Mum microwaves newborn to death - a severe case of postnatal depression?

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A judge has imposed a 26-years-to-life sentence on Ka Yang, the mother of the baby.

A horrifying case of a mother microwaving her newborn daughter to death is in the news these days.

The 34-year-old mother based in the US -- Ka Yang -- was sentenced to 26-years-to-life in prison on Friday 18 December.

Ka Yang is said to have placed her baby girl Mirabelle Thao-Lo in the microwave for nearly five minutes, according to Yahoo 7 News.

Reports say that the baby -- under two months of age -- suffered burns to over 60% of her body, with some deep enough to damage her internal organs. The incident took place at Yang’s home in Sacramento, California back in 2011.

During the hearing in 2012, Dr Gregory Reiber reportedly said that the baby suffered multiple burns, with the most serious burn appearing to be caused by radiation. The radiation burn seemed to have penetrated the internal organs and "cooked through" to her stomach and small intestine, say reports.

The baby girl's pacifier was also found in the microwave.

Ka Yang has been convicted of both first-degree murder and assault, but has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Her lawyer claims that the woman had an epileptic fit during the 11 minutes she was alone with her baby in a report by KOVR tv.

Meanwhile, an affidavit states that Ka Yang told police she had passed out while holding the baby, who had fallen next to a heater, according to other news reports.

The affidavit also mentions that while Ka Yang does have a history of seizures, paramedics had determined that she was not disoriented when they found her.

She is married and has three other children under the ages of 10.

What caused her horrifying behaviour?

Ka Yang is said to suffer from seizures -- which may affect how a person appears or acts for a short time. A grand mal seizure, also known as a generalised tonic clonic seizure, features a loss of consciousness and violent muscle contractions.

However, readers commenting on a Huffington Post article reporting on this same story have said all signs point to postnatal depression.

One commentator says:

"Sounds like post-partum psychosis, with epilepsy as the underlying disease! I'm very surprised her attorney didn't use that defense, as this woman clearly is unhinged.

"She harmed only the newborn and not her other three kids and that is classic post-partum psychosis directed at the source of her depression. She needs psychiatric help and should have been confined in a facility that could counsel her for several years.

"A virtual life sentence thrusts her into a prison without any hope of her getting better. How on earth does that help society when and if she is released?"

Another reader says:

"You literally cannot do anything during a seizure usually but this lady apparently was able to pick up her child and put her in the microwave and turn it on for 5 minutes during her seizure?"

Regardless of the underlying cause, a little life is now gone.

If you, or anyone you know suffers from seizures, do note that help can be found at the Epilepsy Care Group Singapore.

And likewise, if you think you or someone you know may be suffering from postnatal depression, seek help from your doctor without delay.

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