Imagine having a daughter come out of such horrific circumstances as Amanda Berry gave birth to her child in. Amanda was not only kidnapped and held against her will in the house of her captor for 10 years, but during that time she was pregnant at least once -- possibly by her captor, Ariel Castro. It's tough enough being pregnant, but can you fathom being pregnant in those circumstances? No prenatal care. No doctor's visits. No one you love who you can rely on. And let's talk about giving birth. Tough enough in a hospital or at home with trained help. But giving birth on your own in a house of horrors? And yet Amanda astonishingly seems to have been able to not only love, but care for and educate her daughter, Jocelyn, the best she could.
A picture of Amanda in the hospital, reunited with her sister, shows her with her arm protectively around her 6-year-old daughter. An interview with her rescuer, neighbor Charles Ramsey, on CNN with Anderson Cooper indicates that Jocelyn's father may have been Ariel -- which is apparently what Amanda told Charles -- but authorities will reportedly be doing DNA analysis. In fact, Amanda also told Charles that Jocelyn "wanted her daddy." Which means that the child and Ariel may have had a decent relationship. Can you imagine not poisoning your daughter's mind against her father even under such circumstances?!
Jocelyn was reportedly born on Christmas and Amanda referred to her as her "Christmas baby." She also reportedly homeschooled her -- possibly without her captor's knowledge. The little girl was also reportedly seen by neighbors outside with Ariel, and had visited the home of her grandmother, Ariel's mother.
Further reports say that there may have been several pregnancies that ended in miscarriages due to beatings by the brothers. And there may have been other children in the house -- though who those children were remains to be seen. But it doesn't take a stretch of the imagination to figure out that Amanda and her child were at constant risk. I imagine that Amanda had to figure out a way to negotiate for their safety, for food, for care, on a regular basis.
Imagine: No schooling for your child. No medical care. You can't choose what food she eats, how she is brought up, what she is exposed to. The child probably witnessed violence and threats.
And YET. Reports say that Jocelyn is happy and healthy. All due to Amanda, I'm sure. It must have been like bringing up your child in the middle of a war zone.
It's truly a testament to the mother-daughter bond that Amanda is not only able to show this child love, despite her being a constant reminder of her torment, but was able to somehow bring up a child who is, in recently released pictures, able to smile.
Now thanks to Amanda's resourcefulness and some help from Charles Ramsey, Jocelyn will be able to have the childhood she deserves.
Can you imagine bringing up a child under these circumstances? Here's Amanda confirming for her grandmother that she has a daughter:
Image via WEWS News Channel 5/YouTube
Going to baseball games
Riding bike rides in the nice weather
Playing outside after work/school
Going for walks outside