She woke up, beautiful little eyes, a face full of wonder yet somehow vacant and sad at the same time. I smiled and held her tiny hand, she didn't respond, we whispered 'hello', stroked her hand and made funny faces, still no smile, no cry, no nothing.....I went up to the children's ward with my colleague the other day to prepare a little girl for her scan. She was a 3 month old baby, been beaten physically resulting in multiple fractures at different stages, including a skull fracture...yes, 3 months old!
We whispered to each other as she slept, trying to quietly unravel her bandage to inject the radioactive substance before her scan, she felt us there and woke up. Dummy ready in my hand, I expected her to cry, as most children do after seeing two strange people looking over her in her cot fiddling about with something alien attached to her little hand but no, she didn't cry or look scared. She just kept looking at me, like she could see straight into me, pleading for my help, and I looked at her, her eyes telling a million tales, her fluttering heart full of pain. She didn't cry because she's cried so much and learnt that it doesn't change anything, which in itself is heartbreaking.
We finished the injection as I played with her, it was like she wanted to smile but she didn't know how, for that brief moment she was just a baby not a victim, lifting her arms up and trying to reach for my hand as I hovered the soft toy elephant above her head.
I looked around and all the other children had worried parents by their bedside, or were curled up in their mothers arms as they comforted them, but this little girl had no one, no one to play with her, talk to her or just unconditionally love her like the other children, her parents were kept away as they were the perpetrators in this case, and rightly so because God knows how much I wanted to hurt them for hurting her (obviously I wouldn't).
I picked her up and moved her up the cot, she was feather light, so delicate and fragile. My colleague washed his hands and came back, it was time to say goodbye, but I wanted to stay, I wanted to take her home. I just can't shake the feeling of someone had hurt my child, I guess it's that maternal thing inside us all, to want to care for and protect all children regardless of if we know them or not.
We said goodbye and waved as she turned her head to see us leave, I looked back, she kept looking around to see where we had gone, and there she was, in her cot, alone again. I felt like someone clenched my heart in their hand, choking up and fighting back tears, I asked my colleague 'how any human being could want to hurt such an innocent, beautiful little baby, let alone her own parents?'
Why did Allah let these evil people have her if they were going to hurt her like this, when there are tonnes of couples who would do anything to have a child? I know, Allah knows and I know not and Allah knows better, thoughts of why she had to suffer so much in her short 3 months of life and how unfair it is, keep going over and over in my head.
I've told this story to my mum, my friends... in fact every person I have met since I saw her because I just get her out of my head. I've been doing this for 4 years now including when I was a student and I thought I had trained myself to feel sympathy and empathy but not feel emotionally attached to people or their stories because if I felt like this about every patient, I think I'd have a mental breakdown.
I honestly don't know what to do, I'm just hoping time will get it out of my system. I mean she's one of the lucky ones, we caught her before she fell through the net, there are many others that are either rescued too late or not at all like Baby P, Victoria Cilimbie and the others unknown, there are thousands of children who die every minute from poverty, war and are victims of abuse. But in this baby's eyes I saw each and every one of them, the pain, the sadness, the vacancy. In her story I saw the unfair suffering of every innocent child out there.
I know by writing this I'm going to sound like some crazy emotional wreck, but seriously, this little girl has effected me in a way that I will never forget. That is why with tears in my eyes and a heavy heart I am writing this at 1 in the morning in the hope that writing it out and sharing my thoughts and feelings will help me deal with whatever this is I'm going through.
Please spare a du'a for this little girl.