Midwife Shares Emotional Experience of Anonymous Birth at German Clinic
Midwife Christine Maek recounts an emotional anonymous birth, highlighting the importance of safe, medically supervised options for struggling mothers.
Christine Maek, a midwife at Klinikum Nürnberg, recently witnessed an emotional anonymous birth where the mother severed all contact with her child, leaving only the father aware of the situation. This rare event left a lasting impression on Maek, who has practiced midwifery for 36 years.
Anonymous births involve the mother giving birth without disclosing her identity, and the child is put up for adoption. This differs from confidential births, in which the mother provides some identifying information, enabling the child to establish contact after turning 16. Maek has encountered several confidential and anonymous births in her career, but this recent case was especially poignant.
Image by Hermes Rivera
During the birth, midwives are often alone with the expectant mother, which allows for conversation. The mother revealed that her third child had been unplanned, and a fourth was not feasible for the family. Consequently, she chose to have the child anonymously, with only her husband knowing. After the birth, the mother left the hospital without seeing her child, and Maek immediately removed the baby from the room.
The farewell was understandably more emotional and heavier than usual. Maek offered support and encouragement to the mother, who seemed rational and committed to her decision, perhaps as a form of self-protection, as Maek suggests.
In many instances, the mother's social circle remains unaware of the pregnancy. This can be achieved through concealment, alternative explanations, or by returning to work without taking maternity leave. Maek finds it remarkable that a woman can give birth, relinquish her child, and continue living with the secret. She acknowledges that the mother may still wonder about her child's wellbeing and whether she made the right choice, leaving Maek with lingering thoughts after work.
Maek advocates for anonymous or confidential births over baby hatches, which can pose risks to both mother and child. Baby hatches allow mothers to leave their babies anonymously, but the process can be stressful and lacks medical assistance. In contrast, anonymous and confidential births provide medical support, with costs covered by the state.
The midwife commends the mother's decision not to abort, as she gave life and brought happiness to an adoptive family. Adoptive families often include individuals unable to have children of their own.
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