The horror of baby 59.

Baby 59 sleeping in an incubator two days after being rescued from a sewer pipe

For those who haven’t already heard, the major news story to emerge over the last few days was that of a baby rescued from a pipe in China. Baby number 59 – as he has now been labelled – was extracted from the pipes with a fractured skull and bruised ribs, the horrific effects of being flushed down the toilet by his very own mother.

According to the mother, she gave birth without knowledge that she was actually giving birth, and in such a confused and oblivious state, her baby slipped into the toilet and was somehow flushed away. Despite how bizarre this account of the event sounds, I cannot help but feel a shred of sympathy for her. Under normal circumstances, I am confident that a mother would not have to hide her pregnancy in such an extreme fashion, and she would definitely not be unaware that she was giving birth… yet I feel that she knew, and was compelled to somehow rid herself of her child for fear of the law, and for fear of the ever-judgemental society that she (and we) live in. We also have to remember that this mother lives under the oppressive rule of China’s one child policy – a policy that looms over every family, almost coughing to remind the Chinese of its presence and potentially forces women to become child murderers. Reduce the population but hey, let’s try to increase criminality.

It is very possible that this mother had to hide her pregnancy for fear of anyone finding out and thus her assets being taken from her. In China, the death of babies – both before and after birth – is a common occurrence. It is brushed under the carpet and left there, forever. For its residents, it has become almost second nature to walk by a black bag harbouring the remains of a dead baby or foetus. Such is the extreme situation of China. It is this extreme situation which, in me, evoked sympathy for the mother.

Although a part of me was horrified at the news that this woman had the ability to flush her own flesh and blood down the sewer, it also made me think about what could have pushed this lady to do what she did. My belief is that the one child policy is just too frightening for these civilians, as they live in constant fear of producing a child – especially if they are unmarried, as the mother in this case was. For her, a child would bring disaster and shame, not happiness. It is this fear which prompts women and families to take drastic measures in order to escape the legalities that would follow if they were to go against China and its rule.

Despite the fact that this mother then raised the alarm and provided a somewhat warped explanation for her actions, the fact of the matter is that she still flushed her offspring down the toilet. Although she claims it slipped and somehow whirled down into the pipe, it is highly likely that her intention was to get rid of the baby and subsequently, live a peaceful and law-abiding life.

So I assume that from the eyes of China’s law, this mother was actually doing them a favour – she was only trying to get rid of another human who would add to China’s population, right? Right. Charges dropped. Case closed.

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