*** This post may be triggering if you are suffering from postpartum depression (PPD) and are sensitive to negative news events***
I stumbled across this headline on my Twitter feed tonight: “Three years for Edinburgh mum who killed her baby.” Wasn’t planning on blogging, but when I clicked on the link to read the article, I was so infuriated that it has motivated me to blog. Here’s yet another tragic loss from system failure and continued societal blindness to the realities of perinatal mood disorders.
I’ve blogged about this previously…that it seems way too common and easy for people to disassociate the baby from the mother. That a tragedy like this–a mother named Erin Sutherland who suffered from severe postnatal depression (PND) who smothered her baby–occurred should be viewed from a BIG PICTURE perspective as another example of the system failing a mother AND her baby. Not just the baby, but the mother as well. Not just the mother, but the baby as well.
The father of the baby, estranged from Erin Sutherland, and his family felt it was unfortunate that the focus seems to have shifted from the real tragedy at hand….the loss of an innocent baby. No one can/will contest this, but what people continuously forget is that, had the system NOT failed Erin, the baby would be alive because Erin would have received the treatment she desperately needed. True, I don’t know the full story here, but the mere words coming out of the prosecutor Iain McSporran’s mouth: “generally speaking six months is a point beyond which PND will no longer be considered a factor” is RIDICULOUS. Spouting such damning untruths is utterly shameful on his part. Had he bothered to get educated about perinatal mood disorders, those words would not have slipped out of his mouth a la angry let’s-lynch-the-mother-she’s-always-guilty-no-matter-what syndrome. Mr. McSporran, if you had bothered to become educated about perinatal mood disorders, you would know that it is possible for severe PND to be possible up to the end of the 2nd year or whenever a mother decides to wean her baby.
Why would a mother be turned down for help because ludicrous “rules” state that after six months her condition was no longer deemed to be a “problem factor” for new mothers? Why are such archaic rules still in existence? They must be updated with scientific facts! I thought Edinburgh is supposed to be more up-to-speed on perinatal mood disorders than we are in the states, what with the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) originating from none other than….you guessed it, Edinburgh. But I guess not!
How could anyone refuse treatment for a mother who is clearly suffering from PND and seeking help for it?! Especially when the mother had previously received hospital treatment following the birth of an older daughter after being diagnosed with PND and becoming so ill that she needed in-patient care when her child was EIGHT months old! Last I looked EIGHT is more than SIX!!!
The system that created such a nonsensical “rule” is culpable for little Chloe’s death. It left Erin with no treatment and sealed her and Chloe’s fate. So terrible that I want to smack some sense into these ignorant lawmakers. Get with the program! Get educated, for crying out loud! This patriarchal system catering to old fashioned beliefs based on misogynistic, archaic thinking MUST GO NOW!
In a recent post that also involved another tragedy like this, I posted:
Women around the world continue to be viewed as baby incubators and milk machines, and as such, their physical, mental and emotional wellbeing do not matter in the grand scheme of things. Their needs as new mothers don’t matter. BUT THEY DO MATTER.
Mothers are more than incubators. They are living, breathing, humans just like men are. Just like babies are. Heck, people seem to be very quick to forget one basic truth: Without women, you can’t have babies. Hellllooooo! I see all the time hateful comments from the extreme right (here in this country) from women, of all things, picking on other women because they were raised brainwashed into believing misogynistic things that do nothing but damn themselves. Well, I wish women would unbrainwash themselves. Use their common sense, not have their religious zealotry make them blinder than bats. It might make a huge difference once women sided with women, don’t you think?