Baby Seized During Hospital Visit Because Mom Had a Home Birth

newborn hand

Twenty-seven-year-old Stacie Cottle had a home birth -- just like so many women all over the world do. Stacie is British, but she was visiting her mother's vacation home in Spain at the Torre del Mar resort on the Costa del Sol. She wasn't planning on having a home birth, but her daughter decided to make her entrance quickly and without any time to call an ambulance. Baby Anzelika was healthy, the birth went perfectly -- Stacie's body did just what a woman's body was made to do: bring life into this world. The family decided to wait until the next day to go to the hospital. And when they did, the baby was taken away.


The staff at Spain's Hospital Comarcal de la Axarquia was reportedly hostile to Stacie. They didn't believe the baby was hers because they claimed she looked too old to be a newborn. An invasive test was given to Stacie to see if she had in fact given birth -- something that no woman should be forced to do to prove her motherhood -- but the doctors seized her baby anyway and demanded a DNA test be performed. She's waiting in the hospital for the results. Her 3-year-old daughter isn't allowed on the ward, and Stacie is being forced to stay until the results return.

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I am horrified. This mom should not be treated like a criminal. Home births are natural, legal, and happen all the time. Women do not have to be admitted to a hospital to have their babies. Women who birth at home should never be denied their rights. Now baby Anzelika is separated from her mother, and being given formula even though Stacie wants to breastfeed. It's been two weeks so far.

And now, because of this, Anzelika will have to wait a year to become a British citizen (where her family is from) because there is a 10-day deadline to file in the UK and they missed it because they are basically being held hostage by this Spanish hospital. Stacie said:

I am treated like a criminal here, they think I stole my baby and everywhere I go in the hospital people are looking at me and talking about me.

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There are a lot of unanswered questions. It's scary how some countries and towns seem to have their own sets of rules that do not make sense. I hope this family is working with authorities in the U.K. and Spain to resolve this. No woman should be treated this way -- and it's the baby who is suffering the worst, forced to be away from her mother. That bond they should be creating is being threatened.

There need to be more rules in place for home-birthing mothers. There need to be more guidelines for mothers who birth outside their own country. There is no one a child needs more than her mother -- Anzelika is being denied that and that is, quite simply, very wrong.

Why do you think this mother is being questioned? Do you think the child should have been taken pending DNA results? Do you think we need more laws protecting home-birthing moms?


Image via Raphael Goetter/Flickr

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