A mother convicted of assaulting her infant son and failing to provide him with the necessaries of life wants people to know that’s not the end of the story.
“I don’t want my son’s story to get lost in translation,” the 24-year-old woman said Wednesday after the story of her Feb. 26 conviction ran in the Tribune. “My son was adopted by a couple I know who couldn’t have children. He’s been with them since December 2013 and the adoption was finalized last month.”
The woman, referred to as SH to protect her son N’s identity, said it is an open adoption.
She can see N every six months, she talks with him through social media, sends him presents and buys him Halloween costumes.
“His parents and I have a great relationship and he knows I’m his mommy,” she said.
N will turn five years old in September and is on par with children his age, SH said.
“He’s intelligent, and has no health issues at all, except he was born with a lazy eye but that’s about it.”
SH said when she was pregnant at 19 she wanted her child and didn’t consider putting him up for adoption.
“I thought I could raise a child,” she said.
Looking back now she said she’s learned what she did was wrong and how she could have fixed it.
Her failure to make sure N was eating properly was due to her misconception that babies only need to be fed when they are crying, she said.
The adoption wasn’t something SH asked for at first, but once the doctors and social workers involved determined N wasn’t thriving in her care, he was placed in foster care by the time he was seven months old.
“Three months later they wanted me to do all these things to get him back, but I was too depressed,” SH recalled. “They let me have him in the summer of that year but I couldn’t handle being a single mom and he was in respite more than he was with me.”
Before his first birthday, N was removed permanently and within a few months SH was charged with assault and failing to provided necessities.
“I don’t remember a lot of that first year. It was pretty blank and black from the depression,” SH said. “The police have it on record that I had a black out and briefly shook him and the guy I was with took him out of my hands, smacked me up the side of the head. I snapped out of it and didn’t even know what I had done until it was over.”
After she was charged, SH participated in a family group conference with her lawyer, the birth father who had not been in the picture since half way through the pregnancy, and the Ministry of Children and Family Development and their lawyer.
“I went home and I thought if someone’s got to adopt my baby I want to see if it can be someone I know,” SH said.
The adoption was put in motion in the summer of 2013, N was placed with the couple in December of that year, and the adoption was finalized last month.
SH encourages other women suffering with depression to ask for help.
“I have had depression since I was in Grade 7 that was never dealt with,” SH said.
When the baby was born SH found herself “terrified” of him, she recalled.
“I didn’t touch him very much. I was kind of scared of my son.”
RH, a man she moved in with a week before N’s birth, tried to get her some help, but she was stubborn and too scared, she said.
Her wake up call came in May 2013 when she was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder and borderline personality disorder from her own abandonment issues.
To combat that, she now takes medication for depression and she sees counsellors regularly.
SH will be sentenced on one count of common assault and failing to provide the necessaries of life at a later date.