Would you ever nurse someone else’s baby? What if the life of that child rested on your decision? Maria Kristensen, a 25-year-old mom-to-be from Denmark was faced with this decision recently when she, her husband and three-year-old son Lucas were on their way to the airport in Turkey.
When Maria and her family set out that day, they probably had very few thoughts on their minds other than returning to their Denmark home safely. But as their taxi cab drove down the street, something stood out that they just couldn’t ignore.
“We sat in a taxi when we looked out on something [to the] right,” Maria said. “There was a pink little bundle up in a bag right outside of the road where the sun only shone down. She lay and baked.”
The family asked the cab driver to turn around so they could investigate the bundle further.
“We were very nervous to go out of the car,” Maria recalled. “Was the life of the child? It was over 40 degrees [Celsius], and the bundle lying in the sun.”
Yet despite their fear, the couple approached the little bundle lying in the street. When they reached it, they found a very small newborn girl. Her head was still bloody and the umbilical cord looked as though it had just recently been cut. Maria, a social worker by profession, believes that the little girl had to be only about a day old.
“The mother had packed her into pink clothes and put a blanket around her,” Maria said. “She was really hot, so I hurried to get her in the car and asked the driver to [turn] on the air conditioner. But there was no life in her.”
Maria’s husband Kent brought some cold water and tried to cool the baby down that way, but she still wasn’t responding. Suddenly, Maria had an idea. At 31 weeks pregnant, she was already lactating. After asking the cab driver if she could nurse the infant (due to cultural rules against nursing in public), Maria attempted to nurse the little girl.
“It took a while, but after a while, the little girl began to drink,” Maria said. “After she got into the industry, she revived. There was life in her eyes. She looked around and we thought ‘in the world.’ She was still bloody, and paper [was] on the umbilical cord. It’s probably a mother who has been powerless and did their best.”
For some, the idea of nursing someone else’s child may seem strange, but Maria says it felt completely natural to her. What was difficult for her was when the little girl had to be taken into child protective custody.
“In fact, I took it pretty well until I had to give her away,” Maria said. “It did not feel good at all to give her away. She woke up and looked the more [in] my eyes, and now I have gray ago.”
The little girl will be adopted out and has been named Ceren. Maria has been able to talk to the authorities about little Ceren’s progress and has been told that she can come by and visit at any time.
At first, it may not have occurred to Maria that she saved the little girl’s life. But now home in Denmark, she’s started to realize just how vital her ability to nurse may have been in keeping Ceren alive.
We often forget just how our decisions can impact the life around us. I’m completely amazed at how quickly and lovingly Maria reacted towards a child that needed her, despite the fact that the child had been born to another woman from another country. Hopefully, this little girl finds a permanent home that can give her just that kind of love – thoughtful, instinctive and loving beyond condition.