A few years back, a young, thin, heavily pierced woman came for an new patient acute visit. Chief complaint was "I want a shot to dry my milk up."
Uh, we don't do that anymore.
And, where's your baby?
The baby was premature, and was at Big Academic Center Hospital in the NICU 90 miles away, without his mother.
Through some more conversation and observation, I deduced that there were some serious mom-baby bonding issues (sharp as a tack, I am), and there were likely some mental health/substance issues as well. She was planning on keeping the baby, though in the way one might decide to keep a purse.
And she clutched the baby like a purse, too, when they showed for the baby's first checkup with me a few months later. I've never seen anyone so unemotional with a baby. Hell, I've never seen anyone so unemotional with a hamster.
So, skipping past the underfeeding and emotional neglect, she lost custody of the baby to a distant family member who intervened just at the right time. And took a new infant with medical problems into her family of 5 children.
And I hadn't seen any of them again, till this week.
Adoptive mom (who is not my patient), through a scheduling glitch, needed to see me for an incidental appointment. And she brought baby, who is 18 months or so now. Baby has some medical issues, and mom (who is facing her own medical issues) is a little harried.
But they were like two peas in a happy little family pod. I shudder to think of the emotional neglect this baby would have suffered had he stayed where he was. And I applaud all those who give of their homes, their families, and their lives to make such a huge difference for those who need it.