An article out of Sacramento ran today about Kristina Fuelling, a new mother who allegedly drowned her 8-day-old daughter, Faith. Her stunned friends and older sister were quoted in the story, telling about how blissful Kristina was while she was pregnant -- the picture of a glowing new mom, relishing the experience of baby clothes shopping and choosing the perfect name for her daughter.
The thing that stopped me about this story is not the shock Kristina's family and friends expressed, but rather the fact that this story keeps playing over and over, sometimes picked up and blasted through the media, and sometimes below the radar screen.
Yes, a woman can be absolutely glowing and ecstatic about her approaching motherhood. And, just days or even hours after giving birth that very same woman can be completely transformed; reduced to the ravages of postpartum depression that can quickly, or slowly, evolve to psychosis.
Am I surprised that this wonderful 27-year-old allegedly drowned her newborn? Not at all. Am I surprised that we're still reading stories like this one? Absolutely. When will we finally be at a point where every new mom (not to mention her family and friends) is educated on the signs and treatment of postpartum depression before she is ever discharged from a hospital or birthing center. And when will obstetricians take the postpartum period more seriously rather than basically ending their care when they've pulled out the baby? Haven't we had enough lives lost and ruined by this insidious disorder that is so preventable and treatable??
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