Vir Cantium

I'm right, you know …

On Parenthood

I feel that one key difference between being a parent* and not, is that a story of child abuse, or worse, goes from being sad or shocking to being a tragedy or scandal.

It was only when the Peter Connelly court case entered its final stages that I was made fully aware of what that poor toddler had gone through – at that point my own son was then around 17 months old – the same age as Peter when his life was so brutally and criminally cut short. For me, I was no longer able to just view it from purely an insular “I hope it never happens round here” perspective. I now imagine what little Peter would have been aware of, capable of, and what he could have developed into had he lived. He’d learnt to walk and talk, he would have had a growing vocabulary, his own personal likes and dislikes, his favourite toys, his own little world (albeit not a happy one) – all gone now. Such things can turn even the most libertarian and liberal into Daily Mail editorial sound-alikes.

The story today – of a severely depressed mother who drowned her son – is clearly different, given the circumstances, but I feel my views before and after the onset of fatherhood have again changed. Do I feel anger towards the mother for what she did? Before I had children, I may well have done. Now, though, I can appreciate how “wrong in the head” she was to have done such a thing; something that goes against the instinct of every normal parent. To sentence her to a psychiatric institution is probably right – not only to treat her severe depression, but to help her partly deal with what she has done and the effective life sentence that she cannot now avoid (and which, depending on your own perspective, she may or may not deserve).

Sorry to post on such a heavy subject.

Anyway, it’s Friday – now go and enjoy the sunshine while it’s here! (Oh, and the cricket!)

* By “parent”, I know this can equally apply to any dedicated guardian, uncle/aunt, elder sibling, etc, etc.

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