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.”
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.