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Does Postpartum Psychosis Explain Why Some Mothers Harm Their Children? 

 Posted on March 13, 2023 in Criminal Defense

Fort Worth Criminal Defense LawyerThe human mind is one of the most complex and mysterious phenomena in the universe. While modern medicine has made great strides in explaining and understanding how the brain works, there are still many things we do not fully understand. One such mystery is postpartum psychosis, a severe form of mental illness that can develop after childbirth. For some mothers, postpartum psychosis can lead to extreme behaviors, including harming their own children.

Understanding Postpartum Depression and Psychosis

Medical research shows that postpartum depression affects about 10 to 20 percent of new mothers. It can involve feelings of sadness and hopelessness, guilt, and difficulty forming an emotional connection with a child.

In very rare cases, mothers may experience postpartum psychosis, which manifests in much more extreme symptoms. Sufferers may experience delusions, hallucinations, paranoia, an altered sense of reality, and suicidal or homicidal thoughts.

What causes postpartum psychosis? That is the big question many researchers have been looking to answer for years. While there are many factors that can contribute to this disorder, including biological factors such as hormone imbalances and genetics, psychological factors and societal pressure also play a role.

Criminal Defense Cases involving Postpartum Mental Illness

"Not guilty by reason of insanity" is an affirmative defense in a criminal case, meaning that a defendant admits he or she committed the act, but argues that he or she should not be held criminally culpable due to lack of intention. Courts have determined that postpartum mental illness is a legitimate form of an insanity defense in a criminal case, and postpartum depression and related illnesses have been used to successfully defend against criminal charges involving the injury or death of children. However, jurors, as well as the general public, often misunderstand these complex psychological conditions. More research is needed to understand how and why postpartum mental illness develops and what can be done to prevent mothers from suffering from these conditions.

Contact Our Fort Worth Criminal Defense Lawyer for Crimes Against Children

Plano criminal defense lawyer Darlina Crowder is nationally recognized for her work as a criminal defense attorney. In 2004, she and Robert Udashen secured a "not guilty by reason of insanity" verdict for a woman accused of drowning her children. The skilled legal team at The Crowder Law Firm, P.C. has obtained over 300 favorable outcomes for clients accused of a range of criminal charges.

If you or a loved one are facing criminal charges involving children, you need an attorney who recognizes just how multifaceted these cases are and will fiercely advocate on your behalf. Call 214-303-9600 for a free initial consultation at The Crowder Law Firm, P.C..

 

Sources:

https://www.ojp.gov/ncjrs/virtual-library/abstracts/postpartum-depression-syndrome-defense-criminal-behavior

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/postpartum-depression/symptoms-causes/syc-20376617

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/law-disorder/202002/not-guilty-reason-insanity

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