current events, motherhood

About the mother who ‘killed her kid over farmville’

A recent news article has been bothering me: Mother kills child for interrupting Farmville. Its easy to see a headline like that and shrug it off, forgetting it, because this could never be you, or someone you know. The truth is, she didn’t kill her child because of Farmville. She killed him because he was crying, she got frustrated, and shook the life out of him. While visiting Colorardo we heard frequent PSAs over the radio that shaken babies are the leading cause of death amongst infants in the state. Its tragic. It happens. And its not because of Farmville.

Why then? It could be drugs, lack of support. Or maybe postpartum depression. Studies have shown that one in four babies are born to mothers struggling with depression. I’m glad to hear that pediatricians are now urged to ask new moms about depression because checking for that can not only help a mother going through mental hell, but also help her child. Motherhood is an adjustment. Writers like Anne Lamott have demystified it to some extent- but I can’t imagine how hard it must be for a mother who has a beautiful newborn whom she loves but also has to struggle with overwhelming depression and admit that while everyone else is oohing and awing over her child she wants to curl up in a corner and cry. To do so seems to imply you’re a bad mother- and we mothers are so afraid of the judgments that could be tossed our way. But not reaching out only makes things worse, leading to psychosis and the headlines we read and gasp at.

That’s why sensationalized headlines like this bug me. They mask the everyday serious issues at the root of the situation. It wasn’t farmville. It was frustration. It was depression. It was a host of things- but blaming it on a facebook game only removes us from the situation. Something was wrong in that house before that game turned on and that’s what we should be talking about.  If we took stories like this to remind ourselves to keep our eyes out and our compassion open towards new mothers so they have a safe person they can talk to if they feel frustrated or feel like they’re getting depressed- we could avoid these stories, one person at a time.  I know beautiful, intelligent, smart, funny women who love their children just as fiercely as the next mama bear but who had to battle postpartum depression. It doesn’t just happen to farmville playing folks who are nothing like us. Headlines like these do everything to get attention but nothing to solve the root societal issue which truly needs to be addressed.

10 thoughts on “About the mother who ‘killed her kid over farmville’”

  1. It's a very sad piece of news. Today I was watching Jon Stewart's rally on the news and he criticized the 24 hour news cycle for sensationalizing the news – and what he said ties very well to what you mentioned here. Farmville was put into the news just as a headline grabber.

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  2. Kate- exactly- can't imagine ever doing it myself- but I feel some degree of empathy for the mother and what her circumstances may have been.

    Mystic- exactly- its depressing and shouldn't be marketed as a freak show, circus act.

    Mezba- yep you're exactly right. Its so stupid. These 24/7 news media cycles focus on the same few “attention grabbing” headlines w/out any sort of introspection or “lesson to be learned”, its all just a circus side show act these days, these cable news networks- its depressing.

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  3. My God, I don't believe this. It's as if you're saying it was just one little mistake made by a sick woman. She's got problems so go easy on her. Forget about how those hands you're holding wrenched the life from the same infant she gave birth to. Forget about the dead baby, let's all focus on what's wrong with his killer. That's what's important, right?
    Forgetting about the victim so the criminal can get on with life as a productive citizen.

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  4. Hi- nope didn't say anywhere here to go easy on her- or to forget about the baby or that its one little mistake- she did something heinous and what happened is a tragedy. Didn't say it wasn't. My issue is not with that, my issue was simply with the way the media took this tragedy and simply decided to use it as a freak show event rather than take from it a common problem that needs to be addressed so other tragedies like this could be stopped. She will be punished- and she should be- an innocent life was lost due to her choices- but its not farmville that did it- the issue was deeper and incidents like this are not isolated- so as a society we have to figure out why this keeps happening, I offered some ideas on the why, and we need to figure out how to make sure it doesn't happen again.

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