Stressed, she buries her child

By Amanda Yong and Benson Ang

Major depressive disorder

Deputy Public Prosecutor Kumaresan Gohulabalan said a psychiatric report by the Institute of Mental Health stated that Indriani suffered from a major depressive disorder when she abandoned the child.

The report also indicated that there was a causal link between her disorder and her offence.

Indriani was arrested six days later near Eunos MRT station.

The man who helped Mr Tay rescue the baby, retiree Mr Tan Thye Kok, 59, told The New Paper yesterday that he is glad that the mother has been punished and that the baby has found a home.

"The baby deserves to have a chance at life," he said.

There were more than 4,000 runaway maids in Singapore last year, The Straits Times reported in February. Of these, about 2,530 maids sought refuge at the Indonesian embassy, up from around 2,030 in 2009.

The Philippines embassy said the number of maids who went to it fell from 630 in 2009 to around 570 last year. There were fewer new Filipino maids arriving here.

And 1,000 runaway maids turned up at the Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (Home), in its financial year ending in March last year, up from around 850 the year before.

When contacted, Home said it has provided assistance to domestic workers who got pregnant.

Its president Bridget Tan said that maids in such a plight tend to feel a sense of shame and helplessness.

They might resort to aborting or abandoning the baby for fear of being sent back to their home countries and being banned from working in Singapore.

"These workers feel confused, especially if they also have a religion that is pro-life," Ms Tan said.

They are likely to seek advice from their friends and the baby's father. But they would usually hide the pregnancy from their employers.

Added Ms Tan: "It's actually very hard for them to talk to anyone officially. Holding on to their job is a priority, even more important than keeping the baby."

When Home encounters a pregnant worker, it will refer them to pregnancy crisis counsellors and doctors and even speak with the baby's father.

If the woman wishes to keep her baby, it will refer them to agencies in their home country for assistance.

There are shelters in Manila in the Philippines and Batam in Indonesia which work with Home to house women with unplanned pregnancies.

For ill-treating a child, Indriani could have been jailed four years and fined $4,000. For overstaying, she could have been jailed six months and fined $6,000.

This article was first published in The New Paper.

1 2