Of Miracles and Mothers

It was fascinating to read (Hamodia, March 22) about the surgery done on March 8 on the baby from Africa who was born with two spines and an extra set of legs protruding from her neck. What a gift from G-d that such surgery can now be done and this child can lead a normal life. It’s a very rare form of surgery, and top surgeons spent countless hours on this child; a host family was found to take care of the child before and after the surgery. Everything was either donated or funded by charity.

It was a feel-good story, and I was feeling good, until the very end, when I read, “Dominique likely will head home to her mother, father and three older sisters, who’ve been getting regular updates on the baby’s condition, in mid-April. Dominique’s parents weren’t able to come due to cost, an Advocate Children’s Hospital spokeswoman said.”

Millions of dollars were raised and spent for this child’s health and wellbeing. Many good people went out of their way in the hope that they could give her a normal life. And yet the plan was for her to be with total strangers for several weeks at the age of 10 months. So much money was found and yet the money for her mother to go along was not found.

Why? Because it wasn’t considered important. It wasn’t considered necessary for a baby to have her mother with her for several weeks.

As medically advanced as we are, we will not be able to give children normal lives until we accept that babies need to be with their mothers for them to turn out emotionally healthy and well-adjusted. After all the dedication and charity and kindness exhibited by so many for Dominique, she is at high risk of emotional problems because of society’s false belief that mothers can easily be replaced by strangers with no long-term ill effects.

Rishe Deitsch, Senior Editor,
N’shei Chabad Newsletter