Greenwich Time

Conn. mother accused of killing children may have suffered postpartum psychosis

- Those who are seeking help for postpartum depression can contact Postpartum Support Internatio­nal at 800-944-4773. Staff writer Mark Zaretsky contribute­d to this story.

Former Connecticu­t resident Lindsay Musgrove Clancy was likely suffering from postpartum psychosis — an intense mental illness — when she strangled her three children to death before attempting suicide in Massachuse­tts last week, according to a psychology experts.

Her husband Patrick posted an emotional note online, forgiving his wife who he said suffered from a condition, which he did not name, that “rapidly worsened.”

“I want to ask all of you that you find it deep within yourselves to forgive Lindsay, as I have,” he posted Saturday on the GoFundMe page started to help him recover.

“The real Lindsay was generously loving and caring towards everyone — me, our kids, family, friends and her parents. The very fibers of her soul are loving. All I wish for her now is that she can somehow find peace.”

Mental health issues, especially in new mothers are often misunderst­ood and under-diagnosed, said Abbie Goldberg, clinical psychologi­st and psychology professor at Clark University in Worchester, Mass.

“Postpartum psychosis is real and may not manifest for weeks or months after the family brings home a baby,” Goldberg said. “It is essential that we as a society become more knowledgea­ble about these conditions and signs that someone may be suffering.”

Goldberg, who is an expert in postpartum, mental illness and maternal familicide, believes based on her understand­ing of the case that the 32-year-old Clancy was suffering from postpartum psychosis when authoritie­s say she killed her two older children Cora, 5 and Dawson, 3, and gravely injured her baby, Callan, who was 7 months old when he died Friday at a Boston hospital.

Clancy jumped out of a second-story window in what is believed to be a suicide attempt before her husband returned to their home last Tuesday in Duxbury, Mass.

Clancy, who graduated from Quinnipiac University and Lyman Hall High School in Wallingfor­d where neighbors say her parents still live, will be charged with murder, three counts of strangulat­ion and three counts of assault and battery with a weapon when she is released from the hospital, an arrest warrant issued last week stated.

Goldberg said many people “rage against the parent” when these incidents occur, but she said the person likely has a serious mental illness.

“The vast majority of people who do something like this have something seriously wrong,” Goldberg said.

About half of new mothers experience some form of the “baby blues” for a few weeks after giving birth, according to Goldberg and Dr. Javeed Sukhera, chair of psychiatry at the Institute of Living and the chief of psychiatry at Hartford Hospital.

“It’s extremely common,” Sukhera said.

But if a low mood, changes in energy levels or depression last longer than two weeks, the mother could be experienci­ng postpartum depression and should seek help, Sukhera said. Postpartum depression affects 10 to 20 percent of mothers, the clinicians said.

Postpartum depression can lead to a mother feeling detached from her new child, mood swings, changes in sleep and an inability to have fun, Sukhera said. Therapy and medication depending on the course of treatment

can help, he said.

It was previously believed that the condition was related to hormones, but now it is understood that fathers and adoptive parents can also experience postpartum depression due to the stresses of bringing home a new baby, Goldberg said.

People who experience postpartum depression are more likely to have had a previous episode of depression, Goldberg said.

“It can very challengin­g,” she said. “Sometimes people have a lack of access to treatment or a lack of access to parental support. The pressures on women are tremendous. There’s a lot of joy in becoming a parent, but it’s also stressful.”

Postpartum psychosis is extremely rare, comprising about 0.01 to 0.02 percent of cases of

postpartum depression, Goldberg and Sukhera said.

The condition is marked by hallucinat­ions, delusions, hearing voices and a detachment from reality, Goldberg said. Only about 5 percent of those diagnosed with postpartum psychosis will attempt to harm themselves or their children, she said.

Clancy was on leave as a labor and delivery nurse at Massachuse­tts General Hospital and attending an intensive program five days a week for postpartum depression, according to radio host John DePetro, whose show can be heard in Massachuse­tts, Rhode Island and Connecticu­t.

 ?? David L. Ryan / Associated Press ?? The home of Lindsay Clancy, where police say she strangled her three children last week in Duxbury, Mass.
David L. Ryan / Associated Press The home of Lindsay Clancy, where police say she strangled her three children last week in Duxbury, Mass.

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