It never ceases to amaze me.

by statia on August 5, 2003

Honestly, I really don’t understand how I continue to be baffled by people on a daily basis. These days, there have been a higher number of women who are murdering their own children.

Afterward, said St. Paul Police Sgt. Bruce Wynkoop, Ener – a rising star at the university – went to her mother and announced: “I think I killed the baby.” [link]

Sources say that she suffered from post partum depression. I’m really not knocking anyone who has it. I believe it’s a valid illness, and in this day and age, we’re living in a society where mothers are under a lot more stress than they were 20-30 years ago. They’re having to juggle a lot more. Take this woman who was an up and coming professor at a well known university. Is post partum depression starting to be used as too much of an excuse? I can’t say. I went through two years of infertility, so to me, this is unfathomable. I’m just at a total loss of understanding here.

{ 9 comments }

robyn August 5, 2003 at 8:35 am

I walked out of a womyn’s studies night course in college — long before I faced infertility — because I was about ready to punch 99% of the women in there. It was right after Susan Smith drowned her two boys, and literally over half of the class was sympathizing with her and saying they’d had the very same feelings with their own children. I was beyond disgusted.

tj August 5, 2003 at 9:30 am

that’s sad robyn. i don’t understand how people can feel that way.

not only mothers murdering their children, but mothers abandoning their children. i don’t get it … at least f-ing drop off your kid at a hospital or church or somewhere they’ll be found. why just dump them in the woods or a dumpster?

i’m not very religious, but i firmly believe there’s a special place in hell for people who hurt/kill children on purpose.

Jaynee August 5, 2003 at 10:26 am

Post Partem Depression is a temporary chemical imbalance caused by the influx of too many hormones just after childbirth. Some suffer worse than others. I gave birth back in April to my first child and was lucky not to have any post-partem other than a bit of emotional crying about Day Five.

However, I have a family friend who has 10 kids and starting with Kid #5 she would have really bad post partem to the point where she asked friends and family to come and stay at the house specifically to make sure nothing happened. She recognized her behavior as abherrent and got help for it – not all mothers do that.

I DO feel sorry for moms that kill their kids, but I also believe they should be punished fully under the law for their horrifying crimes.

Jenni August 5, 2003 at 4:50 pm

I had PPD after the births of both of my daughters. My OBGYNs asked a lot of questions after the deliveries — how was I feeling, how did I feel about the baby, etc. I had the baby blues (crying jags for the first week or two, similar to what Jaynee described above) and I thought it was over. However, I started to become extremely overwhelmed by the time the girls were a month old. I had help from my terrific hubby, but it was unexplainable….I just sobbed for no reason, I didn’t want to hold the baby for reasons I couldn’t explain, I was constantly anxious for no reason…. We called my docs early on and they prescribed the right meds, which made me feel ‘normal’ and like the mom I initially felt like within a week or two. I have a chemical imbalance anyway, so perhaps I’m more suseptible (or not).

Regardless, women need to educate themselves about PPD and about the common stresses of motherhood, period. Robyn talking about sympathizers in the Smith case is classic proof. Yes, I have many a BAD day as a SAHM…days where the girls cry endlessly and fight, etc. I take a walk when my husband comes home or I shut the door and finish some design business I’ve been meaning to get to (with my headphones on, LOL). I would never, EVER take it out on my children. If it’s that bad during the day — and I don’t have a support structure aside from Scott and my aunt — I pack the kids in the double stroller and get the hell out of the house until their Dad comes home to take over. My point is that doctors need to mention PPD more often and women have to be responsible enough to educate themselves and ask for help if needed. There are no excuses for harming your kids. Ever. (Mental illness aside, of course). Even at my worst point in PPD, I only wanted to harm myself — not my babies. (It’s part and parcel of PPD and went away after I sought treatment).

gojou August 5, 2003 at 5:31 pm

I must preface my comment with the statement that I am male, which in this case could mean that I don’t have the slightest idea what I’m talking about.

In response to Robyn’s post, I only hope that when those women said they empathized with Susan Smith, what they meant was they empathized with how PPD made her feel, not that she could kill her own children or that at some point they’d considered killing theirs.

And just so we’re clear on my position: There is NO excuse for harming ANY child, much less your own. Raising children is a difficult job, perhaps the most difficult job there is — certainly it is the most important. It can sometimes bring feelings of overwhelming despair. In today’s world it is a trivial matter to get on the phone to someone, somewhere, be it a friend, a support group, or a non-profit, and say “I need help;” Confronted with such feelings, that is precisely what one must do. There IS no excuse for harming children.

The Sarcastic Journalist August 8, 2003 at 6:48 pm

My boss’ wife has had “p p depression” for 9 YEARS NOW. i didnt think it was humanly possible. I really don’t think it is. She is completely incapable of taking care of her own four children and forces her husband (my editor) to bring his ass home from work at random hours to bring the kids to the movies because she cant deal with them.
She shouldn’t have kids if shes going to act like this. Its not fair to the kids.

TimK August 9, 2003 at 3:59 am

I’ve been a stay-at-home-dad (SAHD) for the four months since my twin girls were born. I suffer from regular depression, if there is such a thing, but it’s under control with medication. Actually, I have been happier and more level-headed since my daughters came along. Sure, there are moments of frustration, as there are for any parent. But you have to recognize it for what it is. It’s not the babies’ fault. They only cry to communicate that something is wrong.

It’s sad knowing that those women who killed their children weren’t able to recognize that they had a problem and get help for it. At the very least, their friends, neighbors, husbands should have seen that something was wrong and pushed them to get help.

Rob August 9, 2003 at 11:27 am

What bothers me is that people who do suffer from real depression are made to feel like there’s something wrong with them by people who discount any sort of mental illness as being “All in someone’s head.”

Like others have said, there is never an excuse for harming a child – EVER – but there’s also no excuse for sweeping other people’s problems under the rug just because it’s not convenient or easily understood or whatever. I’m glad that when my wife was pregnant that I had a lot of information about what to look out for, just in case she went off the deep end, and I would have been able to get her some help. If more people got that sort of info on the front end, and if they believed it, then I don’t think bad things like this would happen so often.

Iki August 10, 2003 at 8:00 am

It doesn’t help matters that the minute you have the baby the hospital is like tying the umbilical cord with one hand and shoving your suitcase in your face with the other. It’s like, here’s your hat what’s your hurry? I mean, a few days to get your shit together isn’t asking for much.

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