The mother of newborn twins found abandoned in a hospital car park last year yesterday broke her silence to explain she was driven to dump them after discovering she was pregnant following an affair.
The 44-year-old woman, who has three grown-up sons, admitted she did "a terrible thing" but said she could never reveal the truth of their birth to her family because of the devastation it would cause.
The twins, named Holly and Joseph by nurses, were left in the car park of Heartlands Hospital in Birmingham on December 6.
They survived near-freezing temperatures before they were found and had to be put in incubators because they were so cold. Police appeals for the mother to come forward in the days that followed came to nothing.
She was traced only after she confessed her secret to a former boyfriend, who contacted social services. West Midlands Police handed her a caution last month after DNA analysis proved she was the mother.
The babies' father was also contacted by officers, who were satisfied he played no part in the abandonment.
In an interview the woman, who has not been named but who lives in the Birmingham area, described how she gave birth to the twins while alone in the bathroom of the family home on December 5. She explained she wrapped them in blankets and put them in a cardboard box which she left outside the hospital's maternity unit.
She said: "I was in a complete panic at the time and just did what I thought I had to do. I left them as near to the maternity unit as possible."
She said her husband, children, friends and work colleagues still had no idea what she did.
"I can never reveal that it was me because it would just be too devastating for my family and I just could not cope. They don't know what happened and must never find out."
The woman, who said her weight had "yo-yoed" all her life, admitted she became pregnant during a two-month affair with an ex-schoolfriend at Easter last year.
She said she did not realise she was pregnant until it was too late for a termination and "buried her head in the sand" until she went into labour one evening while her husband was working away.