Sins of the mother : The tragedy of NEONATICIDE.

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Mumbai:
Neonaticide is the term used for children who are slain within the first 24 hours of their birth. Majority cases of neonaticide are found to be in developed as well as under-developing countries, scarcely ever these cases are found in developed countries. No act arouses emotions more than the death of an infant. Even harder to explain, or even comprehend, is the death of a newborn at the hands of a parent. Resnick, coined the term neonaticide. Although this tragedy is not uncommon amongst mothers, it is an exceptionally rare event amongst the fathers. Neonaticide is often preceded by denial of pregnancy. The preponderance of case reports of neonaticide describes a pattern of pregnancy denial, dissociation, and ego disorganization after alleged neonaticide. The woman received a psychiatric evaluation and was administered the Dissociative Experiences Scale. Nearly all of the women reported similar precipitants and symptoms, including depersonalization, dissociative hallucinations, and intermittent amnesia at delivery. The characteristics of the women in the study were similar to those reported in the literature on neonaticide. The existence of this common pattern suggests that treatment strategies can be designed for women at risk for neonaticide.
It must be well understood that this mainly means bloodshed of the girl child. In India, foeticide  cases reported an increase by 49.2%. It is difficult to reconcile with the deep rooted beliefs that mothers are inherently nurturing and self-sacrificing. The United States ranks first in child homicide under the age of four years. Forty-five percent (45%) of all child murders occur in the first 24 hours of life and thus can be classified as neonaticide.
Neonaticide differs from other types of infant deaths; women who commit such crimes are typically acting either out of psychotic motives or as a result of adaptive evolution. It is pretty somber that only 30 countries across the world have laws against neonaticide and it is gratifying to know that India is one of those countries. Nations who have neonaticide laws include; Turkey, England, Sweden, Brazil etc. England has traditionally viewed infanticide as a “special crime” passing its first Infanticide Act in 1623 under the Stuarts and more recently in the Infanticide Acts of 1922 and 1938. Most recently England passed the Infanticide Act of 1978 which allows a lesser sentence for attempted infanticide. Unlike England and other European countries, the United States has not adopted special statutes to deal with infanticide or neonaticide. Nonetheless, juries and judges, as reflected in their verdicts and sentences, have consistently considered the difficulties and stresses of a mother during the post-part-um period.
Now India has since time in-memorable has had preference for sons over daughters. A recent study found that 50,000 unborn girls were aborted every year. Surprisingly a UNICEF report in 2006 revealed that 10 million girls were killed by neonaticide ! The practice is prominent in Gujarat and north-Indian states where there are low recorded rates of female children. The act of killing unwanted baby girls is a long standing sociocultural problem across the whole of the Indian-subcontinent owing to the patriarchal nature of our society. Isn’t it sad that God created mothers since he couldn’t be present everywhere, quite surprising that God’s own representatives are continuously killing someone who equals god?
I would further like to display case studies based on neonaticide for better understanding.
Case Reports:

Case 1:
“J.S., born 1879, with positive heredity of mental deficiency, on July 15, 1911, poisoned his new-born child because he felt that his own poor health might result in his death leaving no one to provide for his wife and child. Psychiatric examination revealed no evidence of mental disease, but the presence of mental deficiency. He was considered responsible for the deed and later sentenced to ten years in the penitentiary. On May 1, 1915, having served three years two months, he was released on probation. At no time during his penitentiary residence nor subs
Eloquentlyhas he shown any symptoms of schizophrenia.”
Case 2:
“A bright 26 year old man was forced into marriage by his wife’s pregnancy. He saw the coming child as a bar to his ambition. On one occasion he put poison in his wife’s soup hoping that the infant would spontaneously abort or be stillborn. He strangled the infant while delivering it himself. Although free of overt psychosis at the time, he developed a clinical picture of full blown schizophrenia three years later. He too was sentenced to ten years in prison”

Case 3:
H. was 35 years old when he killed his 5 hour old son in front of the baby’s mother (his girlfriend) and a nurse, in a hospital room, by stabbing him repeatedly with a hunting knife. H. had planned this and went to the hospital expressly for the purpose of disposing of this unwanted infant. H. was born in 1946 to a rural wealthy family
From the Northeast, His parents were divorced when he was 26 and his father died when he was 29. His birth was reported as being normal and traumatic. There are no materials to suggest any difficulties in early life or as a youngster. His mother admits that she never wanted children and did so only to please her husband. After attending three different private high schools he graduated and moved to New York City where he studied drafting at an architecture school. He claims to be an excellent draftsman and in fact has designed and built two houses when
he was eighteen to twenty years of age. He reports that his favorite employment involved the freedom and independence of being a taxi-cab driver for about ten years.

Further have been stated laws against neonaticide and infanticide in India ;

The female infanticide prevention act, 1870: The Female Infanticide Prevention Act, 1870, also Act VIII of 1870 was a legislative act passed in British India, then under Crown Rule, which sought to prevent the murder of female infants by some upper-caste Hindu communities by instituting penalties and sentences throughout all jurisdictions of British India.

The per-natal diagnostic techniques (regular prevention of misuse act, 1994.): An Act to provide for the prohibition of sex selection, before or after conception, and for regulation of per-natal diagnostic techniques for the purposes of detecting genetic abnormalities or metabolic disorders or chromosomal abnormalities or certain congenital malformations or sex-linked disorders and for the prevention of their misuse for sex determination leading to female feticide; and, for matters connected there with or Incidental thereto.

Medical termination of pregnancy act, 1971: An Act to provide for the termination of certain pregnancies by registered Medical Practitioners and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

The per-natal diagnostic techniques (regular prevention of misuse act, 1994.): An Act to provide for the prohibition of sex selection, before or after conception, and for regulation of per-natal diagnostic techniques for the purposes of detecting genetic abnormalities or metabolic disorders or chromosomal abnormalities or certain congenital malformations or sex-linked disorders and for the prevention of their misuse for sex determination leading to female feticide; and, for matters connected there with or Incidental thereto.

“A woman gives birth to a civilization,
A girl is no less than the goddesses you’ll worship, prevent neonanticide!”

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26 thoughts on “Sins of the mother : The tragedy of NEONATICIDE.

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  6. Thank you for following imaginenewdesigns and for sharing information about this tragic but important topic. I did not know the United States ranks first in child homicide under the age of four years. It also makes me sad that babies are killed because they are the “wrong” gender. I have read about this happening in China too.

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