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The Sometimes Daughter
Sherri Wood Emmons, acclaimed author of Prayers and Lies, explores the...
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Is a mother ever justified in leaving her children?

Created: 02/24/12

Replies: 12

Posted Feb. 24, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
admin

Join Date: 10/11/10

Posts: 369

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Is a mother ever justified in leaving her children?

Is a mother ever justified in leaving her children?


Posted Mar. 12, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
sarahd

Join Date: 10/16/10

Posts: 84

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RE: Is a mother ever justified in leaving her children?

Emphatically no. I understand that Cassie had problems, but she should have figured herself out so that she could be a responsible mother. I can understand mothers leaving for periods of time - if they need to be in rehab, for example - but leaving for good, starting a new life, etc, is just not okay.


Sarah D
Posted Mar. 12, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
joyces

Join Date: 06/16/11

Posts: 248

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RE: Is a mother ever justified in leaving her children?

I tend to agree with Sarah D on this. The absolutely only times a mother might need to leave her children is there is a chemical or alcohol addiction or a mental illness that makes her unsuitable or unsafe to be caring for her children.


Posted Mar. 13, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
tillieh

Join Date: 04/28/11

Posts: 60

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RE: Is a mother ever justified in leaving her children?

I think Cassie did have a mental illness in some aspect, but not to do something about it and become a good mother - that's just wrong. With professional help, she could have become a responsible mother and wife. Running away doesn't solve anything, it just adds more heartache and problems to the situation.

As a person who was unable to have her own children, it makes me absolutely nuts to see someone who doesn't take responsibility for the children they have. If she couldn't step up to the plate and take care of her daughter, she should have walked away and never looked back. To continue to pop in and out of a child's life is totally disruptive and wrong. It does absolutely nothing but confuse and hurt the child. If a parent walks away from their children and responsibilities, they should let the child wait until they are ready to deal with the issues and not try to force themselves on the child until they are ready.

I was fortunate enough to be blessed with the gift of two stepdaughters and a son that I adopted at birth. His birth mother wanted to be part of his life, but she became very clingy and I could see that she was traveling down a road of destruction, so I backed off from our relationship with her. at age 21, my son stumbled across a friend of hers who introduced them. At that point, my son was ready to investigate the possibility of a relationship. He has developed more of an acquaintance type of relationship with her than anything else. He has seen her destructive lifestyle and has come to me and said how much he appreciates the fact that I rescued him from that lifestyle and raised him.

Parenting means stepping up and taking responsibility for your children and if you can't, then you need to walk away until such time as the child is ready to reach out to you. That is the responsible thing to do.


Posted Mar. 13, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Julie Ann

Join Date: 03/13/12

Posts: 2

RE: Is a mother ever justified in leaving her children?

I think society puts too much pressure on women to be the sole nuturer of children. We think there must be something wrong with a woman who puts her own well being ahead of her children, but let's face it if you aren't healthy yourself how can you have a healthy relationship with someone else. I think Cassie needed to be more honest and upfront about her own mental illness with herself which she was unable to do and in the end sometimes a person can give their loved ones the biggest gift by not being ever present. Being physically present and mentally/emotionally absent doesn't make you a better mother than Cassie was.


Posted Mar. 13, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
shelbyl

Join Date: 05/19/11

Posts: 22

RE: Is a mother ever justified in leaving her children?

As a mother I came to forgive my own mother for her shortcomings when I realized that she was limited by her humaness. We have high expections of women as Moms, not always acknowledging that they are people first, caught up in their own past and shaped by so much more than giving birth. I would hope that Cassie did the best she could do and believe only when we are able to confront ourselves can we move forward. Cassie wasn't able to. Fortunalely her daugher was left in the hands of a loving, able father.


Posted Mar. 13, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
terriej

Join Date: 07/28/11

Posts: 93

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RE: Is a mother ever justified in leaving her children?

Absolutely not. She had a tough time and needed a break, but it should have truly been a break and set expectations before she left.


Posted Mar. 14, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
KAM9232006

Join Date: 12/03/11

Posts: 4

RE: Is a mother ever justified in leaving her children?

I agree with what Julie Ann and shelbyl wrote. When I became a mother I felt ashamed of myself for all the negative thoughts I had previously had about other mothers; you really can't truly understand someone's actions until you've walk in their shoes. I think it's really important for women that suffer from metal illness to seek treatment. Sometimes that means taking time away from your family to better yourself but unless you are severely ill you have a responsibility to your children to take care of them.


Posted Mar. 15, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
dianec

Join Date: 03/15/12

Posts: 13

RE: Is a mother ever justified in leaving her children?

My mother's heart says no, but sometimes a woman's bad behavior inflicts so much pain upon her children. Certainly no mother is perfect. And a child longs for the loving care of their mother no matter how negligent or abusive the mother might be. Judy's life did improve in several important ways after Cassie left and Judy was under the care of her father and grandmother. As Cassie was moving from one perilous situation to another, she seemed to really believe that Judy would continue to love her unconditionally. I think it's a tragedy that Judy's mother so poorly nurtured her child, but I'm not convinced that Judy would have been better off with Cassie.


Posted Mar. 20, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
gwendolyndawson

Join Date: 10/20/10

Posts: 63

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RE: Is a mother ever justified in leaving her children?

No. A mother is never justified in leaving her children but sometimes she must leave her children because she is abusive, mentally ill, or otherwise unable to be a mother. That doesn't make the abandonment justified, in my view. It just makes it necessary, and it's very, very sad when it happens.


Posted Mar. 21, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
melissak

Join Date: 10/30/11

Posts: 2

RE: Is a mother ever justified in leaving her children?

Very Rarely. I believe the only time a mother is justified in leaving her child is when she is completely unable to care for the child and it is done selflessly. Cassie, however left Judy selfishly. She left her only because she put her own "wants" ahead of her child. I'm not sure I can even think of a scenario where it is justified, but I know there are situations where children would be better off being raised by people other than their biological parents. Perhaps situations where the parent is in a situation of extreme poverty, or as mentioned above ie. substance abuse or mental illness.


Posted Mar. 22, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
pennyp

Join Date: 03/22/12

Posts: 117

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RE: Is a mother ever justified in leaving her children?

I think for the most part, a mother is not justified in leaving her children, but in rare instances, it may be best for the child. When a mother is mentally ill or chemically dependent, the child suffers and often does not receive the love, direction and care necessary to grow. Also, if a mother is too young and does not have proper support, it may be in the best interest of the child.


Posted Apr. 03, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Suzanne

Join Date: 04/21/11

Posts: 117

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RE: Is a mother ever justified in leaving her children?

Birthing a child doesn't mean there always is an inborn natural instinct to being a mother. For years I was so judgmental of a relative who left her 5 children but after that many births I guess she knew what was best. her choice was hard on the 2 oldest children, but the other 3 hadn't had the time with her to reflect the absence. She would have never changed--just too set in her ways for too many years.


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