'Pregnancy Denial' May Explain Infanticide Problem in France

Sasha Brown-Worsham

pregnancy womanWhen the bodies of eight newborn babies born to Dominique Cottrez were discovered last week in France, people around the world were all asking the same question: Why?

We may have an answer. Authorities in France are investigating a little-known syndrome called pregnancy denial.

Time Magazine reports that pregnancy denial is a quasi-schizophrenic condition in which women either don't realize or cannot accept that they are with child -- not even enough to have an abortion. They refuse to believe they're pregnant even when the reality confronts them.

Does this mean I need to feel guilty for calling that mom who dumped her baby in the trash a "bad mom"? This mom essentially did that to eight of her babies -- on eight different occasions. This condition has afflicted five other mothers in France in the past few years alone.

And I have to just ask again ... why?

The condition is caused by many things, including previous trauma (abuse or rape) as well as other factors. The frequency of the syndrome is on the rise in France and experts are attributing it to changing morals regarding the family and motherhood there. It's mothers who fail to identify themselves as mothers. Women who are convinced they are not pregnant. So when the baby comes, they're unable to see it as a baby.

I have to say I believe this is probably possible. There is just no other explanation for the mothers who flush newborns down the toilet, throw them in the trash, or toss them out the window.

And for we all know, this problem is not just French. 

Have you heard of pregnancy denial? What do you think of it?


Image via dizznbonn/Flickr
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