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When my baby was 7 weeks old, I left her.

As I drove away from the house, knowing my tiny girl was peacefully sleeping under the watchful gaze of her loving father, I felt sick.

I’d spent nearly a week trying to think of a way I could avoid taking my baby to the police station to fill in paperwork after my car was hit while parked at the side of the road. I drove to a police station ten minutes away and buzzed the intercom. I was told I’d have to travel another fifteen minutes through heavy traffic to a bigger police station. I got cross and upset. “I have a newborn at home who will wake any minute,” I begged. The police officer wouldn’t budge. “I’m sorry, but you need to come in now to get this paperwork sorted,” I was told.

As I drove yet further from my girl, my milk-heavy breasts started to leak. As I sobbed irrational, uncontrollable tears, the milk coursed it’s way through my maternity pads and bra, flowing in a sticky river down my wobbly stomach. Every inch of me wanted to turn around, drive back home and be with my baby. I felt like I had lost an arm.

There’s no way you can know that urge until you have a baby. I remember being pregnant, thinking friends who weren’t keen to leave their newborns for a few hours were “over protective” and needed to “get a grip”. But no one told me it’s an animal thing. Physical. Hormonal. Emotional.

So imagine having no choice but to ignore that urge to be with your baby. Imagine breastfeeding your newborn for the last time, wiping his milky little face and carefully bundling him into a warm babygrow and holding him tight against your chest. Imagine looking at your peaceful, content baby as you walk down the street, full of pride at your miracle, before wrapping him tighter in his blanket and leaving him on the doorstep of an alien institution.

Imagine walking away, hearing his cries as he wakes, sensing his mother isn’t there. Imagine dying inside as your baby’s cries get louder and your soul breaks in two, knowing you have to leave him there on that cold doorstep.

Every day in Moldova one child under the age of seven is abandoned to an institution. This isn’t a Victorian novel. It’s now. And it’s not hundreds of thousands of miles away either.

Please watch this video of Madaleina. Take yourself back to those days when your baby was tiny and put yourself in the shoes of her mother. It’s a heartbreaking story with a happy ending. Sadly, most stories in Moldova don’t end this way.

Hope and Homes for Children is a UK based charity trying to keep families together, preventing the causes that lead many desperate mothers to have to abandon their newborn babies. Their work in Moldova focuses on closing Dickensian style institutions, reuniting families and reforming childcare practices alongside the Government.

Rather than buying that extra piece of plastic your child probably doesn’t need this Christmas, consider donating the equivalent cost to the Hope and Homes for Children’s Keeping Families Together Campaign.

I know you’re probably sick of being asked for money from charities this Christmas. I know we’re all getting emails every day and phone calls and being stopped in the street. But please watch this video and give this cause at least two minutes of your head space.

It’s important.