Mother Charged With Murder Had Been Treated for Postpartum Depression

Share Button

This post may be upsetting if you are currently suffering from a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder.

A baby has died and a mother is charged with murder.

I hate writing about these things.  I’d almost rather pretend they haven’t happened.  Sonia Hermosillo, a mother of three who had apparently been treated for postpartum depression, threw her seven-month-old son off of a four-story parking garage.  Sadly, he passed away from his injuries yesterday.

The Los Angeles Times reports that Hermosillo’s husband, Noe Medina, is defending his wife:

“My wife was not in her five senses,” he said in Spanish through an interpreter. “She didn’t know what she was doing.”

Medina said his wife, Sonia Hermosillo, was suffering from postpartum depression and asked the public to refrain from judgment. He urged other women who might be suffering to seek help, calling it a “very serious problem.”

The vast majority of women with postpartum depression, as you know, do not harm their children.  We don’t know how severe Hermosillo’s illness was, or whether it was PPD or postpartum psychosis, or if there were other or additional issues at play.  News reports indicate she was hospitalized for postpartum depression at some point after the birth of her son, and had just seen a therapist for the very first time.

My heart breaks for the baby and for the entire family.

Following is a statement from Postpartum Support International president Lucy Puryear:

“We are always deeply saddened by the anguish and suffering a family endures when a woman is afflicted with a perinatal mood disorder.  Postpartum Support International is dedicated to raising awareness for the assessment and treatment of these mental illnesses by providing social support, education and access to qualified professionals in the field.  Our hearts and prayers are with Noe Medina, Sonia Hermosillo and their two other children, as well as their community, as they begin to cope with this heartbreaking tragedy.”

Share Button
About Katherine Stone

is the founder & editor of Postpartum Progress. She was named one of the ten most influential mom bloggers of 2011, a WebMD Health Hero and one of the top 25 parent bloggers using social media for social good. She also writes the Fierce Blog, and a parenting column for Disney's Babble.com.

Tell Us What You Think

Comments

  1. Frank callis says:

    I feel so bad for that family. There is no recovery from this but there its recovery from ppd and ppp. I hope women who are challeged with this reach out for help.

  2. This is so heartbreaking.

  3. Joe franks says:

    Tragic but sadly a little known psychiatric illness that afflicts some women after child birth. More awareness and closer monitoring of those afflicted required?

  4. I am surprised that more comments were not voiced (or posted) on this site regarding this news story. In fact, I might say that I am disappointed, and a bit irked. If this truly is/was an extreme end of a perinatal mood disorder, then we shouldn't be leaving it to the most dangerous medium in grabbing national attention–the media; most noteworthy, Vigilante Nancy Grace. She WILL, ad nauseum, and to great extremes, demonize any mother who has hurt her child (NO MATTER WHAT THE CIRCUMSTANCE OR REALITY), along with her selected "expert" panel to validate her. To her, one murderous mom is just like any other; Andrea Yates, Susan Smith, and Casey Anthony are all birds of the same feather. She clearly has disgust for mothers who are truly found to have/have had a perinatal mood disorder, and even if the mother is not directly connected to the crime, but a perinatal disorder was at play, she WILL crucify her. (Remember Zara Baker, the handicapped North Carolina little girl who was found dismembered, with her murderer being her step-mother? It was learned that Zara's biological mother made the heart-wrenching decision to give custody to Zara's father, because she was suffering from a very debilitating PPD, and felt it would be in Zara's best interest to not be raised under this….even if it meant not seeing her baby for some time, but it was to protect her (Zara) and her well-being. Vigilante Grace harshly and critically went after her, too, as if SHE killed Zara. I think there's something in Vigilante Grace's closet of childhood-past that makes her such a deplorable and destructive person. And CNN, the news company that carries her, and the one I used to hold with high regards, has lost it's it credibility with me over the years.

    After coming off the hyper-media coverage of the Casey Anthony trial, she has jumped onto this, and I'm horrified to have come across this while channel-changing. Then came the Dr. Drew show, and I continued to watch, with hesitation, to see his take. He, too, dominated the spotlight on media coverage of the Casey Anthony trial. To my surprise, however, he actually had a more humane approach. On his selected guest speaker panel, he had, of all people, Rusty Yates. Dr. Drew selected him, perhaps, to explain how it's possible to be (or at least, appear) sane and rational, while at the same time be under a psychotic and delusional state of mind. The woman at the root of this, Sonia Hermosillo, was witnessed to be under the former or latter real

    Dr. Drew, surprisingly, also differentiated between postpartum depression, PPD w/psychotic features, and postpartum psychosis. And, unless one has experienced this personally, by affiliation (i.e., a close family member having to endure this), or as a medical and/or mental health professional who is profoundly knowledgeable in this area, it is extremely difficult, otherwise, to understand and fathom this when it comes to hurting and/or killing your flesh and blood child (especially if it's a mother committing the act).

    The facts of this case are still preliminary. We DO KNOW that she was suffering from a perinatal mood disorder; that she had just started therapy; that her baby had a medical condition that made him handicapped; that doctors had told family members that she shouldn't be alone with the baby, or her other children, because of her current psychological state-of-mind. YES, she did run out with the baby while her husband was taking a shower; YES, she did get her parking ticket validated immediately after throwing her baby off of the parking garage. All very sane and lucid moments of awareness, this would unequivocally negate any psychological defect…BUT not under a perinatal mood disorder with psychotic features OR a perinatal psychosis.

    Dr. Drew asked the district attorney on air whether or not the office would pursue murder charges, given what they do know about the woman. He spoke with initial hesitation, but soon proceeded to confirm a "yes," given her lucid acts and some vague reference to her expressing (but not authenticating the source) at some point that she didn't want her baby. Women with their own experience of a perinatal mood disorder, who are in a place that is far and safe from when they were there (to protect themselves from re-living it in any horrible way), need to SPEAK OUT in awareness and education, PUBLICALLY, before people, such as Nancy Grace, do. Ms. Hermosillo will need all the protection, emotional, psychological, and physical, she can get. But so do the women who aren't in her position, but who are in the thrust of it, because unrelenting and unwavering judgement, IS dangerous, full-fleged.

  5. So what is gonna happen to her now? Is she going to go to jail?

  6. Amanda Gremillion says:

    I had severe postpartum depression and went undiagnosed for two years and even when I did get diagnosed because my child was 2 my doctor thought it was regular anxiety or depression but sent me to a therapist and the therapist agreed that I had PPD. I am better now and while I now understand how women get to that point, I also understand that you still know right from wrong and you still have choices. It is very, very, very hard, and I mean very but deep down I still knew the things I was thinking were wrong which is why I did not act on them and felt so guilty for thinking them. Postpartum depression is no excuse for murder but it should be taken into account that they suffered from it so they can get the help they need and possiby be rehabilitated and they definately should not be treated worse than anyone else but murder is murder, PPD or no PPD, sane or insane. Everyone who is mentally ill doesn't kill or hurt people.

  7. It is easy for people to say that women need to reach out for help. When you are in the throes of psychosis you have no idea what the hell you are doing. You don't think you need help because whatever your psychotic mind has come up with is reality to you. We need to educate the MEN to recognize the disorder because it comes on so quickly that it is easy for others to miss it. It should be included in childbirth classes at hospitals. Husbands are usually the first to notice if their wives are acting differently. They need to be taught how to respond and how to seek immediate medical help.

Trackbacks

  1. […] my heart hurts.  On the heels of the Hermosillo infanticide in California, today I read of Naiyana Patel in Asheville, NC.  She just killed her two daughters, aged 4 and 7, […]