Let's Heed Moms' Warning Signs

By Drew Nelles,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 1, 2009 4:13 PM CDT
This photo shows Otty Sanchez with her son, Scott Wesley Buchholz-Sanchez in San Antonio. Sanchez, 33, is charged with capital murder in the baby's death and could face the death penalty.   (AP Photo/Scott Bucholz)
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(Newser) – It’s easy to demonize Otty Sanchez, the Texas mother who allegedly killed and ate parts of her weeks-old son, but the case suggests “some steps we as a society should be taking to support new mothers,” Karen Houppert writes in Salon. Even the medical community is ignorant about postpartum depression; Sanchez, a schizophrenic, was off her meds, likely thanks to a doctor’s simplistic advice not to mix drugs and breast-feeding. She even sought help in an emergency room but was sent home.

Americans don’t yet understand that killer moms need help, but others do. England and Canada are among the many countries with laws automatically reducing charges in such cases to manslaughter. Mothers who kill their children usually do so in a twisted sense of protection, and Sanchez “won't need the law or religion to punish her; she has constructed her own hell from which she'll never escape.”