Woman, 19 years old, pregnant by gang rape by her father and his friends. It is the second time she gets pregnant. Her first baby is stillborn (not registered). The young woman is 6 months pregnant now and suffers from personality disorder.
She has been abused since the age of two. She is afraid of seeking help from official community workers or official authorities. She had previously asked them for help and it didn’t work out for her. It even traumatized her.
Her father knows about the pregnancy and wants her to give birth at his house. The baby will not be registered after birth and father can do as he pleases with the baby. The girl is not registered as being pregnant and has no permanent residence. She moves from place to place as a result from her personality disorder, after some time she contacts her father. He immediately comes for her and the abuse continues. She doesn’t know where she will be before, during or after giving birth. The only thing she does know is that she wants her baby to have a secure life.
Annelies, 51 years old. The abuse by her father and his friends started when she was a toddler. By the time she was 12 she was pregnant for the first time and she gave birth alone to her 6 month old baby. Her baby died straight after birth. She buried her baby in the woods. Two years later she was pregnant again. She recognized the symptoms of being pregnant and had just one wish: she wanted her baby to grow up in a safe place, even though it meant the separation of her and the baby. She went for help to the nuns. She was in an early stage of the pregnancy and therefore they sent her away. Then her father found out about the pregnancy. He ordered a doctor to perform an illegal abortion at their own house. She had twins, almost 7 months old. There was no registration. Together with 5 other women who have had the same experiences, Annelies wrote a book Aan het licht. It’s about/for the hidden group of women who gave birth but their babies never saw the light of day.
Tamara, 19 years old. Tamara is pregnant and conceals her pregnancy. At the time her boyfriend had a work placement in Zeeland, she hid herself away at home for the last six weeks of her pregnancy. Tamara always has been a loner. She has a mother who is an addict and a father who is living somewhere else and has large debts. She had a troubled childhood with little opportunity for her own personal growth. Tamara thought it was the right thing to do to keep her pregnancy a secret. Suicide crossed her mind several times. She could not oversee her problems, she was desperate and distraught. She was too afraid to get help from the official authorities. She had lost all confidence in (official) social workers. She needed help when she was small, but didn’t receive any and lost all trust.
At the time she went into labour, she contacted a friend who came immediately. She was transferred to a psychiatric ward at the hospital. They took her baby away after giving birth. Tamara now sees her baby once a month under supervision. She desperately wants her baby back, but they are still separated, even though she has her life back on track. If she had only known about the Beschermde Wieg Foundation. She would have contacted the foundation in an early stage of her pregnancy for help which could be trusted.
Now it is too late for Tamara and her baby. Tamara has committed herself, as well as Annelies, to the Beschermde Wieg Foundation. They give lectures and give support to the foundation to reach this hidden group of women.
These distinct examples, (there are many more), show that there are a certain amount of pregnant women (or a specific category) who can’t rely on help from official authorities for themselves as well as their (unborn) child.
These women wish to offer our Foundation, working closely with local partners, an alternative. Not as a welfare worker but to meet them as a fellow creature. First by listening, thinking along with them and then giving them the support they ask for.
Women (and their partners) contacting The Beschermde Wieg Foundation can be sure of:
Professional volunteers, familiar with the problems and challenges these women face;
Empathy and treatment with respect;
Discretion and confidentiality;
If preferred: anonymity.
We would like to get in contact with these women about the following subjects:
What is the hindrance that makes them avoid regular welfare workers?
In what way can we be of any assistance?
How do we achieve responsible and safe childbirth and good aftercare?
What will the baby’s future look like: is there a possibility to raise him or her yourself, are there any relatives who can be of assistance, or is giving your baby up the only thing you can think of as a real possibility?
In all cases, we want to share our knowledge with anyone involved and work closely with them. All in the interest of this extremely vulnerable group of women. Of course only and to the extent that they agree to.
When the woman specifically wants to give up her baby, the Beschermde Wieg Foundation will point out the following:
The procedures after giving up your baby;
The possibility of reversing your decision after giving up your baby;
The importance of leaving your personal details so your child can find out who his or her biological mother is.
PLEASE NOTE: Foreign research has shown that many forthcoming mothers who have the intension of giving up their baby make the decision not to do so because there are alternatives to be offered, alternatives that they may never have thought about or didn’t even know they existed.
Regarding the above are women who got in contact with our foundation before giving birth. There will be mothers who have decided to abandon their baby, but now want to leave their baby in one of our safe locations. The foundation wishes to offer this latest resource by knowing that every year there are babies irresponsibly abandoned or even killed because of their desperate and distraught mothers. Mothers who often can’t, dare or want to justify the existence of their baby towards their environment. It might occur that the mother decides not to leave her personal details behind although we will emphasize the essence of doing so. We will encourage her and explain the importance and the consequences of leaving her personal details with us. If possible we certainly (see below under 8) want to avoid her baby remaining ignorant about his or her origin (The fact the same baby-through our anonymous help and care-can remain free of neglect and even death, is ultimately the deciding factor for our foundation to respect the mother’s decision not to leave any personal details. We feel the right to life should prevail over the right to know who your descendents are. Also the mother can reverse her decision which is less of a step knowing that she left her baby in a safe place and not somewhere unsafe and unprotected) Or: also in such a situation the baby will be spared neglect (and sometimes even death) in this case the mother can reverse her decision to leave her baby. It will be harder though (sometimes even impossible) if knowingly she left her baby in an unsafe place and not suitable for a baby.
In the Netherlands there are local initiatives that are going to work with the Beschermde Wieg Foundation and will open a Beschermde Wieg Kamer. These rooms are located in ordinary homes and will have a private entrance door. This door will open automatically when the bell is rung. There will be an envelope in the crib written in as many relevant languages as possible. We will explain the relevance of getting professional help, but also we will point out the importance of leaving (true and as complete as possible) personal details in order for the child to find out who his or her biological parents are when he or she grows up.
Finally, she is informed that there is a possibility to relinquish her decision in giving up her baby.