Valerie Gommon Midwife’s Blog

Baby abandoned in Bedford – Teenage Pregnancy

Posted on: January 11, 2009

This week a young woman in Bedford abandoned her newborn baby in a park in freezing conditions, fortunately the baby was found and taken to hospital where she is now doing well; the mother has also come forward and is receiving medical care and support from social services.

How very sad that this young woman felt it necessary to leave her brand new daughter – she must have been confused and terrified.  The police have stated that “they deal with these cases with sensitivity and are unlikely to prosecute”.  There will, of course, be many who feel anger and incomprehension over this young woman’s actions, but I also believe that we should feel sadness and pity because she almost certainly will have felt unsupported.  I wish her and her baby well.

Teenage Pregnancy has, in recent years, become a modern “folk devil”.  Frequent articles have appeared in the tabloid newspapers berating the fact that young, single mothers were able to obtain council flats or houses because they had a child, and sometimes went as far as to suggest that young women had children in order to obtain a home.

Television programmes alerted us to the “problems” that teenage mothers would cause to society.  Young mothers “scrounging” from the state, not working, uneducated, taking state benefits, houses, producing juvenile delinquents and children who would then go on and repeat the cycle by having children at a young age themselves.

Britain has one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in Europe and our Government has spent vast sums of money in trying to reduce the number of teenage pregnancies, and although our Office of National Statistics figures do show a small downturn in the number of Teenage pregnancies, the statistics are not good and I would argue that we as a society need to re-think our attitudes and strategies for sex education.

There appears to be an irrefutable link between deprivation and unplanned pregnancy, there are potentially many reasons for this trend.  It has been suggested that young people who have grown up in unhappy circumstances may desire to create a ‘new’ family of their own, with the genuine desire to ‘do better’ themselves (although of course the failure rate is high).  Young women speak of ‘having a baby of heir own to love, and be loved by’, perhaps trying to create something lacking in their lives.

Alcohol and drug abuse may also be implicated in unplanned pregnancy, this may result in abortion for more highly educated teenagers, but teenagers from poorer areas are much less likely to have an abortion.

It should not be forgotten that, for some, pregnancy is a planned, or semi-planned occurrence and it should be remembered that young parents can make excellent parents particularly given family support.

Young women may also face additional medical complications associated with pregnancy, but at the same time by late teens/early twenties a woman is also perhaps in her childbearing prime.

As a Registered Midwife, I am always happy to be contacted about any pregnancy related issues and am always willing to speak confidentially by telephone

3 Responses to "Baby abandoned in Bedford – Teenage Pregnancy"

Oh that is so sad. I can never understand abandoning children but then I have never been desperate and un-supported, even as a teen mother myself, I was happily married and settled into life. I think, like with all things, the few bad apples upset the whole cart. I’ve known some really awful single teenaged mums, but I’ve known ten times as many excellent teen mums too who can quite easily put my parenting to shame!

Sadly it’s always the negative stories that stick in your memory.

I hope both mother and baby get the help and support they need.

What’s with going on with her head while abandoning her child? When I read news or stories like this, it makes me mad and sad because I just can’t imagine how mothers provoke themselves in doing such thing. Babies are angels that are given to us.

[…] Comment! Sadly another baby has been found abandoned in High Wycombe, she is being cared for by staff at Wycombe hospital whilst appeals have gone out for her mother to come forward to seek medical advice.  For my thoughts see previous posting […]

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