Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Some Thoughts on Casey Anthony

I have been thinking a whole lot about motherhood today.  A whole lot.  I have been thinking about maternal instinct, about where it resides within our souls and if, indeed, there has been some sort of a disconnect over the course of the past several decades between what a mother should feel toward her own offspring and the selfish need to separate herself from them very shortly after they are expelled from her very body.  This is not to say that all or even most mothers suffer this disengagement from their own children but still, now being on the very tail-end of raising my own four daughters I have witnessed enough of it to call it a frightening trend as I see it.  And for the sake of argument and my own expert experience(I have a culmination of 81 plus years of practice as a mother), I am only discussing women here, as we are the vessels from which our children come forth, we are the ones whose bodies come equipped with the unique abilities to both birth and nourish our babies, and we are the ones who are supposed to protect our children with the force of a mother bear or even the instinctual anger of a mother bird whose young have been threatened.  Yet there is so much to the contradiction as to how we, as mothers, are internally programed to behave.  There is situation after situation after sad, unbelievable situation which leads me to believe that the predisposed instinct for a mother to guard her children with the strength of 1000 men, is somehow being mutated out.  Yes, mutated out.  And the more that I witness mothers placing their own needs before the needs of their young children, the more that I watch as babies are left behind so that mothers can fulfill their own desires, the more that I hear story after story about abuse, neglect and even murder, the more that I feel this inherent need to stand up for those whose voices can so easily be ignored or silenced.  Permanently silenced.
A couple of weeks ago, I sat and watched as this momma bird first taught her fledgling how to find food and then, how to eat without assistance.  Every year, we have several nests around our homes that we watch with great excitement.  The mother and father birds methodically build a nest tiny stick, by tiny stick finishing with the soft hair from our dogs that they somehow find from around our yard.  The momma birds lay several eggs on which they roost as the father birds stay close by and chase any predatory birds from going near the nest.  This is obviously all about instinct and survival as Finches are not really known for their intellect and rationality.  But we have observed as they have chased a bird that is four to five times the size of them away from the vicinity of their nest equipped with nothing but pure guts and instinct.  It is quite a sight to see.  Each night, after the eggs have hatched and the mothers return from foraging for food, they return to the sweet chirps of their hungry babies which they seem to feed with love and care.  It is after that stage of development that the mothers then bring the babies to the sources of food and teach them how to eat on their own.
Down at our beach home, we keep a feeder outside of our door and the birds have come to count on it as a regular food source.  As I observed this mother and her baby sitting on the top of the pole, the momma would also try to get her baby to follow her to the feeder.  After a while, the baby decided that it was much easier for its mother to feed it directly and so, the momma gave in.
She did not fly away from her baby.  She did not push her off of the pole for some hungry predator to consume.  She did not even seem to mind having to feed her growing baby.
She just instinctually, gently, and from my very human perspective, lovingly placed tiny morsels of food into the babies mouth.

When I looked at these pictures the other day, I had a completely different post in mind.  I was touched by the patient instinct of this mother bird.  I felt a sort of alliance with her.  This series of photos reminded me of what it is like to be a mother, of how at every stage of my children's development, I had the inherent desire to nurture, to nourish and to protect them from any harm that the world might try to perpetrate upon them.  This mother birds tenderness with her fledgling reminded me that I would always feel a sense of tenderness toward my own daughters.
After watching so much of the news coverage about Casey Anthony today, I was stunned, absolutely stunned by the idea that not only could a mother allow 31 days to pass without reporting the fact that her two year old daughter was missing, but also shocked and disgusted that there are 12 people down in Florida who could ignore this very basic, very non-disputable fact.  And although I do not usually use this blog to discuss my own sentiments about the conditions in this world, this one hit far too close to home for me to ignore.  You see, on the day that I had my first child 24 years ago, I became a parent first.  When I looked into the eyes of my newborn babies, we became connected for life.  For life.  No sooner could 31 seconds pass if one of my daughters went missing or was out of my sight than I would be frantic and absolutely panic-stricken with fear.  I would grab anyone who could help me by the collar and beg them to find my child, no questions asked, no tales spun.  I have heard enough about how we "all grieve differently".  I have heard enough about Casey's accusations of abuse.  I have heard enough about "fantasy forensics".  Have we truly thrown all common sense out with the evolution of so much me, me, me?

I am both disturbed and proud to admit that I can relate more strongly to a backyard Finch, than I can to a 25 year old mother, her defense team, and 12 jurors down in Florida.  My heart aches for a baby whom I never knew.  A baby whose grave was a watery swamp.  A baby whose body was picked away at by bugs and hungry animals.  A baby who knew too well, the juxtaposition of love and sheer hate.  A baby whose own mother spent 31 days dancing on her grave and now, gets to do so again.


jojo said...

my emotions are so raw right now that trying to find the words for how I feel is very difficult. Many years ago, when I was pregnant with my daughter, and my son was about 2 years old I 'lost' him in a department store. I went down a clothing isle and turned around and he was gone...I was inconsolable. I screamed for him, I ran through the store calling his name...people stopped and looked at the crazy lady but it didn't matter, I kept yelling for him, I was sobbing for my baby. Then I turned around again and there he was, right where I had last seen him...he was beautiful and perfect and I scooped him up and promised him I would never let him get 'lost' from me again.
I can't wrap my mind around 31 days, a month, without knowing where your child is...
I'm sorry, I've got to stop now. Tears are falling and my heart is aching for a lost little girl and the knowledge that it will happen again and again...
take care dear Deb.

Miss A said...

My exact thought. But I strongly believe in Karma, strongly. This beautiful baby is at peace I hope. Her mother will never be.
What kind of a monnster does that? To any child, to her own child. I'm afraid I know the answer. Caley Anthony's death by abuse hits a personal button with me. Poor poor baby girl. I hope that the love everyone has for her eased her soul away from the horror.

Catherine said...

It truly breaks the heart knowing that some people do not realize what a privilege it is to be blessed with a child. There are people aching to have children and never given the chance and then there are people that have children and do not want them. It's all very confusing.

Sharing your sorrow.
xo Catherine

Ness said...

After Kelli was born, I went on birth control for 6 months since she had been a C-section. I went off after 6 months and it threw me into polycystic ovarian disease and it was a miracle from God than despite the fertility drugs we tried that failed. I had Michael 8 years after Kelli and then we were blessed(and surprised!) with Kiereney 18 months after Michael. People who think having children is a SNAP are so very wrong. It seems like the ones who are able to have them so easily are the ones who do not appreciate them nor care for them like the blessing that they are. Caylee died too young but in God's eyes, she might have escaped a very tortured neglected life from a woman who had no business having her, much less further children. I know you have a heavy heart, Deb, and hope you feel my arms and prayers encircling you. Love you.

Mark said...

All people, who want children, should have to go through the amount of paperwork, time and background checks that I had to go through in order to adopt before being allowed to have any. I live in constant fear that one of my children would go missing.
Your Friend, m.

RottenMom said...

This post is brilliant. You've put into words exactly how I feel about the whole thing.

There are so many questions I would have for the jury. So many. They ruled so quickly, never asked questions during deliberation, never asked to see any of the videos or listen to the recorded phone calls during deliberation.

I believe in the justice system, but in this case, I think they got it very wrong. That poor sweet little girl, left in a trash bag in a swamp. All she had to do was sign away her rights to her child to her parents. That's all she had to do.

Renee said...

Many of us are confused and angered by the injustice this swee innocent child went through. Her mother certainly must be mentally ill to be able to dance and party when her daughter was dead.

I will say I have experienced the differences in parenting with my own children. Our two oldest daughters who love and cherish their children and put them first. Our youngest whom we adopted at age 3 has an attachment disorder and Borderline personality disorder...she has a son and she loves him but not in the same way. He is not first in her life. She is. It is sad to watch and we all do what we can, but from this perspective I realize that some just should not be moms...they are incapable of giving a child the love and nurturing they need. I pray Casey never has any more children!!

Tracy said...

I wholeheartedly agree...and it breaks my heart and infuriates me. But I do believe in my heart of hearts that justice WILL prevail. It may not be in our lifetime, or in our knowing but it will happen~ look at OJ-eventually he got his due justice and the same will happen with that mother!
I also can't help but feel very thankful that Caylee is not longer bound by her or tethered to her in a way that her life and living depends on that woman. Caylee is in God's hands and at peace and isn't that what we all hope for?
I also thank GOD I don't have to live with myself like Casey, her grandparents, her lawyers or the jurors...because this will always haunt them!

Catherine Holman said...

I couldn't agree more and my heart is sickened. I was in shock when they announced the verdict. Several people on facebook are turning on their front porch lights at 9:00 each evening for 7 days for this sweet child. I hope she can see the lights shining from heaven for her and the love around the world.

Shrinky said...

I am not familiar with this particular tragic case, but sadly I know of far too many similar ones like it. Mark is spot on with his observation. The truth is, some women should NEVER have children. My sister fostered a four week old baby who came to her with her skull fractured - her mother had swung her by the legs against a brick wall. Little Karen sustained permanent brain damage due to this. Her mother was not prosecuted, and was given supervised visitation by the courts. My sister raised and cared for Karen for over 2 years. When Karen's birth mother cared to show up, she usually had a new boyfriend in tow. Eventually, it was decided Karen would not be returned to her drug-addicted mother after all, and my sis went through the process to adopt her. Out of the blue, the authorities had a change of heart, and reversed the decision to refuse her birthmother custody. My sister was given two days notice before she was forced to give up this darling child to the one who had harmed her.

That was 20yrs ago, and not a day has passed we don't think of little Karen, we have no idea of what happenned to her - my sister had no rights to keep in contact with her.

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