Mom Jumps Out of Window With Baby & Reminds Us How Deadly Postpartum Depression Can Be

Horrifying 36

suicideIf you don't believe in miracles, this story just may change your mind. A Manhattan mom jumped from her eighth-floor apartment window with her infant son strapped to her chest. The woman, who landed on her back, died from her injuries, but the 10-month-old survived, only experiencing few scratches. It's probably the one bright spot in this horrific tragedy that has so many people asking, "Why?" It seems that police may already have the answer to that. Cynthia Wachenheim left behind a 13-page, handwritten suicide note that indicated she was suffering from postpartum depression. Some may say that's no excuse for attempting to take her helpless son's life too, but what people have to understand is that she was battling a very real illness that afflicts about 13 percent of all pregnant women and new moms.

In a letter scribbled on small pieces of paper, Wachenheim reportedly talked about failing as a mother, not being happy, and then detailed her deadly plan. She also apologized to her husband for making him suffer, acknowledging that he was going to think she was evil. She even referred to postpartum depression on the last page.

A few hours before she jumped, neighbors say that she was heard having an intense argument with her husband, who stormed out of their two-bedroom condo. And according to police, she was despondent because she thought her baby had cerebral palsy, even though doctors said there was nothing wrong with him. They also said she was taking antidepressants.

This paints a very different picture than her friends described. She was thought to be "wonderful," "devoted," and easy to work with. However, in the months leading up to the suicide, one neighbor said the usually "friendly" Wachenheim seemed stressed out all the time, but still noted she loved her baby. But this is what postpartum depression can do. It can change your behavior drastically. It can make you feel and act like a completely different person.

What is so heartbreaking about this tragedy is that it might have been prevented if she had received the help she clearly needed. One source said that she was actually supposed to see a therapist, but skipped the appointment. While her crime is uncommon, the experience of postpartum depression is one many expectant mothers and moms can relate to. The signs include:

  • Feeling restless or moody
  • Feeling sad, hopeless, and overwhelmed
  • Crying a lot
  • Having no energy or motivation
  • Eating too little or too much
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Having trouble focusing or making decisions
  • Having memory problems
  • Feeling worthless and guilty
  • Losing interest or pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Having headaches, aches and pains, or stomach problems that don't go away

If a mom is down, it's not always just a fleeting bout of baby blues. For many women, they need the help of a qualified doctor. As this story demonstrates, it can be a deadly illness. If you or anyone you know shows signs of postpartum depression, get help immediately. You don't have to suffer through it alone.

Learn more about this tragic story:

Did you experience postpartum depression? What helped you get through it?

emotions, postpartum recovery


To add a comment, please log in with

Use Your CafeMom Profile

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Comment As a Guest

Guest comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.

.LoVe... .LoVeMyBuG.

SO happy the baby is still alive! Poor thing. I admit I don't know much about PPD but I have sufferd from regular depression my entire life, UNTIL I had my baby! My daughter changed my life, I had never been so happy, even though we were broke and life was tough at times I still couldn't have been any happier holding my baby girl, my kids are my world. I will never understand how anyone could hurt their children, depression is an EXCUSE in my eyes and a horrible one at that. I have been depressed, very depressed, dealt with my fair share of tragic events but I never once thought of ever hurting or taking my child's life! Or my own for that matter, just the thought of leaving my children motherless is heartbreaking. What this women did was pure selfishness, PPD or not. How horrible. Hope her husband and child left behind can heal and move forward and have a happy life. 

Pinkmani Pinkmani

She probably jumped with him in her arms so that someone would find him after she died. If she left him in the apartment, it might take a while for someone to find him. I never experienced postpartum depression, but when I was depressed I was a complete bitch to my family. They had to walk on eggshells around me. Saying the wrong thing would make me burst into tears or start an arguing match. 

Bloom... Bloomie79

PPD is not an excuse, in these extreme cases it is Postpartum psychosis and it requires medical treatment. It is ridiculous to compare your depression to this event, you clearly have no clue. 

Choco... Chocodoxies

Having suffered with truly sever depression off and on thorughout my life, I can tell you that this woman was hurting deeply and does not deserve our anger. I remember being so overwhelmed with depression that I crawled in a ball on the floor of my kitchen and fell asleep dreaming up ways to end my life. Depression is not something you can "overcome" through the power of positive thought or because you don't want others to hurt when you are gone.

Thank heavens the baby is alright. I feel so badly for this woman, her poor baby that will grow up without a mother and her husband. That poor man's last interaction with his wife was an angry argument with a very sick woman. He will likely need years of therapy to overcome this. 

nonmember avatar Arnold Bujumbur

The baby will have a great future now that his mom is dead...

Amanda Thomas

^^Wow, Arnold. 


I have dealt with PPD.  And while I never could imagine doing something like what this woman did I can empathize with her.  I am so relieved that the baby survived and I am heartbroken that he lost his mother.  No child should go through that.

tuscani tuscani

I went thru a Horrific PPD with the birht of my 3rd son... As a result when I got better I started the first PPD PPP Support in the Enitre State of ARIZONA> YES. PPD, not just PPP, can cause a woman to do this!!! Please think before you make such blanket, hurtful remarks. PPP is defined by losing touch with reality, hearing voices, seeingthings, etc.... PPD can be so severe that a woman can be both Suicidal AND Homicidal without being (TechinicallY) Psychotic.

The ignorant remarks I hear, No wonder in the 30 years since I started the first group does it appear we have not come along way, Baby!.

I WAS not on anti-depressants...Heck back then we didn't have things like Zoloft or Prozac or any of the SSRI's... We had Tri0Cyclics. Horrible meds for most with bad side effects. So bad most people went off them. I refused antie-depressants until I became sicker and sicker and sicker and ended up with a 2 month stay in a psych ward looking at ECT!!!!

So, YES!!! PPD has many forms, from mild to extremely severe... And you don't have to be hearing voices and diagnosed Psychotic to be in danger. For shame on you.


tuscani tuscani



Women, there is help. Please, most states now have local chapters. If you can not find help I will find you help. I am very connected in ALL states. I even reveiwed books on the subject. PM me. Do not listen to these people who haven't even a backwards clue!

This is something I would not wish on my worst enemy!

A local TV station interviewed my several years back when the Andrea Yates case happened...How sad we only give PPD/PPP recognition after the fact. Most of the calls I reaceived afterwards weren't women looking for help for themselves..Most women at that point aren't able. It wastheir Husbands or their mothers, Godbless them.

I remember a call froma a man in his 80's. I wondered "What could he want?" I foundout..He told me "You know, I think my nother had that back in 1930 something....3 days after I was born she went outside and lit herself on fire!"

It is very real. There is help. Again..If you can't find it PM me and I will find it for you...Trolls had best stay away.

tuscani tuscani

Sorry for the spelling errors....This has been my lifelong work. I take it seriously.

Cassandra Huber

For those of you thinking you can compare your regular depression to PPD and use insensitive comments, I'd advise you do some damn research about PPD before judging others. I have been struggling with PPD and all I want is for the agony of it to just end. It can ruin your marriage in even the less severe cases if you don't have a patient, supportive husband. Luckily I do. I have had the most horriffic thoughts that aren't worth mentioning on here due to the judgy holier than thou type who will just tear me down more than I am, but I have a great support system that I communicate this stuff to, to keep myself from acting the thoughts out. I wouldn't harm my son in a million years, but can totally understand what is going on in the head of someone who does. The thoughts that go through my head terrify me. Hearing people cut this mother down really pisses me off and makes me want to punch every single one of you because people like you that refuse to understand PPD, and only are out to tear us down more are why so many women go over the edge. Do you know how hard it is for a mom with PPD to seek help, due to the stigma and fear of being labeled as a "bad parent?" Yea, I didn't think so. So until you have been there yourself, or open a damn book to learn, you have no right to even talk.

1-10 of 36 comments 1234 Last