We memorialize and pillory: when moms murder

This is a tough topic. Recently in Winnipeg a mother killed her two young children and then herself. She was apparently suffering from postpartum depression. The community support for the “family” was positive–stacks of teddy bears left outside the [likely empty] home where the children died, tears and efforts to understand.

About a year earlier, an aboriginal mom participated with a partner in the murder of her young daughter. She is in jail, with a guard outside her cell–no one (no one I have heard) speaks up with compassion.

In one case the mother punished herself with death, and the community responds by feeling sorry and kind–nothing left to do but be generous (and perhaps glad it’s not “me”).

In the other case, there’s a pound of flesh to extract.  This mother did not kill herself or die, but was arrested and criminalized, a pariah in her own community and in the eyes of the general citizenry. I guess we like to think that nobody can be so bad unless they are a hybrid, human monster–definately not “me”!

My question starts with why we become so invested in the tragedy of others. When a mom kills her kids and herself, why do other moms get on the news saying they need to explain this situation to their children. In WInnipeg, mothers took their little children to the crime site, and they left teddy bears and flowers in sympathy. How does this help? This is not a Greek drama, with fictionalized characters, performed for our edification and  catharsis.Who actually, eventually is responsible for cleaning up this unasked for accumulation? .

Alternately, how healthy is the level of viciousness that we aim at the living murdering mother? Does it change laws or add preventive supports to blame her?

The show of care is senselessly soft, and the show of blame is simply senseless–what we do rather than think about why things happen and how we could live together better.

What do other mom bloggers say about moms who get into trouble for hurting their kids? My guess is in many cases there’s a rush to judgment, maybe condemnation, as this is fertile ground for more mommy warring. What if we tried to make some peace here?

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