In ancient times, children were treated with love, but only if they were desired. There were several categories of newborns that mothers or fathers themselves preferred to get rid of.
This was especially true in families with many children, who had a hard time financially. Infanticide was a common practice for birth control and sickness management.
Since a woman, after marriage, which took place at the age of 13-15, went to her husband's family, for her parents she was often an “extra mouth”. The girl had to be fed, clothed, raised, and then she became an assistant in someone else's house.
Parents, who already had several children, tried to get rid of their daughters. Sons were always left behind, because in the future they became helpers to their own parents. It is very simple to get rid of female newborns: the mother choked the child, as if accidentally leaning on him in a dream with her whole body. It was difficult to directly accuse the woman of murder in this case. Everything looked like a tragic coincidence.
Such "accidents" happened all the time, especially in the villages. In the same way, they got rid of unwanted children if their parents already had a dozen babies. Often, the “extra mouths” simply stopped feeding and taking proper care of them. The child fell ill and died from hypothermia, hunger, oversight, or some simple illness that could well have been avoided.
Babies with deformities
A special place in the practice of infanticide was occupied by cases of reprisals against newborns who had obvious physical deformities. If the mother or midwife noticed that not everything was going well with the child, he was doomed. The birth of a baby with any deviation could become an accusation of witchcraft and cohabitation with evil spirits.
The deviation could be anything: albinism, underdevelopment of the limbs, the presence of extra fingers on the arms or legs, etc. All this was regarded by those around him as the interference of evil spirits in the origin of life. The mother strangled such a baby with her own hands, after which she burned the corpse. She could bury the body of a newborn in the forest or throw it into the "scum". This was the name of the common grave, where the frozen or drowned were buried, whose identity was not established.
Unnecessary stepsons and stepdaughters
They also got rid of children from other marriages. The situation when a stepmother could take her stepdaughter or stepson into the forest thicket and leave there to die of hunger and forest animals was not so rare. The fairy tale "Frost", in which the evil stepmother decided to kill her hated stepdaughter from the light, is not an absolute fiction. It is based on real facts that took place in life.
Children were often left in swampy swamps, where they were threatened with certain death. They were also thrown in a winter forest in severe frost. So it was more likely that the child would most likely die from hypothermia and not be discovered soon (if ever discovered at all). An unnecessary offspring could simply be kicked out of the house "on all four sides." Sometimes cruel parents deliberately created such unbearable living conditions at home that the child could only run away and wander around the world.
Not always a woman was able to kill her child, even an unwanted one. In this case, she threw him under the gates of a wealthy house, church, or - which happened more often - took the child to that same common grave, the poor woman. There, the mother was less likely to catch the eye of people and deserve their just condemnation. It has become a sad tradition to gradually leave children close to the noughties. They began to build small huts "gods" near them, where the children at least did not remain in the open air.
Over time, they turned into small orphanages. Elderly people were involved in raising children. They looked after the orphans, taught them wisdom, and at the same time guarded the gods. Everyone who lived in the area carried food and clothing to the shelters. Thus, responsibility for the younger generation was distributed equally among all members of society.