Wednesday, September 27, 2006

No Excuses

Last night a young woman in Alberta was convicted of Second degree murder for the death of her newborn infant. Her trial had been in the news quite a bit over the last couple of weeks. The defense was trying to get her found guilty of the lesser charge of infanticide due to mental illness. This young woman hid her pregnancy and gave birth in her parents basement. When the newborn started crying, she wrapped a pair of her underwear around his little neck and tossed him over the fence into her neighbour's yard. When the dead baby was found, she at first claimed that she had never had a child, then she claimed that she did have a baby, but gave him away, then she claimed that her boyfriend did it, before finally admitting what she had done. The girls family call the verdict a travesty of justice.

Being a relatively new Mum, I followed the trial somewhat, and I had very strong feelings about it. I find that more and more mental illnesses such as post partum depression are being used as handy excuses to get away with doing things that everyone knows is wrong. "I didn't mean to shoot that girl/kill my baby/run my neighbour over, but I couldn't help it. I'm depressed." It makes me sad, and it makes me angry that people can get away with these things. I acknowledge that there are people out there who are mentally ill, who perhaps cannot see the difference between right and wrong, who need medications to keep themselves level. I do not, however, believe that depression/mental illness is as common as drug companies and Dr. Phil would have us believe.

I had a hard time after Mary was born. An Extremely Hard Time. I know others who went through extremely difficult times after their children were born. Yes, I did in fact have thoughts about hurting my baby, and hurting myself. I also knew that they were wrong. I knew that as tempting as it was, it was wrong to put my baby out in a snowbank until she stopped screaming. I got help from my husband, from my friends and from my doctor. I didn't kill my baby, but if I had, I certainly would expect to be punished. Murder is murder, whether it is a baby, a toddler, a teenager, your spouse, your mother. Murder is murder, whether you are depressed or not. I believe this girl knew what she was doing was wrong from the moment that baby was born, and the proof is in the fact that she lied and lied and lied about what actually happened.


Eman said...

Actually this case is a little off because in our justice system murder is not always murder.

I personally would have thought she would have been found guilty of infanticide although I haven't read up extensively on the case.

Our justice system has recognized that women are often not in their right frame of mind after birth. That is why the charge of infanticide was created.

As for her lying that sounds like someone who's not in their right mind.

But I do agree with you about clinical depression. It is far too wasily diagnosed nowadays, and doctor's are too quick to prescribe pills for it.

Kristeen said...

I pretty much agree with you. I think cases like Susan Smith or the woman who drowned her kids in the bathtub are different. I think this bitch knew what she was doing from day 1. She was with it enough to lie and hide her pregnancy from her parents and everyone she knew. She knew damn well what she was doing and deserves everything she got.

Rodicon said...

At what point is the family 'victims'? Victim implies hurt by things beyond your own control not your own stupidity. Christ, if that was the case were all 'victims'.

They were obviously not an open family or she could and would have told them about the pregnancy. What was worse her going to jail for life? Or her parents driving her into the street and out of the in rage? Is he screaming loudest becasue he feels the most guilty about this?

Besides how do you HIDE a pregnancy?! (insert nasty comment about North American diet) THe pill, no parents required and 13 dollar a month piece of mind. Mind you that would mean a)maturity and b)responsibility none of which are in any evidence here.

Goody said...

Well, you know how I feel about people copping psychiatric excuses for criminal behaviour...

If everyone that ever had a homicidal thought acted upon it we'd all be dead. Having the potential to kill and actually doing it...

(Ugh, I just deleted a much longer response because I'm all soap-boxed out today and sick of sounding like little-miss-know-it-all).

James said...

The thing that bugs me a lot about this is the family. I mean, yes, the mother strangling her child, throwing it someone's yard and then lying about it badly is disturbing.

But that event is the end of a long chain of neglect and abuse that started with that girl's parents, if not earlier. It's the tip of the iceberg. I consider the whole family to be responsible for this one.

Baby Beware said...

Okay, I'll bite...

How, then, do you fathom that a sane woman kills her child, KNOWING it is wrong, and being 100% sane. How can you be sane and kill your baby?

Those who know me to be quick to judge on just about every aspect of life and politics. But after what I went though this past year I have to have some sympathy for any mother that finds a way to rationalize killing their baby.

If you think you are disturbed by it imagine living with killing your baby for the rest of your life.

I have met women who can not be alone in a room with their children, and haven't been able to do so for years. These women are suffering from a far more real thing than any one who hasn't been there can imagine. And when we would meet, their sorrow was like a giant elephant in the room.

Compared to them, I was lucky. But I am also very aware that I was not only not myself, but I was unable to come back from a very scary, and very real place. And again, those who know me know me to have an iron will.

Perhaps it is overdiagnosed, but PPD is real, and while I don't condone killing babies I think its incredibly dangerous dismiss it entirely. Remembering of course that there are only a few extreme cases... And probably EVERY time depression related murder happens it gets reported by our wonderfully oversensationalist media.

I am also sad that there is no longer any funding in Mental Health for PPD. In our community the breif intervention clinique has been closed, leaving women who are suffering after they have a baby with a THREE WEEK WAITING LIST to get help. This is disturbing to me because had I waited 3 weeks God only knows how much further down the road I would have been.

I have chosen to see a Naturapath for my remaining symptoms, which costs alot of money and requires a ridiculous amount of commitment. Not every one has that luxery. And while I have been strictly synical until now about anti-depressants I think its that attitude that keeps people who really need the drugs from taking them... and that's how this shit happens.

Woh! I just started typing and this all just came out! Sorry about that... Its just a really really complex issue and some of the general disdain in the other comments were just to black and white for me.

Nice Blog my friend. Its my first visit!