Mother convicted in baby daughter's death shares her story
Published Wednesday, August 29, 2012 6:42PM ADT
Last Updated Wednesday, August 29, 2012 7:19PM ADT
A young mother convicted of failing to provide the necessities of life for her baby daughter is sharing her story in the hopes that others will learn from the tragedy.
Aurora Breakthrough died three years ago when she was just seven weeks old. Her mother and father, Jane Gomes and Ashiqur Rahman, were arrested the following day.
“It wasn’t even clear to me whether this was really happening, or you know, if it was all a bad dream,” says Gomes. “In a moment my whole world was shattered upside down.”
She later pleaded guilty to failing to provide the necessities of life and testified against Rahman, who was charged with aggravated assault and manslaughter in baby Aurora’s death.
Gomes told the court that her former boyfriend had slapped and shook their baby daughter, but she didn’t see any marks and didn’t know Aurora was hurt.
Gomes also says she thought about leaving Rahman, but didn’t.
“I wanted Aurora to have a dad. I wanted us to be together and make it work.”
Earlier this month, Rahman was sentenced to six-and-a-half years in prison and Gomes hopes he will be able to get the help he needs.
“He has done something terrible and he’s paying the price now,” she says.
As for her part in Aurora’s death, Gomes says she realizes things could have been different if she had made other choices three years ago.
She wishes she had recognized what was going on and had told the nurses, or even left her home with her daughter.
She hopes that by sharing her story others will learn from the tragedy and she is also urging others not to wait to tell someone, like she did.
“No matter what it is they’re frustrated about, don’t take it out on your little child,” she says.
Gomes made some friends in Wolfville shortly after Aurora’s death and they have been by her side the whole time. Gomes says that without their support, she isn’t sure where she would be today.
Judith Tod met Gomes shortly after her arrest.
“She had said to the chaplain that nobody there understood what it was like to lose a child and the chaplain said ‘I know somebody who does. Would you like to talk to her?’” says Tod.
The community support for Gomes grew from there.
“This community taught me that this is not the end, and helped me put together, bit by bit, my life,” she says.
She graduated from Acadia University in May and will be back on campus next week on a scholarship to start a master’s degree in computer science.
Thursday marks five years since Gomes moved to Nova Scotia, and that is where she plans to stay. She has applied for permanent residency on humanitarian and compassion grounds, saying this is her second home.
It’s also where her daughter is buried, in a sacred spot marked by a plaque.
Gomes says she has grown beyond her years since the ordeal and now realizes the importance of reaching out to others. She also says her Aurora is never far from her thoughts.
“In everything I do, my daughter will shine through that.”
With files from CTV Atlantic's Jacqueline Foster