Because of her vegan beliefs, Sarah Markham’s baby was taken away from her 12 days after he was born in June. She was arrested for criminal charges but has since regained the custody of her child when a judge deemed her fit for parenting.
Before the baby boy, Caleb, was even two weeks old, a pediatrician told the Florida mother that he was dehydrated, had lost 10 percent of his body fat and advised her to take him to the hospital. But she did not and insisted that she wanted to feed him vegan baby formula. The police got involved and she was arrested. Child Protective Services took the infant into state custody.
Evidently, Markham is a Christian Seventh-day Adventist and has firm beliefs in holistic healing and a vegan diet – even when it comes to bringing up a baby.
Before the custody case went into trial, her attorney Mark O’Mara stated that her choice of parenting was “not even close” to child neglect. “It's a mom trying to do the best she can, acting as a vegan, which she has the entire right to do taking care of her child,” he argued.
He also pointed out that she’s done everything she has been asked to do, which include mental health evaluations, drug evaluations and parenting classes. Her attorney called the matter “absurd” – which is true no matter what angle you’re looking at it from.
Her five-month-old son is now 17 pounds – and he has been on soy milk the entire time he was looked after by his grandparents during the time he was in state custody. Markham is just glad that the “nightmare is over” and she can be a good mom. But according to the court ruling she has to make periodic visits to a nutritionist.
According to this study, a vegan diet is suitable for an infant child. But this story brings with it many questions about veganism and parenting. Veganism is often pursued as a choice for a healthier lifestyle. But in this case, the only important question is whether the child is getting the right nutrients or not?