Thursday, March 19, 2009
Common Factor In Women Who Kill Their Children Is Mental Illness
Mothers suffering from profound depression differ from teens who kill their newborns and mothers who neglect or abuse their children. They often provide unheeded warnings and attempt suicide.
According to the American Anthropological Association, more than 200 women kill their children in the United States each year. Three to five children a day are killed by their parents. Homicide is one of the leading causes of death of children under age four, yet we continue to "persist with the unrealistic view that this is rare behavior," says Jill Korbin, expert on child abuse, who has studied mothers who killed their children.
We should detach from the idea of universal motherhood as natural and see it as a social response," Nancy Scheper-Hughes, medical anthropologist says. Women in jail reported that no-one believed them when they said they wanted to kill their children. "There's a collective denial even when mothers come right out and say, "I really shouldn't be trusted with my kids."
Studies show that maternal filicides are often due to depression and psychological reasons. That is contrary to a paternal filicide. The definition of a filicide is murders against children by their parents. Ironically statistics show that women only contribute to 13% of all violent crimes and 50% of those crimes are maternal filicides.
Here is one case :
Today, almost a year after she pleaded guilty to the first-degree murder of her 6-year-old son, Garrett, Petrosky will speak about her ordeal on "The Oprah Winfrey Show,"
On Sunday the Oprah.com Web site repeatedly flashed a photo of the former Roanoke resident, an attractive, bespectacled blonde, sitting with her towheaded son, surrounded by Christmas presents. The caption beside the picture read, "Can bipolar disorder cause a mother to kill her child? Hear one suburban mom's story."
Petrosky, 41, wants to get the message out that mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder need to be recognized and treated rather than ignored in hopes the symptoms will go away, said Jay Finch, one of the state capital defenders who worked on her case.
She had a reputation as a "supermom," involved in all her children's school activities, working toward a degree at Radford University while managing the clothing and accessory store Present Thyme.
Then on April 15, 2005, she kept her son home from school. As they watched a cartoon together, she grabbed him by the neck and choked him until he stopped struggling. Then she took him to the bathtub, which she had already filled, and put him under the water.
She called 911 and said over and over, "I've just gone crazy."
"I do not know why I did this," she said in her confession to police, presented in court the day of her plea. "My thoughts are out of control, bad thoughts. I'm just crazy I guess. I should have called someone and asked for help, but I didn't."
The type of bipolar disorder Petrosky was diagnosed with, referred to as bipolar disorder II, is not always apparent to the families and friends of the person who has it, but can be more severe when it reaches psychotic levels, Finch said. Most people with the disease "will never have a breakdown similar to the one Andrea had, but a percentage of them will," about one in 20, Finch said.
Today Police found Emma Leigh Bakers body along a freeway in LA she was only 18 months old. The mother told police she was putting the toddler in her car seat when someone came up and struck her on the head she awoke to find her daughter missing. Do we have another case of a mother whom killed her child police say there are inconsistencies in her story
Take the Andrea Yates case she was hospitalized in 1999 after attempting suicide she was diagnosed as having major depressive disorder and given Hadol. After becoming pregnant again she stopped taking her medication in 2001 she killed her five children. Could she have been stopped ? The problem is a spouse of loved ones never would think that the people they love would harm their own children .
We had a policeman shoot his 2 kids last year and then killed himself but after this tragedy his family and friends all said he loved those kids. The problem is no one really knows what other people are really thinking .
Depression and related mental illnesses like bipolar disorder are key warning signals for impending
trouble. In Mothers Who Kill Their Children: Understanding the Acts of Moms from Susan Smith to
the “Prom Mom” (2001), Cheryl Meyer and Michelle Oberman state: “In general, depressed mothers have
more thoughts of harming their child than do nondepressed mothers”
Look at the Casey Anthony case her parents are in denial that their daughter would kill her child but she did .Were there warning signs probably .It has to be up to the loved ones to help these women and heed the warning signs.