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.