Post partum depression : why some men don’t get it
Baltimore Examiner (MD) – Monday, February 14, 2011
Author: Carolyn K. Erwin
This case cries out for mercy
Sarah (not her real name) is a 29 year old woman burdened by guilt. She murdered her two year old daughter, and is now in prison serving a life sentence. At the time of the murder , Sarah was a single mother with four children ranging in age from eight years old to four months. By all accounts, before this tragic incident, Sarah had been a loving mother who cared well for her children. But on that fateful day, something snapped in Sarah as she tried to quiet her two year old from crying. The autopsy revealed the cause of the child’s death as suffocation. Under questioning at the police station, Sarah confessed, and waived her right to legal counsel during the police interrogation. So heavy was her burden of guilt, she would later waive her right to a jury trial; and instead throw herself on the mercy of the court to decide her punishment. The defense attorney, who represented her at the trial, mentioned that Sarah was suffering from post partum depression for which she had been taking medication presumably prescribed by a medical doctor. But he offered no expert witness testimony to corroborate this fact. Up to this point in her life, Sarah had been a model citizen with no arrest record, no criminal behavior and no prior incidents of violence toward any one. Yet, unexplainably, Sarah snapped that day, and this judge threw the book at her.
Two wrongs don’t make it right
There are two wrongs here. The most obvious of course is the murder of an innocent child by its mother. The second is the unmerciful judge who chose to focus only on the crime while ignoring Sarah’s underlying mental health issues that may have precipitated it. Could the judge have delayed his decision to request a probation report on Sarah? Could the judge have ordered a mental health evaluation to determine if Sarah’s claim of post partum depression had merit? Yes, but he did neither. I do not excuse or ignore what Sarah did. But when we have an opportunity to show mercy toward others as God has shown mercy toward us, we ought to do it. This case cries out for mercy.
I believe there is hope for Sarah. If you agree that Sarah should have a new trial use this and other social media to put the word out there.
Section: Baltimore Faith & Everyday Life Examiner
Record Number: 2a446621777382e4ece07b82e6d9c29e12b3710
Source: Examiner.com. Copyright held by author. 2011 All Rights Reserved.