18 Hofstra L. Rev. 1133 (1989-1990)
Postpartum Psychosis: A Way Out for Murderous Moms

handle is hein.journals/hoflr18 and id is 1143 raw text is: NOTE
POSTPARTUM PSYCHOSIS: A WAY OUT
FOR MURDEROUS MOMS?
I. INTRODUCTION
To most observers, it seems like a moment of love, a normal
pairing of mother and child, as the mother carefully bathes her new-
born, or strolls the baby down the street in the direction of the
nearby river. However, to most lay people and physicians alike, the
signs of postpartum psychosis go unnoticed and the fine line between
normalcy and the unthinkable has already been crossed. The appar-
ently normal mother, in a bizarre and horrific moment, snaps, and
kills her newborn child. Unfortunately, these frightening deeds are
not all that rare.1
Today, more postpartum emotional disorders exist than most
people, including physicians, realize. Recent studies indicate that be-
tween fifty to eighty percent of new mothers experience some type of
emotional stress or dysfunction following childbirth.2 However, yes-
1. See infra notes 140-203 and accompanying text (discussing the recent cases which
have utilized a postpartum psychosis defense).
2. See B. CIARAMITARO, HELP Fop. DEPRESSED MOTHERS 118 (2d ed. 1982) (stating
that from 50-80% of all women experience the blues after they give birth); Dalton, Prospec-
tive Study into Puerperal Depression, 118 BRIT. J. PSYCHIATRY 689 (1971) (discussing a study
of mood changes through pregnancy and the puerperium); Davids, DeVault & Talmadge, Psy-
chological Study of Emotional Factors in Pregnancy: A Preliminary Report, 23 PsYcHoso-
MATIC MED. 93 (1961) [hereinafter Davids, Preliminary Report] (studying the psychological
adjustment of women during pregnancy and after delivery); Kumar & Robson, A Prospective
Study of Emotional Disorders in Childbearing Women, 144 BRIT. J. PSYCHIATRY 35 (1984)
(addressing questions about the measurement and prediction of postnatal emotional disorders);
Lee, Postpartum Emotional Disorders, 1984 MED. TRIAL TECH. 286 (1984) (suggesting that
up to 50% of all postpartum women'have some type of emotional dysfunction); Mayberger &
Abramson, The Psychodynamics of Transitory Postpartum Depressive Reactions, 17 J.
ASTHMA REs. 59, 59 (1980) (stating that an important number of women undergoing child-
birth experience a period of emotional stress during the first two weeks following delivery);
Neugebauer, Rate of Depression in the Puerperium, 143 BRIT. J. PSYCHIATRY 421 (1983)

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