LA Mother Accused of Drowning Her Kids & It’s Every Bit as Tragic as It Sounds

tub faucetIt's a sad and horrific story. An as yet unidentified LA mother has been taken into custody for allegedly attempting to drown her 1- and 5-year-old daughters in the family's tub. And just like Andrea Yates -- the Texas mom convicted of doing the same thing a decade ago -- there's talk that this mom was suffering from depression but never got the treatment that very well could have prevented tragedy.

According to the LAPD, the girls' father was out at the grocery store when the woman "snapped." Police say he came home and was able to stop his wife before calling 911, but not early enough to prevent injuries that would claim his 1-year-old's life. Their 5-year-old remains in critical condition.


It's a sad story any way you approach it. A parent hurting their child is one of the worst crimes imaginable. As a mom, when I read about unspeakable horrors inflicted on kids, my mind jumps immediately to my own daughter. She most certainly has driven me bonkers a time or two, but I can say with complete certainty that never, even in my darkest most depressed hour, has the idea of hurting her ever wandered through the synapses of my brain.

And yet there's an undercurrent to this tragedy in Los Angeles that makes it harder to take than most. Both the father and the woman's neighbors are speaking out about a woman they're describing as possibly suicidal. The father allegedly told neighbors that he had asked her to seek help for her serious depression, but she hadn't done so. If their assessments are right, instead of the dark evil creature that springs to mind when you hear "parent hurt her own child," it's very possible this accused mom was a victim herself.

She sounds like a victim of the iron fist that wraps around your brain and squeezes when you're dealing with mental health issues, often making it impossible to control your own functions. It sounds like she's a victim of a society where mental health issues are all too often ignored or dismissed. Even the claims that the father told her to go to a doctor are evidence of a society that doesn't yet understand how psychosis works: it's not as simple as getting up off the couch and walking into a physician's office. It's up to the people who love someone with a mental illness to do the heavy lifting, to get them to a doctor's office, to get them on the road to recovery.

It sounds like there were two tragedies in Los Angeles this week; first and foremost that children were hurt, and second that a woman who needed help didn't get it. Sadly, if this is true, it's the second tragedy that may have led to the first.

Have you ever struggled with mental illness in your family? Who was the support system?


Image via Joe Shlabotnik/Flickr

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