We all have ‘mumnesia’ moments as tired and busy parents, whether it’s forgetting what you went to the fridge for or why you’re at the supermarket. Or even what your newborn’s name is.
But for one mum, it was a moment she’ll never forget. Arizona mum Cherish Peterson, 27, accidentally left her 2-month-old strapped in a shopping trolley at a supermarket, while she drove her other 3 children home.
Her baby is fine but Cherish has now been charged with child endangerment and her lawyers have gone online to garner support for their client. Via a Facebook group called I Stand With Cherish, the mum’s legal team have requested ‘character references’ to pass on to the town prosecutor after the incident last week.
So what happened?
Cherish Peterson said that she made a ‘horrible mistake’ after accidentally leaving the baby in the trolley after rushing from the store having bought gifts for a 16-year-old relative’s birthday.
In an emotional video explaining what happened, the mum-of-four said that the combination of loading her shopping and trying to get her older toddlers strapped into their car seats simply made her forget to return the trolley to the trolley bay and take her baby out of it.
“I got into my car, and normally I put my cart away,” the sobbing mum said. “But I didn’t need to because I parked at the front of the store and I never park there. And I drove away.”
She said she realised her mistake when her three year old asked her: “Mom, where is baby Huxton?”
The devastated mum said she ‘freaked out’ and called her husband, telling him ‘I’ve left the baby at Fry’s’.
Cherish got back to the store 40 minutes later, and was told that police had taken her baby to the hospital after he was found by an off-duty officer just minutes after she had left him.
Mum and baby were quickly reunited, but the police visited and searched Cherish’s family home, and interviewed her six-year-old.
Cherish said the events and the ensuing backlash had left her with a ‘really crappy feeling’ but that she ‘counted her blessings’ that her baby was OK.
Support from 20,000 people and counting
So far, almost 20,000 people have shown their support for her on Facebook, while Twitter users have backed her via the hashtag IstandwithCherish after her local police force lodged a misdemeanor charge of child endangerment against her.
One Facebook follower who had witnessed Cherish coming back into the store described her as a ‘distraught and frightened mother’ and said that it was clear that she was ‘so upset and in so much visible pain’.
She also went on to describe an experience she had had 15 years earlier: “I will never forget when I lost my toddler in a store. The helpless and grief mixed with guilt feeling. It is honestly the worst feeling I have ever felt in my life. Knowing that you have unintentionally been the cause of anything happening to someone that is part of you and loved beyond words, but worst of all that you there to protect.”
“Halfway home the 5 year old missed the 3 year old,” said another. “I didn’t have a clue where he could be except somewhere at Regis. We hurried back to Regis. Thankfully a couple found him – we didn’t have any police, or others, saying I was a bad mother or wanting me in jail.”
“I once drove to work and got out of my car, and seen my son still in back seat. I forgot to drop him at daycare,” another mum confessed.
And there were plenty more stories like these on IStandWithCherish’s Facebook page.
What do you think – have you ever been in a similar situation?