Respecting the dignity of children

Situation 3 of 3: An unwanted arrival

The very young mother-to-be maintained her teenage life, but particularly in this case, in revolt and anger. Her violent and toxic environment did not allow any stability or security. Faithful, she refused to terminate her pregnancy despite her unstable condition and lack of disponibility. The girl was going to be called Fauve.

Fauve’s first two years were difficult: painful withdrawals from birth, constant changes of homes, very little stimulation, inadequate nutrition and a mother short of means despite her pretenses. Fauve cried a lot and her development was greatly compromised. The child slipped between two chairs, or rather into the loopholes of the system, until the grandparents reported the situation to child welfare services.

She was placed in emergency foster care for a period of one year. Meanwhile, her mother being unable to take care of herself, fell into a deep depression. After multiple treatments and prolonged hospitalization, the mother returned home in better conditions and ready to take her child back. She found herself pregnant again with a more stable life, and Fauve was entrusted to her again around the age of three.

When the new baby arrived, Fauve quickly became aggressive and refused the presence of a little sister. She ignored her, pushed her and wanted her to leave immediately. Her mood changed suddenly and she became more and more agitated. In her dismay, Fauve began to have severe fits, even hitting her mother and calling her bad words. Shortly afterwards, a psychiatrist hypothesized a depressive disorder following a severe attachment disorder.

Overwhelmed by the circumstances, the mother relapsed into a state of severe distress – which necessitated another hospitalization and a new rupture for the child. Fortunately for Fauve, these grandparents assumed custody and secured the child during the few months that the therapies offered to the mother lasted.

These therapies helped the mother recover in less than a year. At five years old, Fauve returned to her again. After a few weeks of honeymoon, the child resumed behaving aggressively and having repeated fits. She continually opposed her mother, and she screamed at her that she was mean, that she didn’t like her. When I saw her in the clinic on her first visit, referred by the school, Fauve whispered to me that she frequently dreamed that she was killing her mother with a knife! At school, she opposed, she challenged authority, and she threatened them, four and a half years high. Therapies were imposed and follow-ups in child psychiatry and art therapy began, particularly targeting the big problem of insecure attachment.

On a subsequent visit at age 5 and a half, she seemed thin-skinned, hyper-vigilant, and super-sensitive. Fauve had changed. She was functioning fairly well, her academic performance was better and she was able to make friends, even displaying leadership qualities. She also displayed enormous artistic talents, and she drew her family all in black. On the other hand, she had made a multicolored rainbow on the corner of the sheet. By giving me her work, Fauve told me that she would like to return to her mother’s womb, as if to start from scratch!

Her great innocence paired with an exceptional resilience allowed her to project herself forward as if to start her life again as if by magic. Hope was now part of her life. It was therefore necessary from now on, out of respect for her dignity, to provide her with safe and intensive support and above all to guide her on this great journey.

 Being born at the wrong time and in the wrong place is the worst bad start for a child who should be born equal. Hope, when it is reborn, may suggest that the damage could be limited. Hope can makes miracles sometimes.

“It’s easier to build strong children than it is to mend broken adults. « 

F. Douglass

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