This story leads off with the anchor being shocked (!) and the reporter, on location in the Sunnyslope area of Phoenix, holding up a flyer for a missing dog. He acts incredulous that people would be looking for a dog, when a woman apparently abandoned her baby to a stranger in the same neighborhood. The woman, Jennifer Argo, who had the baby handed off to her is indignant about it. “She makes me sick. Uh, I mean, I’m a mother of three! You know, I just could never imagine handing my child off to somebody and saying, ‘here’.”
I’m not about to disparage Jennifer Argo, who called emergency responders and cared for the baby, and I’m not going to take too much time chastising the anchor and reporter, both of whom said some frankly inane things, either. I do want to point out that motherhood is not always the most sublime and perfect experience for all women, one that instantaneously transforms all women who do it into heroic, altruistic saints possessed of the exact knowledge necessary to deal with whatever life is throwing their and their children’s way, no matter how horrible. Of all the myths in all of humanity, the one about the Valiant Mother Who Rises Above All Travails is perhaps the most pernicious and wrong. The father of the baby says he was treating their home for insects when the mother ran off. You, if you are lucky enough to not be living in a home infested with them, can only imagine how awful that might be, particularly if you are dealing with a mental illness and a newborn baby.
I do want to express appreciation for the police officers who, upon finding the family of the abandoned baby, recognized that the woman was in mental distress. Rather than arresting her, which is what is (sadly) what I’ve grown to expect to happen in these cases, they took her to have a mental health evaluation. My hope is that it will lead to a meaningful plan to address this family’s problems. Of course, it would be nice to have a state legislature in Arizona where the majority of its members were at least as committed to ensuring that families would be able to raise babies in some semblance of stability and comfort as the current GOP majority is committed to forcing poor women to give birth to babies, come hell or high water.