It’s never a good week when the biggest news involves something horrible happening, especially to children.
By now most of us have heard the news about Bellefontaine mother Brittany Pilkington confessing to the murders of her three sons over the course of a year.
Newborn Niall died last year, while 4-year-old Gavin died this past April. The cause of their deaths was never determined, although children’s services investigated the family and took the remaining two children before a judge determined there was not enough evidence to keep them away from their mother and father.
This past week, 3-month-old Noah died under similar circumstances. Pilkington admitted to smothering all three of her sons. She said her husband favored the boys over their daughter 3-year-old daughter Hailey, whom she considered to be her best friend, and she wanted her daughter to have more of her father’s attention.
I’m not a parent, although I have quite a few friends from high school and college who now are. My mom friends have been beside themselves over this, horrified that a mother would murder her own children and sickened over what happened to the boys.
The curses hurled at Pilkington on my Newsfeed can’t be cleaned up for print, if that tells you anything, and I know my friends are not the only ones sickened and angered by what’s happened this past week.
Numerous articles I’ve read about the Pilkington case shared a sad and frankly messed up story of abuse.
(Author’s note: everything I’m sharing here came from what I have read and quotations from those involved with the case, as far as the abuse allegations go.)
Pilkington is 23; her husband John is 43. Allegedly, she grew up in an abusive home and had a very fearful, warped view of men. Her eventual husband was her mother’s boyfriend when she was a teen.
They married when she was 18 and pregnant with their first child, and has been pregnant roughly each year since then. Children’s services was in and out of their home, and Pilkington said her husband was very controlling to the point of where she couldn’t get out and get medical help (or contraceptives.)
I completely see where my mom’s friends are coming from with their outrage, although I don’t necessarily agree with it.
Most people would not disagree that once any of us has a child of our own, our first priority isn’t ourselves anymore; it’s the child, raising them, loving them, and protecting them from the ugly sides of life (when they’re younger) so they don’t grow up exposed to adult matters and deficiencies that they are simply too young to handle and should never have to deal with.
However, my friends are rational people and mothers who do put their children first; Pilkington was described as having the emotional maturity of a 14-year-old. Add the cycle of violence to the picture, many victims don’t grow up past it. Their bodies are those of adults with children of their own to protect, but their minds are still fearful children doing anything to protect themselves from any real or perceived danger.
I’m not defending Pilkington’s actions by any means, but keeping in mind how messed up she and her family dynamic was, perhaps the deaths of her sons might have saved them from being abused themselves.
Their mother had a warped view of men, fearing her sons would be abusers. More than likely, they would have been victims of psychological abuse from their mother, if not physical abuse from their father or both parents. Statistically, boys who grow up in abusive homes tend to become abusers as a means of self-protection; better be the abuser than the abused.
I’m a firm believer that all children and innocent victims go to Heaven, and I believe that in spite of the horrors they had to go through, Niall, Gavin and Noah are with God and at peace.
I also believe that regardless of what happens legally to the Pilkingtons, God will deal with them justly in the afterlife.
The one I’m truly praying for is Hailey. According to news reports, she is in foster care again. My prayer for her is that she doesn’t remember any dysfunctional behavior or upset that she lived with the first few years; that she is adopted by a family (biologically related or not) who will give her stability she and any child needs; and that she is able to grow up in peace, surrounded by love and knowing how special and unique she is, and that she never has to know what abuse is.
I also pray that when she learns the truth of what her mother did and what her family went through that she will find the strength to forgive them, remain resilient throughout her life, and stop the cycle of violence from ever continuing after her.
Fly high and carry on, sweet angels.
Reach Allison C. Gallagher at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Troydailynews.