Today on CNN, this story caught my eye. It is not yet another tale of terrible parenting, but one that any parent who has ever been harried, in a hurry or late can fear. How easy would it be to forget that your sleeping baby is in the car? Stories like this do not showcase child abuse or neglect, they highlight the fears that every parent has. I read a story like this and I feel for the child who died an awful death, but I also feel for the parents. They will never recover. I wonder if they will get divorced over this. I am not sure I could forgive R if this happened even if I could understand why it did.
I am never going to be in danger of microwaving or shaking my baby, but any parent could forget their baby is in the back of their car in the right circumstances.
Last summer, something similar happened in Cincinnati and all of the locals were calling for the mother's head. But I was so sad for her. Jail could not even begin to compare to the hell that woman was going to live just in her own head. I can't even begin to imagine the guilt and rage that a parent would feel in this situation.
Are stories like these just sensationalism? Or do they serve another purpose? Am I less likely to leave my daughter in the car because I read this? I doubt it. I can't condemn the parents who find themselves in these situations. Sleep deprivation is a powerful thing. For most new parents, the first month or so is conducted in a fog. For some it lasts even longer. And with two kids? It must be even worse. So, I feel for these parents. I do not want to see that father in jail (unless it is proven that he did it on purpose).
I am quite certain the punishment he is heaping upon himself is far worse than anything the county can dole out even on its best day.