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Mother and Baby Reunited in Spain

Mother and Baby Reunited in Spain

Two weeks ago, Care2 reported that Spanish social services had taken a baby away because her mother refused to wean. The mother, known as Habiba, had moved into a women’s shelter in Madrid with her 15 month old daughter, known as Alma. On May 31, Habiba’s daughter was taken away from her because she refused to forcibly wean her baby. Habiba was also criticized for cosleeping with her baby instead of putting her in a cot. On June 22, they were finally reunited after a social services committee overturned the earlier removal.

Louma Sader Bujana, one of the bloggers who translated materials into English and helped to bring international coverage to the story, wrote about the reunification on her blog Amor Maternal. She translated and shared an official update from Fundacion Raices, an organization that had been supporting Habiba:

They’re TOGETHER; HUGGING AND FREE!!! Little Alma recuperates emotionally with her head on her mothers chest, without taking her head off for so much as an instant, as though this whole ordeal had been a bad dream. Habiba is glowing as we had never seen her before. We assure you that everything you’ve done has been worth it. Alma, Habiba as well as all the people at Fundacion Raices will be forever grateful for all your support.

Habiba & Alma Reunited

Habiba and Alma, who wish to remain anonymous, seen reunited here (photo credit: Dr. Ibone Olza)

The Guardian spoke to Habiba’s lawyer about the reunification. He said: “It was an amazing re-encounter between mother and child. The child wouldn’t leave her mother alone and you could see both of them slowly being transformed by the encounter. It was moving and very beautiful.” Her lawyer also criticized Spain’s system of child removal as backwards, telling the Guardian:

In other countries you must go to a judge before you remove a child. Here it is the other way around, with authorities acting first and the mother having to appeal to get the child back.

While Habiba and Alma are back together, there is also recognition that other mothers and children continue to suffer from this type of treatment. When Habiba’s case was publicized, other women came forward with stories of being forced to wean under threat of their children being taken away. As a result of this case, a group called A.L.M.A. (All Loving Mothers Association) has been formed to “protect families rights to breastfeed, cosleep, birth at home, educate at home and be together”. The facebook page for A.L.M.A. notes that:

It is clear that certain parenting practices, that also happen to be very healthy, like breastfeeding and cosleeping are criminalized by social services, and even by some extent, by society at large. We have proven that we can fight back, and win. This page is a platform of activism to protect the rights of families.

For Habiba and Alma, the nightmare is over. For other families and children, the battle continues.

Related stories:

Madrid: 15 Month Old Removed from Mother Because She Refused to Wean

Are breastfeeding bans just a way to keep women in the home?

Mom Loses Custody of Kids for Having Breast Cancer

Image credit: Louma Sader Bujana

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11:54AM PDT on Jul 11, 2011

Great News....... good luck to both, mother and child!

1:13PM PDT on Jul 2, 2011

This is great news.

9:19PM PDT on Jun 29, 2011

thanks for the good news.

5:22PM PDT on Jun 29, 2011

Wow. Unthinkable. Glad they are reunited! Thanks for the story.

6:57AM PDT on Jun 29, 2011

Lets hope the lecon by...everyone has been learned!

4:35AM PDT on Jun 29, 2011

Spain did this??? Spain??? Wow...

3:42AM PDT on Jun 29, 2011

This is the first I heard about this story. I am very glad to hear that they are back together, but saddened that someone could do that to a mother and child. I nursed both my children until they were about 2 and a half, and it was perfectly natural and right to do so. Every mother and child should be allowed to do so, as long as it has not been proven to affect the child negatively.

1:35AM PDT on Jun 29, 2011

Spain instituted the inquisition once and it seems it has a taste for the same perversion. idiotic laws all over the world need to be adressed and rectified. i am glad they are untied once more. but they shouldn't have had to be seperated in the first place. the mark it might have left on the child may leave a permanent scar for life.

12:55AM PDT on Jun 29, 2011

Excellent news that both are together

10:12PM PDT on Jun 28, 2011

Very good to hear this news.

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