and emotional harm that comes from separating them. There are societies that support motherhood. The Moso people described by Yang Erche Namu in the book “Leaving Mother Lake" expect mothers to be single. Australia and Sweden also support and protect single motherhood. In United States, there are initiatives to separate vulnerable mothers and babies, rather than to protect them. Denying new mothers assistance and simultaneously providing federally-funded “Infant Adoption Awareness Training" are both reminiscent of the 1960s when millions of white single mothers lost their babies to adoption. Unlike the 1960’s , today outright solicitation to get babies is rampant. Adoption agencies, adoption attorneys and individuals are all utilizing “Dear Birthmother" adoption letters, aggressively “befriending" pregnant women, offering them “open" adoption with pictures, letters or possibly even visitation with their child. Until she has given birth and held her baby in her arms and cared for her, a mother cannot understand what it is she may be “giving up". But when a mother who is not yet recovered from childbirth says “no" to adoption, the adoption business may call in their top negotiators. In some states a “consent" is “legal" - and regularly obtained - from a mother less than a day after giving birth, before she has a chance to recover and while she may still be medicated. A mother may be encouraged to sign by “professionals" who assure her that she has the right to revoke her consent within a certain period. Later the mother may discover to her horror that her signature is used against her in court as “proof" that she is “unfit". Should a mother targeted by an adoption business somehow escape with her parental rights intact, the adoption industry will refer to this event as a “failed adoption". Those in power often shape our vocabulary to disguise reality and promote their agenda. The word “unplanned" is used to describe single pregnancy and it is assumed by many that “unplanned" pregnancy means an “unwanted" baby. Rather than being called a “parent with a right to raise her son or daughter", a new mother may find herself referred to by the derogatory terms “birthmother" or “unwed" mother. The fact that she is being called a “birthmother" rather than “mother-to-be" or “mother" reveals that the so-called “choice" is heavily influenced by society. What social changes would help to protect mothers and babies? Promote male responsibility for pregnancy prevention and for the children they sire. Make it a requirement to obtain a signature relinquishing parental rights from both mother and father (if known). Refer to mothers and fathers by the respectful terms "mothers" and "fathers" (not "birthmothers" and "birthfathers"). Provide mothers (and fathers) several weeks to recover from birth prior to a “legal" consent to adoption. Then allow an unpressured revocation period with no prospective adopter selected until after the revocation period is over. Ensure mothers, fathers and grandparents have honest information about the long and short-term emotional effects known to result from separating a mother and baby. Provide mothers and babies with the necessities of life, as well as the education to achieve independence and the ability to acquire more than just the essentials.
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Birthparents - "Birthparents" and adoption options for pregnant women, teen mothers and single mothers.