In a shocking and tragic incident, a mother with postpartum depression has reportedly confessed to have murdered her own seven-month-old baby girl in Bengaluru. The murder came to light when the body was found in a water-sump in the Pategarapalya in Vijaynagar police limits.
Postpartum depression is a type of clinical depression that affects a woman after childbirth.
What was initially suspected to be a case of accidental drowning, after investigation pointed out to the involvement of the 23-year-old mother Shilpa.
Bangalore Mirror reported that it was only after questioning the neighbours and relatives, the cops suspected foul-play and zeroed in on Shilpa, who spilt the beans on Monday.
“During questioning, she admitted to killing her baby Chandana. The sequence of events that culminated in the killing suggests that it was triggered by post-natal depression (another term for postpartum depression) that she was suffering,” police sources told BM.
Chandana was her second daughter while the elder daughter is now three years old, according to the police.
Shilpa was reportedly suffering depression ever since Chandana's birth and had been undergoing treatment at a local hospital.
According to the report, her husband Vijayakumar is said to have abandoned her upon realising her condition.
“The woman did not have any strong emotional support system. With her husband abandoning her after the birth of the second girl-child, her frustration levels increased,” the neighbours reportedly told the police.
Postpartum depression is a type of clinical depression, the symptoms of which may include sadness, low energy levels, changes in sleeping and eating patterns, reduced desire for sex, crying episodes, anxiety and irritability.
The first dedicated inpatient mother-baby unit was started in Bengaluru in 2009 at National Institute of Mental Health & Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS) to treat postpartum behaviours.
The newspaper quoted Dr Prabha Chandra, professor of psychiatry, who is currently working on postpartum behaviour and psychosis in urban women, saying “What we have found out in our study is that most women often take such an extreme step as often they hear voices saying that `your child is a devil...Your child will be killed'. So some affected women think it is better to take this extreme step rather than making the baby go through that suffering. It might be a rare type of crime, but it is treated differently in different countries. In India, such cases are treated differently by the law. In the US, many women have also been acquitted because it is a clinical problem and requires intervention.”