Early this week, when a four month old infant died in his sleep at a local daycare center, I cried. I cried for the infant, for the family, and yes, for the woman who owned the business for 14 years without incident. Her photo was front and center on the first page of the paper. It showed her bent over on the ground, hands over her eyes, as another woman tried to console her.
Even though the death is under investigation, the preliminary evidence indicates the baby died as a result of SIDS. The owner says that she checked on the baby at 12 noon and then again at 12:30, at which point she noticed the baby was cyanotic. She tried cardio-pulmonary resuscitation for fifteen minutes, but to no avail.
When this infant’s life ended, other lives were changed forever. How does anyone involved not blame themselves? A thousand questions. A thousand recriminations.
I see this horrific circumstance, not as a blame game for the people involved, but as a function of the society we live in. I’ve written about it before, but the subject always comes back to haunt me. Economic necessity dictates what parents must do, what they must sacrifice to survive; yet that necessity puts in jeopardy the survival of the youngest. It doesn’t have to be that way. Other countries, less advanced than ours, provide maternity leave (some with paid leave for up to two years) so that parents are not forced to leave their infants when they are most vulnerable.
How long will it take for our society to catch up? I hesitate to ask.
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