“There will Be No Help…”: Newborn Abandonment and Baby Hatching

Publication type Article
Status Published
Occupation: Assoc. Prof.
Affiliation: Saint Petersburg State University
Address: Russian Federation, Saint Petersburg
Occupation: Assoc. Prof.
Affiliation: Saint Petersburg State University
Address: Russian Federation, Saint Petersburg
Occupation: Assoc. Prof.
Affiliation: Saint Petersburg State University
Address: Russian Federation, Saint Petersburg
Occupation: Assoc. Prof.
Affiliation: Saint Petersburg State University
Address: Russian Federation, Saint Petersburg
Journal nameSotsiologicheskie issledovaniya
EditionIssue 5

The article summarizes attitudes regarding abandonment of newborn children and baby hatches (or baby boxes). We have interviewed 2,000 respondents in 8 federal districts of the Russian Federation, conducted 27 expert interviews and 15 focus groups (N=142) with managers, specialists, and parents. The share of baby box supporters makes 67.2% with the opponents’ share reaching 22.5%. We point out that the opinions of the community in general, the experts, and the parents on the reasons for newborn abandonment mostly coincide. We have concluded that a set of social and economic, psychological, as well as objective and subjective reasons lead to newborn abandonment. Various stereotypes about deviant and asocial behavior of abandoning mothers as well as  stereotypes about their social alienation result in a simplified understanding of the issue. We insist that pregnant women in critical conditions require comprehensive assistance on the part of the state and society which can work as preventive measures. We conclude that a comprehensive state response to the crisis symptoms is needed at all stages of parenting that should take into account the goal of humanization measures intended to support mothers and children.

Keywordsmotherhood, pregnant women, newborn infant abandonment, infanticide, child abuse, baby box, social orphanhood
AcknowledgmentThe study was funded by RFBR, research project No. 19-011-00543.
Publication date28.06.2021
Number of characters29695
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