There are times when a mom shouldn't breastfeed: if she is taking cancer chemotherapy agents; if she's got untreated tuberculosis; if she's undergoing radiation therapies (though nuclear types only require a temporary break). Also, if she is an alcoholic or drug addict.
Maggie Jean Wortmon of California was arrested and charged with child abuse, involuntary manslaughter, and second degree murder after she breastfed her 6-week-old son, Michael, while high on methamphetamine, which resulted in his death.
Contrary to popular belief, a mother does not need a great diet to breastfeed. In fact, you really don't even need that good of one. Just like with pregnancy, a poor diet is more likely to affect you badly because your body will leech nutrients out of you and give them to your baby; whether or not you replace those missing nutrients from YOUR body is the issue there. You're still going to make great milk for your baby whether you're chowing down on strawberry spinach salads or double Whoppers. But if you eat like crap, you'll feel like it, too. (Not eating or drinking enough can affect the amount of milk you make, though.)
In fact, a mom can even enjoy some alcohol now and then without it being a negative thing for her baby. The same does not go for methamphetamine, however. Not only should meth addicts not be breastfeeding, but they shouldn't even be parenting. The idea that a mother would not only do meth while caring for a newborn, but then would breastfeed her baby enough that the amount of meth in his little tiny system would kill him just infuriates me. It's that conscious disregard for her baby's health that earned her the second-degree murder charge, says a deputy district attorney:
I think that her conduct is, or was, so intentionally reckless that it rises to the level of implied malice. And I think that a mother who is breast-feeding using the quantity of methamphetamine she did, I think that rises to a second-degree murder charge.
Of course, Wortmon's lawyer disagrees (surprise!), saying she's an addict but not a killer: "This is an overcharge. It makes her out to be a terrible, horrible person who needs to be locked away for the rest of her life. And my client is not that person."
Sorry dude, I know it's your job to defend her, but you know what? She IS a terrible, horrible person. I've seen "parenting" done by a meth addict with a 3-year-old before, and while there was no outright abuse, there was some pretty effing stupid, dangerous crap that went on, which fortunately ended when a cop bust found the mom living in a motel and meth and needles in a backpack next to crayons and coloring books. Classy.
But a newborn, really? Either Wortmon was already doing meth while pregnant or decided to hop back on board the second the baby was born, and, frankly, should have probably put the baby up for adoption. High or not, it doesn't excuse her from making such horrible choices that resulted in her baby's death a mere month and a half after his birth.
Do you think she should be charged with murder?
Image via Mark Coggins/Flickr