Baby snatchers may use infants to experience a ‘vicarious birthing’

2014-07-18 00:00

WOMEN who abduct babies may be using them to maintain or save their relationships with their partners.

This is according to psychologist Ishara Maharaj, who was speaking following two cases of baby snatching at the Pietermaritzburg Department of Home Affairs recently.

On Wednesday, seven-month-old Fanele Asemahle Dlamini was reunited with her mother, Phumzile, after she was abducted last week. A month earlier, baby Olwethu Madlala was found after she had been missing for three months.

Maharaj said, “Research has shown that women who abduct infants sometimes wish to ‘replace’ an infant she has lost … or experience a ‘vicarious birthing’ of an infant she is for some reason unable to conceive or carry to term.”

The infant may be used in an attempt to maintain or save a relationship with her partner or significant other. “The abducted infant is perceived by the offender as ‘her newborn baby’.” She said while many of these woman appear normal, they tend to be compulsive, suffer from low self-esteem, and may rely on manipulation to maintain their relationships.

When the baby has been found, Maharaj said a comprehensive physical and mental health examination of the child should be arranged to “determine any immediate physical or emotional needs of the child, and help ensure those needs are met”.

She said all appropriate agencies should be involved.

“Notify the child’s parents or guardians of the recovery and request they bring only immediate family members to a designated private location for the reunion,” she said.

Maharaj said parents or guardians must be briefed about the child’s condition and should bring along a change of clothing for the child and any familiar or favourite items.

She said a mental health professional must be assigned to the child and family as soon as possible.

All eyes on baby Olwethu

Meanwhile, Olwethu Madlala’s mother, Nonhlanhla said she now watches her “like a hawk”. “I don’t even leave her with my relatives. I take her everywhere I go after the last incident,” she said.

She said she had taken Olwethu for immunisations she had missed when she was missing, and that Olwethu was doing well.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.