While they are preparing to give life to a new human being, women are more at risk of being murdered than any other time in their life. This fact, validated by numerous studies, (and my Google search that led me to pages of news stories on incidences) floored me when I heard it. My husband and I were nervous when we were pregnant with our first daughter and felt all of those normal stresses we all feel – but the thought that he or someone else might hurt me never entered my mind.
I wonder if Kimberly Richardson thought she was at risk. The young mom-to-be was killed last week in a Raleigh parking lot, allegedly by her boyfriend and the baby’s father. In spite of a mortal gun shot wound, Richardson managed to use her last bit of strength to call 9-1-1 and get help for the baby. That baby girl – born at 26 weeks – is now recovering in the hospital, under the care of family members.
I find this story heart breaking. I never felt more alive than when I was pregnant. I relished in feeling my daughters kick and get crazy cases of hiccups, and I couldn’t wait to hold them. I am so sad to know that she’ll never know that feeling. Beyond sad, I’m angry. What does it say about our society that individuals are willing to kill someone without pausing to think about the consequences?
Part of the problem points to the prevalence of domestic violence. That’s why some medical offices and hospitals have a policy to examine women without their partner present, to give them a chance to share honestly about their life at home.
I sometimes wonder if part of it is also the daunting demands of parenthood. Don’t get me wrong, murdering anyone, let alone someone who is with child is never justified, but being a parent is hard. It was hard enough for us and we were financially prepared, I can’t imagine if you’re not sure how you’re going to afford to support the child you’re expecting.
And then there are cases, as in the one recently in Colorado, where people cut a baby out of a woman’s womb in order to steal the child. It’s all heinous and scary that we as a society value life so little that individuals are doing this.
So what’s my point? We need to value life. Take a second glance at that pregnant mom you see at the grocery store. Support the young parents you know. Pay attention if a friend seems to have mental health issues that would even lead them to something so permanent and drastic. We subscribe too much to the belief that “good fences make good neighbors” and that really asking how someone is might be perceived as nosy. Sometimes, let’s be honest, when we ask how someone is doing, do we really want to know? We should. Kimberly Richardson isn’t here to hold her baby, but we can collectively take actions to be sure her death wasn’t in vain.