Members of the media, I implore you. Please stop assuming that every time a woman kills her child it must be because she has postpartum depression. Not every murder of a child committed by a woman has to do with a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder. In fact, generally speaking, almost no infanticides are carried out by women with PPD or postpartum anxiety, while it’s true that a small percentage (but certainly not all or even most) are carried out by women with postpartum psychosis.
Why must you IMMEDIATELY (yes, I’m shouting!) bring up PPD upon every new incidence of child homicide? Could you not wait five minutes and try to find out more about the person and her situation before mentioning PPD? Could you not take the time to inform yourselves that women with postpartum depression do not commit infanticide?
First, we’ve got Kyron Horman’s stepmother, who the media has assumed out loud has PPD and is responsible for the fact that Kyron has been missing for weeks. ABC reported that “while there is no confirmation of their claim, Kyron’s parents said they believe postpartum depression could be a factor linking the stepmother Terri Horman to Kyron’s disappearance.” The headline “Is Kyron Horman’s Disappearance Tied to Stepmom’s Postpartum Depression?” was then spread out across the internet.
Terri Horman was 19 months postpartum when Kyron disappeared. Perhaps she did have PPD, and perhaps it went untreated or her treatment was ineffective. Perhaps she eventually became psychotic. Perhaps she was psychotic before she ever had a baby. Perhaps she is responsible for Kyron’s disappearance. Perhaps there’s some other reason he’s gone missing. I don’t know. Neither does the media. Yet they still feel comfortable jumping to the conclusion that these things happen because of postpartum depression. I repeat, women with postpartum depression don’t kill their children. Equating postpartum depression to postpartum psychosis leads moms to needlessly suffer, as they become scared for their lives and horrified by themselves when the truth is 99.whatever% of them will never do anything to harm anyone, and aren’t in danger of doing so.
Now we’ve got the woman in France whose eight babies were found buried in her backyard. So the first thing CNN does — in it’s very first story on the case of which I’m aware — is go find someone who will say it could be because of PPD.
“Psychotherapist Lucy Beresford told CNN that very little was known about the circumstances of infanticide because it was a taboo subject …
Postnatal depression could also be a possible contributory factor, she said.”
Probably not. It’s possible postpartum psychosis played a factor, but not PPD. The woman, Dominique Cottrez, has admitted to killing them and says it’s because she just didn’t want any more children. No mention of depression.
I just wish there wasn’t an automatic correlation made between murder and PPD. Every. Single. Time.
Women with postpartum depression are not psychotic. They don’t have delusions. They aren’t hallucinating. They aren’t convinced their child may be the devil, or an angel sent to save the world. They don’t kill their children. Period.