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“Cradle for life” receives its first newborn in Genoa


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Annalisa Teggi - published on 09/05/21

For the first time since it was installed 14 years ago, a "cradle for life" welcomed an abandoned baby.

Like the proverbial tree that falls in the forest, a life being saved often doesn’t make as much noise as the pro-abortion media battles. And that’s perfectly fine, because the playing field is real life and not clickbait posts.

Life matters: it’s real. And it set off the sensors of a cradle on a Tuesday night at the end of this past July.

Entrusted, not abandoned

There’s obviously little specific information about the case, but everything we really care about is known. In Genoa, a newborn girl was placed in the “cradle for life” at Villa Scassi Hospital. Genova Todayreports:

The “cradle for life” was donated to Villa Scassi and to Galliera by the Lions Club in 2007: it’s a structure equipped with a door and a crib, connected to the inside of the hospital, and it has a sensor that is activated when something is placed inside. Or someone, in the specific case of Tuesday evening: a baby girl two or three days old at most, with whom the doctor on duty at Villa Scassi and the nursery nurse found themselves face to face shortly before 10 o’clock in the evening. An unprecedented episode in Genoa in the 14 years of presence of the cribs for life.


Everything suggests that it was the mother who left her there; next to the baby were placed four diapers and a note with her name. It’s a minimal survival kit, which, however, means we can avoid the word “abandoned.” She was entrusted.

What we can imagine, beyond the veil of sacrosanct anonymity, is a woman who was led—by who knows what story—to make the choice to give birth to her daughter and entrust her to the care of others. She left her, most likely, with everything she could afford—diapers, but above all, a name, as if to say, “You are my daughter, I acknowledge you.”

Bumping up against reality

It’s worth reporting the words of Dr. Gabriele Vallerino, director of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Villa Scassi Hospital, quoted by Genova Today, who commented on the finding:

What happened moved me a lot … because it’s a gesture of extreme love. This mother, in all likelihood in difficulty, has bumped against reality and has made the most beautiful gesture there is: to deprive herself of love for her daughter, for her own good.

The expression “bumping up against reality” is beautiful, honest, and far from negative. Reality almost never caresses us; rather it imposes itself with a ponderous presence. And when we ponder, we do the opposite of those who feed themselves with ideology.

Thinking means taking note of the weight of real life, of its objective consistency. Conceiving a child has an objective weight, right from those first very few living milligrams present in the womb after conception. Becoming pregnant can be a shock, a reality that imposes itself, certainly not an abstract idea that only becomes real when we choose to accept it.

The cradle for life works like this: it sets off an alarm when the weight of a newborn is placed on it. Human beings are certainly not machines, but in times of crazed thinking we can learn something from mechanical systems as well. When a life is there, you can sense it.

Discovering that you carry a life in your womb triggers exactly the same kind of alarm as the one described above, perhaps because the backwards reasoning is true: The mother is indeed the cradle for life, the original version. Any other mechanical substitute resembles her.


When a mother bumps up against all kinds of burdensome, violent, difficult realities, the truly human reaction is to multiply “cradles for life” (that is, to multiply forms of welcome). The human thing to do is to help and provide for what a mother cannot, and not to convince a mother that her only choice is to end that small life, which already has its own weight.

The first time in 14 years

There are about 50 cradles for life distributed throughout Italy. It was an idea that was born in the 90s to limit the numbers of babies abandoned in garbage bins or on the street, and represent a concrete form of support for mothers in difficulty, in addition to other resources already in place.

In Genoa, the cradle for life at Villa Scassi Hospital was donated by the Lions Club in 2007. Since then, there had been no cases of newborns left in the hospital’s care until this July. There had been 14 years of inactivity. Dr. Gabriele Vallerino explained to Genova Today:

The cradle had never been used … Some time ago there were some false alarms, but for a long time the sensor remained silent. Last night the alarm went off, notifying the on-call doctor of pediatrics. The pediatrician came down in a hurry with the nurse, and they found a newborn in the crib.

Many false alarms, therefore, and an expensive installation that had never been used. But it was ready to welcome a newborn baby when needed. A sound investment indeed! After all, as the wise quote from the Talmud (widely popularized by the movie Schindler’s List) says, “Whoever saves a life, saves the entire world.” 

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