It’s hard to believe that there are actually women out there who would harm their own children. The very idea would make even the hardest of parents sick to their stomachs. There are however hundreds of women around the world who have committed this unbelievable act. The thing that makes them so different from a disciplining parent who smacks or punishes their child though, is that harming and killing are two very different things.
Increasingly, research points toward mental breakdown in the months after giving birth and postpartum disorders that can range from mild depression and black outs, to full-blown postpartum psychosis. Basically, blame is placed on untreated post natal disorders. According to Mark Levy of Psychology Today, postpartum mood disorders are more common than we think with up to 80 percent of new mothers experiencing mild depression within a year of giving birth. Depression comes in many stages and when it escalates to dangerous levels, some women experience psychosis which, in rare and tragic cases, influences them to kill their offspring.
But can this possibly justify or even explain such horrendous acts against their own children? Is it possible, that some mothers are just plain evil?
In the case of Susan Eubanks, you would certainly think so. The mother of 4 boys, aged from just 4 years old, Eubanks claims to have ‘blacked out’ when she shot all 4 boys in the head. This lapse of consciousness however, was attributed to day-long drinking and the heavy use of Valium with her boyfriend whom she later had a falling out with. This falling out would be the catalyst of the killings with Eubanks losing control of her mind and body. If this was however just a ‘black out’, after which she attempted to commit suicide, then why did her 5 year old nephew escape unharmed?
Then there is Kenisha Berry, whom in 1998 wrapped her 4-day-old son’s mouth and body in duct tape, placed him in a black plastic garbage bag and left him in a dumpster to die. Berry’s baby’s body was not identified until five years after this horrific incident following the discovery of another newborn abandoned in a ditch covered in hundreds of fire-ant bites. Both a tip-off to Police and DNA testing proved Berry to be the mother of both babies. Berry graciously showed investigators where she had thrown a pillowcase that she had wrapped around her second newborn it was in the same dumpster where she had discarded her first baby.
45 year old Lianne Smith found herself obsessed that her children would be taken into care by UK social services because her then boyfriend had paedophile charges against him. Instead of protecting her children who were then 5 years old and a mere 11 months, she suffocated them with a plastic bag in their Spanish hotel room. Smith didn’t try to deny what she had done, in fact, she willingly told Police how she took them from their beds while they were sleeping, pinned their legs down with her own and put a plastic bag over their heads until they were completely asphyxiated. After calling police to the scene, having tried to commit suicide, she calmly told officers ‘I have ended the lives of my two children. I gave the children a three-day holiday, a perfect holiday. I knew they were going to take my children to England. My intention was that my children and me together would go. It wasn’t just the children.’
This was pre-meditated murder. Not just a quick snap or built up post natal depression. Lianne Smith plotted to kill her two small children, and apparently herself, for her fear of her children being taken away from her and her boyfriend. The question that lingers why not just leave the boyfriend and take the kids some place safe?
All 3 women are deservedly serving life sentences, baffling people all over the world as to why or how mums can kill their own children. The irony of it all being that the women get life sentences but all those kids would have wanted was life.