The depressed mother defense: baby blues and terrible twos
The baby blues
Remember Sheryl Lynn Massip, a mother in her mid-twenties who murdered her 6-month-old son by crushing his head under the wheel of the family car? Massip systematically covered up the murder until she was discovered Then she testified that she suffered from postpartum depression – or baby blues. Her sentence’ TreatmentM
Do dads get the baby blues’
Mothers do, of course, get the baby blues. As do dads. A dad often feels like the mother has left him for another lover. Husbands often say, "It’s she and the baby cuddling on the couch and me looking on,” or, "Now I know the meaning of two’s company, three’s a crowd," or, “My wife and I used to spend lots of time together but now we don’t"; or, "We’ve barely made love for two years – since the baby was born." Were the husband to kill his baby, as Sheryl Lynn did, it is unlikely we would just treat him for baby blues or save the marriage syndrome. Why does her version of baby blues allow her to receive treatment for child murder while he would receive life in prison for child murder with or without baby blues?
The terrible two*
Josephine Mesa beat her 2-year-old son to death with the wooden handle of a toilet plunger.” She then buried the battered baby in a trash bin. When scavengers found the baby outside her Oceanside, California, apartment, she denied she knew him. When the evidence became overwhelming, she confessed. The excuse? She was depressed. The child was going through the terrible twos The punishment’ Counseling, probation, and antidepressants She never spent a day behind bars’* (Even her own probation officer had recommended at least thirty days in jail after Mesa had repeatedly been delinquent in showing up for appointments.)