Why is it that people attribute every murder of a child to postpartum depression?

The following kind of uninformed writing, which appeared in a blog post of a mom on the very popular parenting website Strollerderby, really bugs me. It was written in a piece about the murder of 8-year-old Sandra Cantu in California:

“When women kill children, it’s almost always their own babies and kids, almost always due to postpartum depression.”


I’m sure the writer meant no harm, so I’m not mad at her. I just wish people were better educated about postpartum depression.

Actually, when a woman commits infanticide it’s almost never due to postpartum depression. It’s more likely to be due to postpartum psychosis, which is a different than PPD and a rare illness. AND, only a minute percentage of women with postpartum psychosis ever commit or attempt to commit such a crime. AND, if women with these illnesses were better cared for, none of this would happen in the first place.  AND, postpartum depression and psychosis only occur in the first year after childbirth, so these illnesses can’t be attributed to women who kill older children as this writer implies.

The murder of Sarah Cantu has nothing to do with postpartum depression. People need to be careful when making such blanket statements. I know it was an innocent mistake onher part, but it’s important to correct so that women are not stigmatized.

To learn the difference between the symptoms of postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis, check out:

Postpartum Depression Symptoms (In Plain Mama English)

Postpartum Psychosis Symptoms (In Plain Mama English)