Mum suffering severe postnatal depression smothered own baby to death
Did you know that baby blues could go away in a few weeks’ time, but postpartum depression could go on for weeks, months or even years.
Despite the many proof that mental illness is a real and legitimate medical concern, there is still a surprising disconnect between those who suffer from it and the medical world as a whole.
The case of 37-year-old mother Erin Sutherland is a living, breathing proof of this disconnect.
In 2015, Erin Sutherland, suffering from a severe case of postpartum depression, smothered her nine-month-old daughter Chloe in their Edinburg home.
The mother eventually admitted to her crime.
“She admitted culpable homicide due to diminished responsibility and was jailed for three years, but the judge said she should only be sent to prison if she was well enough to leave psychiatric hospital,” a Mirror report said.
The saddest thing about it was that it could have been prevented had the mental health services intervened. However, reports said that Erin’s condition had been “let down repeatedly by the system.”
In fact, the High Court in Edinburgh heard that she had “severe” postnatal depression, but because her daughter was older than six months, she was turned down for support by a perinatal mental health team.
Said the same Mirror report:
“The Mental Welfare Commission, who produced the report for the Scottish Government, said there was ‘very limited communication’ between the different bodies involved in treating Sutherland.”
Meanwhile, Jamie Hepburn, the mental health minister, has already instructed the MWC to carry out an investigation into Erin’s care before Chloe’s death.
Additionally, the Mental Welfare Commission found that there had been "missed opportunities for referral to postnatal and adult mental health services.”
They also criticized the "very limited communication" between the organisations involved in her treatment.
Find out the difference between baby blues and PPD on the next page!
Difference between baby blues and postpartum depression
Baby blues could go away in a few weeks’ time. Postpartum depression, on the other hand, could last weeks, but in some cases, go on for months or even years.
Baby blues may simply make you feel irritable to a certain degree, but nothing a little comfort may cure—affection from the husband, a little ‘me’ time, or a simple indulgence like chocolate.
Postpartum depression makes you feel more out of control with your anger that mood swings become extreme, sometimes triggering thoughts of harming yourself or worse, your baby.
This is why it's important that mothers who suffer from the affliction receive support from their family as well as their doctors. It could literally save a life.