Social & Community News
02 December 2020

Rustenburg – We are at risk of becoming desensitised to the horrors of newborn babies being abandoned and left for dead every so often.

Newborns are being wrapped in plastic, left in the veld or dumped in dustbins like a piece of trash. What would drive a mother to do such a thing?

Some of these women are alone, underaged, ashamed or do not have a solid support structure to help them care for the baby, however, no matter how desperate the situation, safe and legal alternatives are available which does not include killing the babies.

Môrester Kinderhuis director Helen Lotz deals with cases like these regularly. “I have been doing this for many years and everytime I hear of a baby that was dumped somewhere, it breaks my heart,” Lotz told Platinum Weekly.

Lotz currently cares for 19 newborns and provides a safe place for abandoned children. Lotz advises that should you decide not to keep your baby, at least go to a hospital to give birth. This will not only give the baby a chance on life - it is also beneficial for your health.

“You can just tell the social worker that you intend on putting the baby up for adoption and this person will assist you without any judgement,” said Lotz. If you do this through the correct channels the baby will also receive an ID number which will help with the adoption process of which the mother has 90 days to change her mind.

What if the baby is born at home and you still decide that you do not want to keep it? You can still go to the hospital and speak to a social worker. There are also many other organisations that you can contact that will assist you.

“I know an unexpected pregnancy can be terrifying, but if the thought of leaving your baby on a rubbish dump or in a storm drain ever crosses your mind, even if just for a brief moment, I want to encourage you to contact me. I will advise you and offer support to assist in making informed choices,” pleaded Lotz.

Police spokesperson captain Elsabé Augoustides confirmed that if an abandoned baby is found, a DNA-test is done to locate the mother who will face criminal charges if caught. “Mothers who abandon their babies will be charged with concealment of birth,” she said.

There are instances where women give birth at home and the baby is stillborn. This can cause a woman to start panicking. “If a baby is stillborn, a doctor needs to be contacted who will declare the infant dead. If it is classified as an unnatural death, the police also need to be informed,” said Augoustides. If you did nothing wrong, there is nothing to be afraid off as this is just the normal procedure.

Should you ever find a baby that was abandoned by the mother, the first thing you should do is to immediately contact the police. They will obtain the required documents from the Department of Social Development to ensure that the baby can be taken to a place of safety like Môrester Kinderhuis.

Whatever your circumstance is, no matter how afraid you are or whatever your reasons may be for deciding not to keep your baby, please do the right thing and follow the right procedures to ensure the life of the child is protected.  

If you do not have someone close to that you can confide in and you want to learn more about the options that are available contact Lotz on 082 460 8418.

Give your child a chance to live.

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