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Infertile People Want to Steal Your Baby

In case you weren’t aware, as a blood-thirsty, vampire-like infertile woman, you want to steal another person’s baby.  Some people instinctively know this, so they joke at parties about how they’d like to give their shrieking infant to you (“You want a child?  Take this one!”).  They cock their head to the side and they tell you earnestly that they really really wish this baby growing in their belly was yours because it’s “your turn.”

But others do not know this, and this is why articles like this need to be written; to tell Americans that desperate women want to steal their baby.

With a box-cutter c-section.

But wait!  Though earlier coverage of this story gave vague facts such as the attacker, Veronica Deramous, wanted to “adopt her baby” and that “Deramous had been telling people she was pregnant though she wasn’t and her reason for attacking Adams was likely to keep the baby for her own” at no point do reporters use the term infertile.  In fact, at this point, we know nothing about Deramous’s reasons for wanting this particular baby nor do we hear anything more than conjecture in the second part of Mundy’s article since she states that the motive is still a big question.

Yet why do the detectives, “say they think that Deramous, 40, is no longer able to have children, for reasons other than age.”  On what grounds do they imply infertility?

This word possibly becomes assumed because this story meshes with a long string of fictional infertile and baby loss attackers to perpetuate the idea that baby lust can be felt so strongly that it would make an otherwise sane woman tie up a pregnant woman for days and attempt to cut the baby out of her womb.

If it’s not a full length feature film such as Waterland, it’s a mainstream television show such as Private Practice.  I’m sure there are others, but I’m too busy plotting how to steal a baby to come up with another.

Meanwhile, news coverage sensationalizes the story, pointing out that “if you’re fixated on having a baby, and then you see a tv show or you hear about another example of a woman going and trying to get a baby out of a womb, all of a sudden, that plays into your own delusional system and it becomes an idea that you’re going to act on.”

Hear that infertile, baby-fixated women?  You just heard this story and now you’re going to go act on it.  Pregnant women beware!

I say this tongue-in-cheek because of the ridiculous nature of this belief.  It begins with this thought that infertile women want a baby, therefore, they must want any baby.  Hence why those outside the situation often feel it their place to offer advice on how to reach parenthood counter to the feelings of the people actually experiencing infertility.  Those attempting treatments are told to “just adopt” and those adopting are questioned as to whether they really gave treatments a chance.

Just as those who conceive without assistance make decisions about family building from when to start trying to how many children to have, those who do need assistance simply have an extra layer of decisions to make such as which family building path to use.  But just as it would be annoying for those outside the person or couple to weigh in with their opinions on what month is the best month for a delivery, those who are using assisted conception or adoption to build their family often feel annoyed when people make suggestions without weighing the multitude of factors that go into choosing a path.

The “any baby” belief snowballs into “if they want any baby, then they could even want my baby” with the mistaken notion that the longing for parenthood can become strong enough to turn an otherwise sane person into a baby stealing nightmare.

But Veronica Deramous was anything but sane.  She was a woman with four children (one of whom assisted her in keeping Teka Adams hostage), a jail record, and a history of deception.  She committed forgery and identity theft, ran up debt under other people’s names.  She lied about being pregnant when she wasn’t.

Liza Mundy’s article feels a bit like watching a horror film.  With so many actual scary possibilities in the world, what good can come of watching Freddie Kruger pick off teenagers?  And what is the purpose of placing the reader in the horrifically graphic story, especially one that is backed up by this fact in the second part of the article:

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children documented 13 U.S. cases of successful removal of a fetus by an abductor from 1987 through last July.

13 cases in 23 years!  This is hardly a situation that demands greater understanding.  Until we are going to fill the newspaper with the more common moment-by-moment break down of a rape (“89,000 women reported being raped in 2008“), something it would behoove the general public to think about a bit more, I’m not sure why we are focusing on the outlandish crimes that while are personally horrific to those involved in those 13 cases, hardly effect the greater population.  You have a greater chance of losing your child while doing nothing (stillbirth rate: 1 out of 160 deliveries) than you do being one of the people who has your child forcefully removed from your body.

Yet still, the message continues with the profile of this sort of attacker according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.  I’ll give you three guesses as to the main criteria…

According to the center’s profile of a typical abductor, the woman may have children of her own but may be no longer able to bear children.

And it all returns to those blood-thirsty, vampire-like infertile women who will do anything to grab a child, any child.

Cross-posted with BlogHer (so check out the comments there too).


1 Heather { 06.16.10 at 8:54 am }

Dammit Mel! As Leader of the Baby-Stealers (LOBS), I had expected you to keep your mouth shut about our plan.

Now we have to regroup…

Maybe this time we can get better costumes.

(well done friend. Well done)

2 LJ { 06.16.10 at 9:16 am }

Anything to sell ad space. *shaking head* That’s really such sensationalist crap, and I’m glad you called them out on it.

3 Heather { 06.16.10 at 9:35 am }

I think they would focus on these stories instead of rape because of the sensationalism of it all. I thought the story said she had children…so I’m confused as to why she wanted another? Because she wanted a “baby” and hers were older? Will you post when the rest of the story is up?

4 Kymberli { 06.16.10 at 9:59 am }

I think the people writing about this with such ridiculous gusto are the same ones who go after the odd duck horrible surrogacy story and splash it in the news like it’s the norm.

5 loribeth { 06.16.10 at 10:00 am }

Every time I hear one of these stories, I want to scream, because it just adds to stereotype of desperate, crazy bereaved/infertile women — even though the vast, vast majority of us would never dream of doing such a thing. This woman/women who do this clearly have some serious mental health problems on top of whatever infertility or grief issues they may or may not have.

At the same time, I think it’s a sad reflection on today’s culture — pronatalism taken to an extreme degree. How many of us are made to feel invisible or “less than” because we don’t have a baby? And of course there all the baby bump headlines & photos screaming at us from the newsstands, rubbing it in our faces.

6 Chickenpig { 06.16.10 at 10:16 am }

Oh my. I have 3 children conceived through IVF, but I won’t be able to have any more (most likely). My neighbor is now 13 weeks pregnant. I hope I can contain my baby lust and keep myself from walking across the street come November…

7 HereWeGoAJen { 06.16.10 at 10:30 am }

I’ve been accused of this! When Barb got pregnant with E, one of her friends told her that I was going to steal her baby. Now that I’ve been outed, I plan to wait until he’s sleeping through the night, THEN I’ll steal him.

8 a { 06.16.10 at 11:03 am }

I’m beginning to think that the crazy people outnumber the sane in this country. I’m not even talking about the women in this story (because, make no mistake, I think a recently recovering drug addict living in a homeless shelter is more than a little crazy for contemplating motherhood); I’m talking about the journalists. I’m becoming convinced that journalists are really sociopaths who find emotional fulfillment in getting people stirred up about small things while ignoring larger issues.

But this does present a solution to my dilemma…we’re selling all of my girl’s baby stuff at a garage sale this weekend. So, I told her she could buy something with some of the money from the sale. She said “Can I get a baby?” I said “Sure. What kind of doll were you thinking of?” She said, “No, I mean a REAL baby.” Now I know how to get one…I just have to figure out where.

9 A { 06.16.10 at 11:46 am }

I actually got banned from a message board because I made a joke about baby stealing. A chick was freaking out about hiring a nanny/babysitter who was infertile because she was afraid they were going to steal her baby.
I said something along the lines that we infertiles have meetings to discuss our favorite baby hunting grounds and was promptly banned for it.

10 Ellen K. { 06.16.10 at 12:25 pm }

Good post. I watched a Discovery Health (or similar) program on “baby snatchers” that strongly refuted the notion that infertile women commit the majority of these crimes or fake pregnancies — the FBI profile is usually a woman whose motivation is getting or keeping attention, not desperation, and she has a history of deceitful behavior and theft. Faked online profiles and personalities are standard. Generally she has an untreated personality disorder with pathological grandiosity and sense of entitlement. But that doesn’t stop the stereotyping. When there were 2 (nearly back-to-back) newborn abductions in my state a few years ago, somehow I took it personally, fearing that someone might think I could or would do this.

When we were preparing to bring I & N home from the hospital, the discharge nurse warned me to keep a low profile, saying that female twins who don’t look alike were an ideal target for baby-stealing: female infants are preferred, mom is more easily distracted, exaggerated sense of entitlement means that the kidnapper may think that the mom doesn’t deserve two babies or can spare one, and one baby probably looks more like the kidnapper. Not sure how true it is, but it does make some sense.

11 S { 06.16.10 at 12:55 pm }

I hate it when the media makes broad generalizations based on the actions of one crazy person.

I, for one, do not want A baby. I want MY baby. So while I might envy a pregnant woman, stealing her baby, either before or after its birth, would not serve any useful purpose for me.

Plus, I’m not a crazy person. 😉

12 Kir { 06.16.10 at 1:04 pm }

I’m going to agree with the PPs and say that our country and our media has officially gone CRAZY.
We get one week to talk about Infertility, and lot of media outlets don’t even bother, and then a journalist gets a 2 part series that I am sure someone somewhere is patting her on the back about this crap. SERIOUSLY?

I can’t even dignify this with a proper answer because I’m frustrated and disgusted at how they can take a twisted mind and twist the whole story.

I’m glad I conceived before I learned how to c-section with a box cutter. (Dear GOD!)

13 Nelly { 06.16.10 at 1:33 pm }

“I actually got banned from a message board because I made a joke about baby stealing. A chick was freaking out about hiring a nanny/babysitter who was infertile because she was afraid they were going to steal her baby.
I said something along the lines that we infertiles have meetings to discuss our favorite baby hunting grounds and was promptly banned for it.

I never ever thought that people might think of me this way after my m/c…..

14 Lisa { 06.16.10 at 1:36 pm }

If I’m going to steal a baby, I want to know it turned out cute first.

15 Kristin { 06.16.10 at 1:40 pm }

Grrrr, they sensationalize anything. Great post Mel.

16 loribeth { 06.16.10 at 1:40 pm }

The reporter, Liza Mundy, wrote a pretty good book awhile back about assisted reproduction, called “Everything Conceivable.” You would think she would know better. 🙁

17 SS { 06.16.10 at 2:13 pm }

You forget Raising Arizona. Though that si one of my favorites.

18 SS { 06.16.10 at 2:46 pm }

Also my read of this, I didn’t get a tie of abductors to infertility at all. I mean Teka’s abductor was clearly crazy, but she had 4 chidren so infertility did not come to mind. I read it more like maybe she had her tubes tied or something? I just didn’t feel like there was any real attempt to suggest that infertile women steal babies .

19 Tara { 06.16.10 at 3:00 pm }

Very good post! I had no idea I was suffering from baby lust & in danger of stealing some woman’s baby! I better warn my pregnant friend at work to watch out for me…

20 IF Crossroads { 06.16.10 at 3:26 pm }

Ugh. Just ugh. ’nuff said.

21 Mina { 06.16.10 at 3:45 pm }

Oh, Goooood! People like this woman give journalism a bad, bad name! I am so sad to see the tabloidization of almost all newspapers, even the ‘serious’ ones. Sad, very sad.

As if we are not living times that are neurotic enough, ‘journalists’ have to fill empty heads (have you noticed how MANY of them are around you?!) with silly stories like this. I am not denying that poor pregnant woman’s ordeal, I am saying that this story is over-dramatized in order to suit the narrow, material purposes of some newspapermen. And I have this feeling that the journalist wanted so much to make me cry, to the point that she almost pulls tears out of my eyes with a fork. One thing I do not fancy is having a fork near my eyes, thankyouverymuch. This is why I did not read the entire story. I lost interest quite early on.

The saddest part of it all is that the simple readers will have another prejudice embedded in the layers of their minds (prejudices and layers already moulded in by the media, let’s face it): the fact that infertiles are psychos who would resort to theft and murder to have a baby. And it is not a matter of ‘if you don’t like it, don’t read it’, it is dangerous because people are attracted by the ‘exotic, sensational’ selling of this story and most of the times they do not stop to think for themselves, no, they just appropriate the writer’s opinion. It is not enough that infertility is hard enough, it’s not enough that there are a ton of clichés that are served to infertiles like salt on the wounds, noooo, let’s attach more stigma to the poor, tormented souls, because hey, they can take it. Rapes, murders, hit-and-runs, young girls becoming anorexic because the fashion moguls are promoting unrealistic nubile prototypes in their glossies, the Gulf of Mexico nightmare, the financial crisis, all this is passé. Let’s focus instead on the story of the crazy pregnant belly cutter! And if we mention enough times that she had bootleg dvds, our point couldn’t be more clear, right? Bah…

22 Jonelle { 06.16.10 at 3:52 pm }

Hmm that must be why I haven’t been invited to baby showers in a while. They are afraid their infertile friend suffering from BabyLust will steal their baby with a box cutter. But I agree with Lisa, before I steal a baby I want to make sure its cute first. Nothing says botched job like stealing an ugly baby.

Raising Arizona is a classic!

23 Gail K. { 06.16.10 at 4:00 pm }

I truly can’t imagine the anguish that Teka went through and is still going through. I don’t care if she was a recovering drug addict that was living in a shelter, as someone so glibly posted above. NO ONE DESERVES TO BE TREATED LIKE THIS! And, her life choices don’t mean she was crazy or that she deserves to be a mother any less than anyone else.
I hope the woman and her son who participated in the abduction and attack are given the death penalty. He was an accomplice and should be tried as an adult since he was 17 at the time and should have known better than to help tie up and hold hostage anyone, much less a pregnant woman. If he had helped her escape, that would be one thing, but he ignored the whole thing which makes him just as guilty.
I agree with the other posters that the woman who did this can not blame this on infertility since she already has 4 children and infertiles are not crazy baby-snatchers. This woman is just plain bat-s#!t crazy!! But, I don’t think she is insane as she is trying to plead not guilty by reason of insanity. She planned this whole thing out and then carried it out, which an insane person wouldn’t be able to do. Like I said, I hope she gets the death penalty and, if not, I hope she never gets to see her own children again nor be allowed within 100 feet of any other children.

24 SS { 06.16.10 at 4:47 pm }

Mina, pelase explain to me how anyone reads that story and takes away “infertile women steal babies”. I just don’t get that. I take away- that woman is a monster. She was clearly insane and there was no attempt by that journalist to tie her infertility (and the word WAS NEVER used, which is good because it wouldn’t make since consiering the women ahs 4 kids!) to the abduction. I don’t really get the connection being made. Just me. A horrifying story- there was another one that happened out west where a woman used baby stuff on craigstlist to lure her victim. Sad, so sad.

25 AnxiousMummy { 06.16.10 at 7:46 pm }

Hey Mel, thanks for writing this and showing those who subscribe to this prejudice just how crazy *they* are.

26 Michelle { 06.16.10 at 8:34 pm }

OK OK all I am really no pregnant…Crap! Now I am going to have to come up with a new plan! I have been plotting since I saw Private Practice and was just about to “put it all into place” and now I have to start all over.

People crack me up with their stupidity and sensationalism. It is never ending! I guess next we will be saying those paralized are plotting to steal peoples legs? seriously?! People get e new hobby.

27 S.I.F. { 06.17.10 at 2:42 am }

I don’t know what you’re talking about Mel. I totally steal babies in my free time. I have a pretty decent stock of them now hidden away in my closet.

28 Busted Kate { 06.17.10 at 5:42 pm }

Did you see our twitter conversation the other day? A group of us Infertiles were planning our baby-snatching plan, complete with look-outs, getaway cars, and baby-sized mustaches and wigs to disguise the children. We made the hashtag #babystealingteam, lol. So… I don’t know… maybe people do need to watch out!

29 Bea { 06.19.10 at 12:54 am }

I’m another who’s always seen baby-stealers as totally separate to infertile women. So I guess I didn’t see this as in any way applying to my situation, except to demonstrate how sane, compassionate, and undesperate infertile couples really are, compared to some crazies out there. But I’m sure there are those who won’t separate the groups out.


30 Ramona cunis { 08.24.14 at 2:12 am }

Could someone please tell me how to respond to people when they are constantly saying, that because I’m infertle, I want to take their children….iam 53 years old and when I hug a child, or buy gifts for my nieces or nephews, the whispers always start…”watch out for her, she want to take your baby” or “I feel so uncomfortable when she hold my baby, what if she wants to keep him”…..I have a 21 year old adopted son that I have raised from birth, I’ve always felt bad because I couldn’t have children of my own, but I’m ok with that, but iam so tired of people thinking that because i can’t have children I might try to steal theirs….how do I respond to them??…..just because hold and love a child does not mean I want to steal them……frustrated…

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