The woman who adopts dead babies

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_82542336_d4828198-760d-4237-9edb-c8ee0399908cTwelve years ago Bernarda Gallardo saw a headline in the local paper that changed her life. After reading the story about an abandoned baby she decided she had to help.

“They killed and dumped a newborn baby on the rubbish heap,” read the headline.

The little girl was found on 4 April 2003 – her body had been put in a black rubbish bag and thrown in a bin which was later emptied and its contents taken to the local dump.

There are people who make a living recycling rubbish from the dump in the southern Chilean town of Puerto Montt, and it was one of them who found the body.

Gallardo was horrified. She immediately decided to give the baby a proper burial. She was in the process of adopting a child at the time and immediately felt a connection – this could easily have been her baby and she wanted to do something for it.

“If you get a baby that is alive you clothe it and feed it and put it in a cot. If your baby arrives dead you have to get a coffin and give it a decent burial,” she says.

But she also knows that some mothers don’t want to keep their children, and even feels a connection with them.

“These are young women, often no more than girls who are victims of rape and incest. If it is their father or stepfather who rapes them, they are too frightened to speak out. The rapists are often the ones who are providing for the family,” she says.

Gallardo was raped by a man in her neighbourhood in 1976 when she was 16.

She became pregnant and had the baby, a daughter, whom she loved and brought up herself.

“After I was raped, I was lucky enough to be able to move on because of the support I got from my friends. But if I had been left on my own, perhaps I would have felt as helpless as they do.”

Another reason babies are abandoned is poverty. “The women simply can’t afford to feed another baby,” says Gallardo.

It’s difficult to estimate how many babies are dumped in Chile. Official statistics show that about 10 are found each year, but the real figure could be much higher – most dumps are closed to the public so it’s possible that there are more bodies that have never been found.

Gallardo’s desire to do something for the baby in Puerto Montt was the start of a long and bureaucratic process.

She decided to name the girl Aurora after the Roman goddess of dawn, and in fact the baby did bring light to the darkness.

But getting hold of Aurora’s body so it could be buried wasn’t easy. In Chile if a body isn’t claimed by a member of the family it’s classed as human waste and disposed of with other surgical waste – Gallardo managed to step in quickly enough to stop this happening.

Doctors have to prove that a baby lived in order for it to be registered as a human being and thus allowed a proper burial – so they had to examine Aurora’s body.

Often doctors prefer to say a baby died at birth because they want to protect vulnerable mothers. Abortion is illegal in Chile and if a mother is caught abandoning her baby, even if she leaves it at a hospital, she can face up to five years in prison.

Gallardo also had to adopt Aurora in order to bury her, even though the child was dead.

Initially the judge in charge of the case had his doubts about Gallardo. He thought that she was Aurora’s biological mother and that she only wanted the body because she was feeling guilty about dumping her.

Once she convinced him of her good intentions, he told her it was the strangest case he had ever come across and that no-one in Chile had ever adopted a dead baby before. But he believed she was doing the right thing.

It took many months to get the medical tests done and the paperwork sorted out but finally Gallardo was allowed to take Aurora’s body for burial. Five-hundred people came to the funeral – they had been following Aurora’s progress in the local newspaper where the story was originally published.

Gallardo says the atmosphere was like a big birthday party – a celebration of Aurora’s life. There were children, doctors, nurses, the local press, people from the countryside and the judge. They sang songs, read poems about Aurora and played music.

It was important to Gallardo that so many people came to the public ceremony. “I wanted to get my local community to think about what was going on. Why are babies being left to die when there are least four families ready and waiting and in the right condition to adopt an unwanted baby?” she says.

“Instead of killing the babies give them up for adoption!”

The very day after the funeral another body, a baby boy, was found dumped. Gallardo was upset and couldn’t believe that all her work had seemingly been in vain.

By then she was well-known locally. People told her she had done the right thing for Aurora – and then asked her what she was going to do about the boy.

Eventually she decided to stick posters on all of Puerto Montt’s rubbish dumps telling people. “Don’t throw your babies in the rubbish,” and reminding them that two babies had been dumped in recent months – Aurora and then Manuel.

She thinks things are starting to change with better education about domestic abuse and more advice on family planning.

But Gallardo feels the law in Chile still victimises women who are poor or have been abused.

By coincidence, her own family history reveals another connection with babies who have been abandoned. Her great grandmother was found on the steps of a nunnery in Italy.

Gallardo wants women in Chile who aren’t able to look after their babies to be able to leave them in safe places too – she suggests dedicated areas in hospitals.

In the 12 years since Aurora’s funeral, Gallardo has adopted and buried three more dead children – Manuel, Victor and Cristobal.

She’s currently in the process of doing the same for another little girl, Margarita. She wants to give them “their dignity and for them to have somewhere to rest in peace”.

Gallardo’s story inspired Chilean director, Rodrigo Sepulveda to make a film about her. Named after Aurora, the prize-winning movie is currently being shown across Chile and at film festivals around the world.

Gallardo often visits the graves of the babies she has buried and sometimes notices that other people have left flowers.

She wonders whether some may be from the biological mothers and takes comfort from the fact that they are able to mourn knowing that their children are at peace.

Man ‘with no penis’ declares ‘I’ve bedded over 100 women’ as he prepares for life-changing surgery

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JS43305028A man who kept a 40-year secret that he was born with no penis has shared his journey to have life-changing surgery.

Andrew Wardle, 40, from Greater Manchester, was born with a rare birth defect.

Sadly, the stigma has been such that he even kept the truth hidden from his long-term girlfriend.

But, he told producers of TLC’s ‘The Man with No Penis’, to air in June, that hasn’t curbed his success with the opposite sex.

On the contrary, he claims he has slept with over 100 women.

Filmed over twelve months, viewers will discover how Andrew’s rare birth condition left him with testicles, but no penis and how he he kept it a secret from his lovers.

The show also shows Andrew confessing his life-long secret to friends and family – and even his unsuspecting long-term girlfriend.

The programme reveals his mission to have life-changing surgery that could give him a fully-functioning member built from skin, blood vessels and nerves from his arm.

On the women in his life, he told producers: “I’ve told 20 per cent of them the truth.”

But he also reveals how one woman punched him in the face when she learned the astonishing truth.

He added: “It is difficult to explain to a new girlfriend but when I have some have been really nice about it. But I was punched in the face once when I told a girl,” he previously told This Morning.

“I guess she was angry as she felt like I had lied but it’s not something you can say right away.”

Now, after 40 years of secrecy, Andrew’s decided to reveal the truth, admitting: “I was sick of hiding.”

And, if the operation is successful, he’ll have a fully functioning penis for the first time in his life.

Andrew has made the news before, most notably when he appeared on This Morning to talk about his issue.

He added: “My first girlfriend was really nice and understanding.

“We went out for four years and it was not a problem. It may have been if we were together in the future but we were only 15 so it wasn’t.”

Mystery artist highlights Bury potholes with penis drawings

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_82536795_coveredup _82540008_coveredup2 _82540010_drainA mystery “road artist” has been drawing pictures of penises around potholes in Bury as a way to get the council to fix them.

“They [potholes] don’t get filled. They’ll be there for months,” says the artist, speaking to Newsbeat anonymously.

“People will drive over the same pothole and forget about it.

“Suddenly you draw something amusing around it, everyone sees it and it either gets reported or fixed.”

He says his drawings have meant the potholes get fixed more quickly, although Bury Council says they already have a plan in place to deal with the issue.

A spokesman for the council has describes his artwork as “obscene” and urges him to stop his painting.

“The actions of this individual are not only stupid but incredibly insulting to local residents,” the Bury Council spokesman says.

“Has this person, for just one second, considered how families with young children must feel when they are confronted with these obscene symbols as they walk to school?”

“The naked body is a thing artists have painted for years. There are sculptures that don’t wear clothes. It’s artistic expressions.

“To be offended by that, you must be very prudish.”

“People are entitled to express their grievances to the council, but offending the public and wasting their council tax is not the way to resolve the situation.

“We understand and accept that residents are unhappy with the number of potholes in the borough, and we have a programme of scheduled works to fix them. We have also invested substantially in new machinery which is enabling us to carry out repairs more rapidly.

“Painting obscenities around potholes will not get them repaired any quicker, but simply waste valuable time and resources.

“We urge the perpetrator to stop defacing the roads immediately, and ask anyone who sees this sort of criminal damage being carried out to report it to the police and the council.”

The artist says he has considered the legal implications of his drawings and says he makes them with paint used by professionals when they are temporarily marking the road.

“It does eventually wash off. It’s not graffiti spray paint.

“It’s gone within a week or two. It’s a step up from chalk.”

Register now for ‘Wasting time on the Internet’ 101

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You can now get college credit for watching all those cat videos.

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The University of Pennsylvania is offering a class next semester titled “Wasting time on the Internet,” in which students will “focus on the alchemical recuperation of aimless surfing into substantial works of literature.”

“Students will be required to stare at the screen for three hours, only interacting through chat rooms, bots, social media and listservs,” according to the course description on the school’s website.

Sign us up!

Yahoo tech columnist Alyssa Bereznak notes that the course is taught at the Ivy League school by poet and professor Kenneth Goldsmith. The class is a required seminar for those of the English creative writing track and an elective for other English majors.

“In practice, the course will play out a little like this: Students will spend a lot of time chatting with friends, watching YouTube videos, surfing Facebook, exploring Reddit, and, who are we kidding, skimming UPenn-specific BuzzFeed lists,” Bereznak writes. “Eventually, however, they’ll have to take the detritus from that time wasted — tweets, posts, photos, browser history, a painkiller prescription for their carpal tunnel — and turn it into ‘substantial works of literature.’ “

Goldsmith told Motherboard’s Jason Koebler that he wants his students to be distracted, dividing their time between multiple devices including phones, tablets and laptops.

“I’m very tired of reading articles in the New York Times every week that make us feel bad about spending so much time on the Internet, about dividing our attention so many times,” Goldsmith said. “I think it’s complete bulls**t that the Internet is making us dumber. I think the Internet is making us smarter. There’s this new morality built around guilt and shame in the digital age.”

And shame on any student who tries to audit this class.

Dad Gets Massive tattoo of baby on his face

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Some parenting decisions can be reversed; others are a bit more permanent. That’s the case for one father from Texas who recently got an enormous tattoo of his baby son’s face — on his own face.

786eceb13d1074a3f8f680a9b523c563bc7c6032Christien Sechrist, a 20-year-old dad from Deer Park, celebrated the birth of his son Perseus Allen Mitchell by inking a giant black-and-white image of the boy’s face on his left cheek. Sechrist captioned the photo, posted last July, “Thanks Cody Gibbs for doing awesome work on me. Looks just like my son.” One of the reasons it’s gaining coverage now is because Reddit posted it a day ago.

Reaction to the portrait ranged from disbelief to supportive (sort of). “Is this a joke Christien?” wrote one Facebook user. “…Although it is a nice tat, you should have put it somewhere else,” wrote another. Also: “…I can see why you got it but I think the face was just a tad over the top.” Sechrist responded to his naysayers by writing, “Well my son looked at it [and] smiled so that’s all I care about.”

Gibbs (Sechrists’ tattoo artist) was also a source of scorn on Reddit for fulfilling such a “stupid” request. “You’ve gotta have better judgment than that,” the commenter added of the artist.

Yahoo Parenting could not reach Sechrist for comment, however, the budding electrician — who has a skull tattoo (where else?) on his skull — told Buzzfeed that he wanted to commemorate his son after nearly losing him and insisted that the tat won’t affect his ability to keep a job.

One tattoo artist disagrees.

“Although tattoos are more mainstream these days, they’re still not considered the ‘norm,’ so we always give our input when it comes to customers who want riskier designs,” Beau Brady, a tattoo artist at Invisible NYC in New York, tells Yahoo Parenting. “Face, neck, and hand tattoos are called ‘job stoppers’ for a reason so people should give those areas more thought.”

Young adults are increasingly opting for face tattoos and other visible designs, but without forethought, they can be poor choices. Brady says people don’t usually regret commemorative designs but since taste, style, and personality can change drastically over time, it’s wiser to choose classic pieces over trendier ones.

Woman gives birth on toilet, didn’t know she was pregnant

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A Wisconsin woman was not feeling well when she went to the bathroom and realized the source of her pain.

She was pregnant– and giving birth!

WPTV-woman-gives-birth-on-toilet-doesn't-know-shes-pregnant_1430072643349_17356770_ver1.0_640_480It’s been a crazy three days for Carolann Bauerle. She left work early because of stomach pains, went to the bathroom, and out popped her baby!

The surprised new mom says, “It doesn’t feel real still. Like, obviously, I see my baby and everything, but it’s still shocking.”

The child’s father called 911 to report that both his wife and their newborn baby were stuck in the toilet.

Dad was able to scoop her out before officers arrived.

“It’s definitely crazy coming into motherhood like this. I’m not prepared at all! From going to not knowing I was pregnant to having a baby,” Bauerle said.

Loved ones crowding the hospital room were still surprised at the new addition.

And when it came time to pick out a name they decided to honor one of the first people who arrived to help them out.

Officer Jennifer Gerke of the Jackson Police Department says, “When I went to visit her the next day, they didn’t have a name picked out. I jokingly said, ‘Jennifer Faith has worked out good for me for the last 30 years.’ Yesterday when I went in and checked on them, she told me she had named the baby Jordan Faith. I about cried. It was really touching.”

The new mom says she only gained about ten pounds during the pregnancy.