Monsters Murder Their Children, While the Infertile Pine to be Parents

Every day, I read the Chicago Tribune.  Actually, I only read the Nation & World, Live! and North Chicagoland Extra sections, ignoring Business, Sports, Real Estate and Food.  Today’s paper featured two reports of child abuse, one resulting in a 5-year-old’s death.

The headline of the first story—actually just a blurb—is “Couple charged with battery and unlawful restraint of girl.”  In Shaumburg, Illinois, a couple, Najeh Shukri and Margarita Lopez, was arrested for tying up a 7-year-old girl, beating her with a belt, and placing the child “in a bathtub for five hours as part of the punishment for stealing candy on Oct. 30.”  This little girl kept quiet, protecting her tormentors, whom I assume are her parents.  It was only after “the girl’s leg bruises caught the attention of school authorities who called the police” that she admitted the abuse.

The title of the second article, written by Brian Cox, Special to the Tribune, is “Maine Township woman pleads guilty in daughter’s beating death.  Prosecutors agree to not seek death penalty.”  On March 13, 2007, 5-year-old Melanie Beltran, who had “suffered years of beatings and cruel punishments,” vomited.  Her mother, Mila Petrov, now 32, got so angry that “she struck her daughter in the back of the head, causing her head to hit a wall, and, when Melanie denied getting sick, Petrov threatened to put hot sauce on her daughter’s tongue for lying.”

Petrov then took her daughter into another room and hit her again, causing her head to strike the floor…  Petrov told police that Melanie was not breathing and that she did not have a heartbeat, but that she did not immediately call an ambulance because she feared she would get into trouble.”

…Instead of calling for help, Petrov quickly cleaned her house while her daughter lay dead or dying on the floor.”

…Petrov eventually called her husband, Carlos Beltran, and asked what she should do, and he told her to call an ambulance.”

In June, Beltran, 34, pleaded guilty to aggravated battery of a child in Melanie’s death and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Mila Petrov, who was charged with first-degree murder, will avoid the death penalty because she pled guilty.  Prosecutors “now are asking that Petrov be given an extended prison term of 60 to 100 years when she is sentenced Dec. 10…”

To read the full article, see,0,4140092.story

I am a woman who has faced infertility, who has undergone a total of nine cycles of intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF), who has suffered from embryo implantation problems, a miscarriage and, two months ago, the death of one of my unborn twins, who is being absorbed by my body while I remain pregnant with his brother.  Having strived and struggled to be a parent, I can’t put into words how sickened I am that there are other parents who not only don’t appreciate the gifts they’ve been given, but also torture and kill their children.

First, I don’t understand how these “adults” hurt their children in their fits of rage. 

Second, I can’t contemplate how, day after day, when they bathe and dress their children and face the damage they’ve inflicted—the bruises, the burns, the blood—they don’t take immediate action to protect their children, to get themselves and their innocent offspring help. 

And, last, I don’t understand how these monsters find each other, for, in both of these cases, the abuse was ongoing and perpetuated by both parents. 

How can two adults jointly participate in tying up their child, in hitting her with a belt, in forcing her to sit in a bathtub for five hours because she sneaked some Halloween candy?

How can two adults conspire to abuse their child and to hide its aftermath, year after year after year, until their beatings escalate to murder?

I will never understand because I believe that children should be the priority, and, if anyone is not prepared to make that sacrifice, that person isn’t cut out to be a parent. 

Parents who are selfish won’t tolerate getting up in the middle of the night, multiple times a night, for months or even years.  (My son still yells for me when he has nightmares or simply wakes up in the middle of the night, and he’s almost 5.)  Parents who are selfish won’t be able to stand a newborn’s constant crying and spitting up, a toddler’s temper tantrums, the sleepness nights when a child is sick and, yes, maybe vomiting.  They won’t be able to handle potty training and bedwetting and whining for a present during every trip to the grocery store—or any other store, for that matter.

Mila Petrov was so selfish, so self-absorbed, so unable to make anyone but herself a priority that, when she found that her 5-year-old daughter Melanie wasn’t breathing, that her daughter’s heart had stopped beating, she left her to die rather than call 911.  She left her daughter to die because she was worried about getting in trouble.

I can’t imagine having any other thought besides calling 911 and starting CPR. 

I am a woman who struggled to conceive and carry her 4-year-old son and the son she has inside her.  I am a woman who has sat in infertility support group meetings sponsored by Resolve: The National Infertility Association, in which, among the women in the room, there had been dozens of pregnancies, but not one live birth.  I am a woman who, because of this blog, has heard from woman after woman after woman who wants nothing more than to be a first-time or second-time parent, to shower their child(ren) with unconditional love, with patience, with support, with countless hugs and kisses.  And, while many of these deserving women ultimately become parents, many are never able to overcome their infertility.

Meanwhile, the monsters mentioned in today’s Chicago Tribune not only bear children, but also mutilate and murder them.

I will never understand.

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