“There Will Be No Help…”:
Newborn Abandonment and Baby Hatching
Cand. Sci. (Sociol.), Acting Head of the Department of youth sociology and youth policy, Saint Petersburg State University. Saint Petersburg, Russia. firstname.lastname@example.org
Cand. Sci (Psychol.), Assoc. Prof., Saint-Petersburg State University, Saint-Petersburg, Russia email@example.com
Cand. Sci. (Sociol.), Assoc. Prof., Saint Petersburg State University, Saint Petersburg, Russia. firstname.lastname@example.org
Cand. Sci. (Sociol.), Assoc. Prof., Saint Petersburg State University, Saint Petersburg, Russia. email@example.com
The study was funded by RFBR, research project No. 19-011-00543
The article summarizes attitudes regarding abandonment of newborn children and baby hatches (or baby boxes). We have interviewed 2,000 respondents in 8 federal districts of the Russian Federation, conducted 27 expert interviews and 15 focus groups (N = 142) with managers, specialists, and parents. The share of baby box supporters makes 67.2% with the opponents’ share reaching 22.5%. We point out that the opinions of the community in general, the experts, and the parents on the reasons for newborn abandonment mostly coincide. We have concluded that a set of social and economic, psychological, as well as objective and subjective reasons lead to newborn abandonment. Various stereotypes about deviant and asocial behavior of abandoning mothers as well as stereotypes about their social alienation result in a simplified understanding of the issue. We insist that pregnant women in critical circumstances require comprehensive assistance on the part of the state and society which can work as preventive measures. We conclude that a comprehensive state response to the crisis symptoms is needed at all stages of parenting that should take into account the goal of humanization measures intended to support mothers and children.
Antonov A.I. (1998) Microsociology of the Family (Methodology for Structure and Process Study): Textbook. Moscow: Nota Bene. (In Russ.)
Arkhangelsky V.N., Zinkina Yu.V., Korotayev A.V., Shulgin S.G. (2017) Modern Fertility Trends in Russia and the Impact of the Pro-natalist Policies. Sotsiologicheskiye issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. No. 3: 43–50. (In Russ.)
Beiaeva M.A. (2012) Deviant Parenthood in the Context of the Modern Family Reproductive Culture. Znanie. Ponimanie. Umenie [Knowledge. Understanding. Skill]. No. 3: 207–212. (In Russ.)
Betskoy I.I. (2011) Establishment of the Imperial Orphanage for Abandoned Children and a Hospital for Poor Mothers in Childbirth in the Capital City of Moscow: in 3 parts. Part 2. Moscow: Book on Demand. (In Russ.)
Bezrukova O.N. (2011) Resources and Support Networks of Responsible Parenthood in Young Families. St. Petersburg University Press. (In Russ.)
Bezrukova O.N., Samoylova V.A. (2019) Guidance for Foster Families or How to Decrease Risks of Secondary Abandonement. Sotsiologicheskiye issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. No. 1: 85–95. DOI: 10.31857/S013216250003750-8. (In Russ.)
Bronfenbrenner U. (1979) The Ecology of Human Development: Experiments by Nature and Design. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Fenton-Glynn C. (2014) Anonymous Relinquishment and Baby-Boxes: Life-Saving Mechanisms or a Violation of Human Rights? In: Boele-Woelki K., Dethloff N., Gephart W. (eds) Family Law and Culture in Europe: Developments, Challenges and Opportunities. Cambridge, UK: Intersentia, 2014: 185–198.
Filippova G.G. (2002) Psychology of Motherhood. Moscow: Izd-vo Instituta Psikhoterapii. (In Russ.)
Friedman S.H., Resnick P.J. (2009) Neonaticide: Phenomenology and considerations for prevention. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry. Vol. 32. No. 1: 43–47. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijlp.2008.11.006.
Grylli С., Brockington I., Fiala С., Huscsava M., Waldhoer T., Klier C.M. (2016) Anonymous Birth Law Saves Babies – Optimization, Sustainability and Public Awareness. Archives of Women's Mental Health. Vol. 19. No. 2: 291–297. DOI: 10.1007/s00737-015-0567-3.
Isupova O.G. (2002) Newborn Abused and Woman’s Reproductive Rights. Sotsiologicheskiye issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. No. 11: 92–99. (In Russ.)
Kharchev A.G. (1968) Life and Family in a Socialist Society. Leningrad: O-vo “Znanie”. (In Russ.)
Kostenko M.A. (2014) Social Determinants of Leaving Children after their Birth: A Case Study. Mir nauki, kultury, obrazovaniya [The World of Science, Culture and Education]. No. 3(46): 313–315. (In Russ.)
Orliss M., Rogers K., Rao S., Deavenport-Saman A., Imagawa K.K., Roberts S., Rafeedie J., Hudson S.M. (2019) Safely Surrendered Infants in Los Angeles County: A Medically Vulnerable Population. Child Care Health Dev. Vol. 45. No. 6: 861–866. DOI: 10.1111/cch.12711.
Puchkina Yu.A. (2009) Social Orphanhood and Early Child-Abandonment Prevention. Vestnik Tomskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Filosofiya. Sotsiologiya. Politologiya [Tomsk State University Journal of Philosophy, Sociology and Political Science]. No. 1(5): 43–52. (In Russ.)
Ustinova N.V. (2013) International Experience in the Prevention of Cruelty to Newborn babies. Rossiyskiy pediatricheskiy zhurnal [Russian Pediatric Journal]. No. 1: 55–60. (In Russ.)
Zhivodrova N.A., Bezrukov A.V., Abramova E.A. (2018) Problems of Qualification of Murder by Mother of the Newborn Baby and Possible Solutions. Nauka. Obshchestvo. Gosudarstvo [Science. Society. State]. Vol. 6. No.1: 53–59. (In Russ.)