Quick Hit: Miriam Carey may have suffered from postpartum depression

Miriam Carey

Miriam Carey

The national media is still working to put together a picture of yesterday’s D.C. car chase that ended in the death of 34-year-old Miriam Carey. After the unarmed mother of 1-year-old Erica, also in the car, crashed into the gates of the White House, the police open fired — sparking alternating outrage and admiration from commentators.

Recent updates suggest that Carey had suffered from postpartum depression (PPD) since the birth of her daughter, who survived the shooting. ABC reports:

Authorities described Carey has having a “mental illness.”

“She had post-partum depression after having the baby” last August, said the woman’s mother, Idella Carey.

She added, “A few months later, she got sick. She was depressed. … She was hospitalized.”

Carey had a 1-year-old daughter named Erica, her mother said. Police confirmed that a 1-year-old girl was taken from the car and put in “protective custody.”

CNN expands:

The birth of a baby is supposed to bring parents joy, but some moms experience darker emotions following childbirth. While most women experience a form of the “baby blues” after delivery, between 9 and 16% of mothers suffer from a more severe, long-lasting form of depression called postpartum depression, according to the American Psychological Association… It’s unclear if Carey was ever officially diagnosed with these or other mental health conditions.

CBS writes that PPD is usually not associated with violence, and I do worry that the media speculation may feed stigma — though it may also open up a productive conversation about our need for better support structures for new parents. If you think you or someone you care about may be suffering from PPD, make sure to check out available services and resources.

New Haven, CT

Alexandra Brodsky is an editor at Feministing.com, student at Yale Law School, and founding co-director of Know Your IX, a national legal education campaign against campus gender-based violence. Alexandra has written for publications including the New York Times, the Atlantic, the Guardian, and the Nation, and she has spoken about violence against women and reproductive justice on MSNBC, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, FOX, and NPR. Through Know Your IX, she has organized with students across the country to build campuses free from discrimination and violence, developed federal policy on Title IX enforcement, and has testified at the Senate. At Yale Law, Alexandra focuses on antidiscrimination law and is a member of the Veterans Legal Services Clinic. Alexandra is committed to developing and strengthening responses to gender-based violence outside the criminal justice system through writing, organizing, and the law. Keep an eye out for The Feminist Utopia Project, co-edited by Alexandra and forthcoming from the Feminist Press (2015).

Alexandra Brodsky is an editor at Feministing.com, student at Yale Law School, and founding co-director of Know Your IX.

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