A Filipino woman has acknowledged giving birth to a baby on a Gulf Air flight from Bahrain to Manila “and then leaving him in the trash on the plane,” according to the Associated Press. The nearly seven pound baby survived thanks to a security guard, who found him (still attached to the placenta) just before he might have stopped breathing.
How could a mother do such a thing? And why? Because she was trying to hide a rape.
The unnamed woman told officials “she had been raped by her employer while working as a maid in Qatar and became pregnant.” When her employer’s wife discovered that the woman was pregnant, she was fired. The woman is said to have abandoned her baby because she was afraid of what her family might say. (She is married and has two children.)
It’s unclear whether or not this mother will be reunited with her child, and/or whether or not she will face criminal charges. Several couples from around the world have offered to adopt the boy, who is in the custody of Filipino Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman. The woman has reportedly seen a picture of little George Francis – so named because of Gulf Air’s flight code of GF – and is eager to see him. So why leave him in the bathroom garbage then? And how? Aside from all of the complicated emotions that are involved in this sort of decision, what about the physical logistics? Hiding a pregnancy, going into labor – on a plane – giving birth in a bathroom stall all by yourself – without making noise? It just doesn’t make sense.
I can certainly understand and feel for this woman’s trauma in response to being raped, and according to one report, clinical psychologist Dr. Estrella Tiongson-Magno said the woman “showed inner strength in not undergoing an abortion.” Additionally, abortion is illegal in Qatar, even in cases of rape. What this woman has been through is unimaginable, but the question remains: should a woman who literally threw her child away be allowed to mother him? Will this child of violence be accepted into her otherwise normal family? Will the woman be forced to prove that she was raped in order to justify her actions during and after her son’s birth? And will she be able to love this child despite the manner in which he was conceived? What do you think?