Mom said she was putting this baby up for adoption, as she had her other three children, but she wanted the baby to stay in her room until she went home. This is not that unusual. It turned out, though, that her other three children were removed from her home by Protective Services because of abuse. Apparently mom had shaken one or more of her babies.
Many of you have probably heard of shaken baby syndrome. It occurs when someone holds an infant in front of them and shakes them to and fro, causing their head to flip repeatedly and rapidly from front to back. That shaking alone can cause bleeding into the baby's brain, in some cases causing significant brain damage. The baby's head doesn't have to hit anything, so there may be absolutely no external signs of abuse. A tell-tale sign, though, is the presence of retinal hemorrhages - patches of bleeding in the back of the eye that can be seen when a doctor examines the eye with an ophthalmoscope, that really bright light we shine into people's eyes.
Because of the Protective Services involvement, we kept the baby in our special care nursery until P.S. could check out the home again and determine whether this baby could go home with mom. The mother has been faithfully visiting her baby and feeding her. She acts like she really loves this baby, and I believe she does. I think she probably loves her other children too, even the one or more she shook. It's a bit paradoxical, but I think a lot of child abusers love the kids they abuse. They just can't help themselves, though, or their temper gets the best of them, and they harm their children anyway. They're not monsters - in fact, they are very much like you and me. They just get out of control sometimes.
It's sad to see kids taken away from parents who love them, but it is absolutely necessary in cases of abuse. It's too bad we haven't figured out a way to make that love all encompassing, so it overrides any fits of anger and abuse. I guess it's just another example of the imperfect world in which we live.