In connection with recent news about Lindsay Clancy strangling her kids to death due to postpartum depression, I cannot stay silent.
Lindsay had told a psychologist she had heard ta voice in her head telling her to kill her children shortly before their deaths.
While suffering from postnatal depression after having my twins in 2016, I too heard voices in my head telling me to hurt my kids.
Luckily, in my case, common sense prevailed at that moment but this is not the case for everyone.
The statistics that 1 in 7 women suffer from PND are wrong
Statistics say that 1 in 7 women suffer from postnatal depression however, these numbers only refer to reported cases. There are still many more cases that have never been reported so the real numbers are even more alarming.
Most antenatal courses focus too much on birth, which is surely needed, but the problem is that they give only minimal or no information about postnatal mental health and depression.
Even if they do, it is rather on a theoretical level which leaves many new parents feeling like it does not concern them.
The problem is that a new mum is automatically expected to be happy.
However, the reality is often different.
Becoming a mum is a huge shock to the system. Your life changes overnight but you cannot process it from one day to the next. It takes time to adjust to all the changes that come with a baby and the process is rather painful, both physically and emotionally.
But since people don’t talk about it, when a new mum doesn’t experience feelings of pure love and happiness, she often feels like a failure and/or falls into depression.
After our twins were born, I stayed in the hospital for a few weeks during which I had regular midwife checkups. They held a questionnaire in front of them and asked me a series of questions, one of which was: ‘How are you feeling emotionally?’
However, it felt like they just needed to tick off the box and get on. There was no sense of compassion, care, or genuine interest.
Many mums (including myself) therefore suffer in silence and/or anonymously.
They do not understand the condition, they are scared of being judged, or that their children would be taken away from them.
Often, they also feel that by admitting their emotions they would disappoint their loved ones.
Mums who do seek help, are often not taken seriously, have to wait months for treatment, or/and are prescribed antidepressants and that is where it ends.
Lindsay’s defense attorney argues the case exposes a flawed mental health system.’Our society fails miserably in treating women with postnatal depression postpartum psychosis,’ he says.
Lindsay now faces life in prison which is proof that the system urgently needs a change.
Her deed is not a crime, it is an illness.
She is not a murderer, she is a victim.
Postnatal mental health care needs to change. Urgently.
Postnatal depression is an illness like any other that can happen suddenly, without any warning signs, and can happen to anyone regardless of one’s mental health history.
Society needs to understand what postnatal depression ACTUALLY is and the severity of its consequences.
Professionals need to pay more attention to the symptoms of PND and try to prevent these tragedies to the best abilities.
Doctors, midwives, health visitors, and society need to create conditions that would allow new mothers to talk about their feelings without fear of being judged.
They need to start taking it seriously like any other treatment and stop failing to provide relevant help and support.
If this doesn’t change, the number of postnatal depression cases and lost lives will only rise.
Lindsay Clancy is not a murderer. She is a victim!
What do YOU think?
What do YOU think we can do to make a change and stop similar tragedies from happening?
Let me know in the comments!