My Heart Still Breaks

A few weeks ago I told you about a news story out of Australia depicting years of what amounted to stealing babies from young unwed mothers between the 1940s and 1970s. You may recall the account of one doctor who, as a young medical student, witnessed newborn babies being taken from their mothers. His account was chilling.

The day after the story broke a Senate inquiry recommended that the Australian government issue a formal apology for forcibly taking babies from many thousands of unwed mothers.

I should think so.

A few days ago I was stunned to read that similar stories are coming out of Canada where it seems there was a similar practice from the 1950s to the 1980s, and that Canadian provinces from Quebec westward will soon be hit with class-action law suits. This news story will break your heart as you read of the inhumane treatment these young women endured as their babies were stolen from them.

I can’t help but think, once again, of the trauma inflicted on the newborn infants as well as the victimized young mothers. These children lost their mothers, their fathers, their heritage, and very likely grew up feeling disconnected and lost. The mothers, I’m certain, never completely recovered from the horror.

I’ve often quoted Maya Angelou here: “When you know better you do better.”

I pray we all know better now.


I’m a writer, reader, and creative. I thought by now I’d have things figured out, but I keep coming up with more questions. I think that’s okay. I’m here most mornings pondering ordinary things and the thin places where faith intersects.
1 comment
  1. This is a tragedy. I suppose the premise was that these unwed mothers were “unfit” to raise their children and that a swift removal of the child would keep them from bonding, never considering the psychology behind their actions. Kind of like giving pregnant women that DES drug to stop nausea. It sounded good at the time but they never stopped to consider the long term ramifications. In many ways our world has made such vast improvements on how we treat people now both medically and psychologically. I sure hope these women and their now-grown babies can find healing.

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