Mum bashes baby girl but AVOIDS going to jail. Why?
Little Evie's injuries were deemed to be caused by physical assault, with news reports saying she had "at least eight separate blows to her face and body."
Just looking at this picture of this little girl makes me want to cry as a mum. Who could have caused such horrific bruises on her face? Sadly, in 8-month-old Evie’s case, it was her own mummy.
Mum hits baby with a spoon: WHY?
This unfortunate incident happened in South Australia last year.
Lorien Norman, 26, reportedly rang emergency services at 4am one day, saying she wanted to throw her baby girl off the balcony of her apartment.
When the police got there, they noticed terrible bruising on the little baby’s face and both the woman and her baby were taken to hospital.
Little Evie’s injuries were deemed to be caused by physical assault, with news reports saying she had “at least eight separate blows to her face and body.”
Doctors noted that some of the injuries looked like they were the result of the baby being beaten with a slotted spoon police had seized from Norman’s kitchen.
In court, Norman pleaded guilty to hitting her baby with this spoon, causing the severe bruising on her face.
She is reported to have initially lied to police saying Evie got the injuries in the playground. But doctors confirmed otherwise.
Mum hits baby with a spoon but gets a light sentence?
Despite the confession, Norman was given a 21-month suspended sentence, a two-year good behaviour bond, and a AUS$500 fine by the District Court judge, who reportedly commented that little Evie’s injuries were “likely to resolve”, and that the woman was “clearly remorseful” for her actions.
The judge further said that “Ms Norman had a “troubled adolescence” and had been in and out of an Adelaide clinic with a bordeline personality disorder.”
The little girl’s father Shane McMahon was furious about the decision and vented on social media, saying he had lost faith in the system, and that if he did this to a child that he’d still be in jail.
Postpartum psychiatric illness?
It is heartbreaking seeing little Evie’s injuries. And while those physical bruises will heal, there is no saying if her psychological bruises ever will.
I can’t help but wonder if her mother was suffering from postpartum psychiatric illness, which can be common among mums with young babies.
Here is some information adapted from one of theAsianparent’s article on this condition. You may read the full article by clicking this link.
Postpartum blues or “the baby blues”
The “baby blues” usually occurs within the first week of delivery in 50-85% women and subsides by the second week.
- Mood fluctuations.
These symptoms peak in the first week and improve gradually, says Dr Zachariah.
The symptoms normally subside with sufficient support, rest, sleep and exercise.
This condition is usually observed in the first three months after delivery. In Singapore, approximately 12% of mothers are reported to have PND, according to KK Women’s and Children’s hospital.
- Feelings of persistent sadness and irritability
- Lack of interest
- Negative thoughts
- Changes in appetite
- Inability to care for herself
- Doubt or concerns regarding caring for her baby
Dr Zachariah cautions that PND “may lead to suicidal ideation, although suicide rates are low in women during the postpartum period.”
PND may require treatment with drugs* called SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) such as Prozac, Zoloft and Lexapro, to name a few.
Postnatal Psychosis (puerperal psychosis)
This is a very severe psychiatric disorder, which occurs in 0.1-0.2% or about 1-2 per thousand women after childbirth. It needs immediate intervention.
Symptoms begin a few days after delivery.
- Mood swings
- Irrational and delusional thoughts
Sometimes, mothers with this condition may believe that the child does not belong to her and is evil. Also, the risk of infanticide or suicide is high, says Dr Zachariah. A woman with postpartum psychosis needs close supervision or hospitalization and immediate medical attention.
This condition needs treatment with newer antipsychotics* such as Zyprexa. A severely depressed and suicidal mother may need hospitalization due to high risk to both her own and her baby’s health.
Proper postpartum care reduces the risk
During postpartum visits, obstetricians typically screen for symptoms for postpartum psychiatric illness using the Edinburgh Post Natal Depression Scale.
The period immediately after a woman gives birth provides a good opportunity for healthcare personnel to educate the mother and her partner about postpartum mood disorders such as those described in this article.
Other than this, support from family and friends forms a crucial part of caring for the mother and child.
When a mum has this support, any unusual symptoms become immediately apparent and can be brought to the attention of the obstetrician, general practitioner, or other responsible healthcare provider without delay.