SAN ANTONIO -- A woman, desperate to be a mother, sits in jail after being caught in the park with heroin, meth, and the remains of her unborn child in her purse. Now Bernadette Rivera is speaking out from behind bars, saying she isn’t a monster, but simply wanted to give her child a proper burial.
Police arrested Bernadette in Cassiano Park for drug possession shortly before midnight on April 28th. Officers found the remains of an 8-week-old fetus when they searched her purse.
Bernadette says she had a miscarriage outside of the hospital on April 3 and went to two local hospitals afterwards for help. She says both turned her away.
“All I ever wanted was to be a mother and a good wife,” Bernadette said. “I guess it’s not for everybody”
Neither of the two local hospitals were able to confirm whether or not Bernadette had been a patient due to patient protection laws.
Bernadette says that, after the miscarriage, she sought help from Angels Away, a chaplain service at CHRISTUS Santa Rosa that assists with prenatal loss and burial.
CHRISTUS confirmed they had contact, although they say they weren’t able to help because Bernadette was never a patient there.
“They said because I didn’t have the miscarriage at their hospital… that they couldn’t bury my baby,” Bernadette recalled. “That’s all I was waiting for, to hear back from them.”
Bernadette’s grandmother, Catherine, also weighed in, saying she knew about the miscarriage and that Bernadette was carrying the fetus so that she could bury the unborn child.
Catherine says her granddaughter had suffered from depression in the past and was hit hard by the loss.
“I talked to her and I said, ‘Bernadette, take care of yourself. A miscarriage is very bad,’” Catherine noted. “I said, ‘If you don’t take care of yourself, something can happen to you.’”
Bernadette claims that the drugs in her possession that got her arrested weren’t hers to begin with. She says she had suffered from heroin addiction, but gave it up in November when she started trying to have a baby.
She says that she would have named the baby Faith Amore, after her faith and the Italian word for ‘love.’
Now she’ll likely miss the burial of her unborn child. The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office says judges sometimes give parents leave to attend funerals, but it is extremely unlikely.
“I’ll never count her toes, I’ll never hear her first laugh, see her smile, look into her eyes,” Bernadette said. “I’ll never get to comfort her. It hurts. It still hurts.”