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Did you Here This?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I think most of you who watch the news have heard about this:

Houston Tragedy: 5 Children Dead.Is Postpartum Psychosis to blame?
Andrea Yates, 36, admitted to killing her 5 children June 20, 2001. The children, ages 7 years to 6 months, according to news reports were allegedly drowned in the bathtub. Yates then called the police to request an officer and called her husband at work to come home.

Yates has a previous history of postpartum
depression that occurred after the birth of her
fourth child, including a suicide attempt in June
1999. In a televised statement this morning her
husband Russell Yates says that Andrea appeared
to make a full recovery, though experienced
another bout of postpartum depression after the birth of their fifth child in November 2000. This prompted them both to make the decision to hold off on having any more children.

It is estimated that between 70-80% of women who
give birth will experience a phenomena known as
the baby blues. Theses symptoms usually occur 2-3
days after the birth of a baby and subside within a few weeks. Medications and professional treatment are rely sought or required for this mild form of depression caused by hormonal fluctuations and lifestyle adjustment after a new baby is born. However, there are more serious forms of depression that are very serious problems that often go untreated or are ignored by many families in the hope that a mother will simply "snap out of it." Postpartum depression does not appear to be related to the number of children a mother has had or her age.

Risk factors for PPD:
History of depression, anxiety, panic, obsessive thoughts or behavior, mania Family history
Marital conflict
Prior episode
Low confidence as parent
Baby's personality, health or disability
Single parent
Super woman syndrome
Hormonal risks (thyroid imbalance, PMS, infertility, etc.)

While the majority of the women who suffer from postpartum episodes of depression will only suffer from a milder form known as the baby blues, 10-15%
of women will suffer from a more severe form known as postpartum depression (PPD).
Women who experience postpartum depression with have periods of depression and sadness, anxiety, compulsion or despair that they are unable to deal with daily life. Usually there will be the need for medical treatment in the form of counseling and potentially medications to help with the depressive or other aspects of the illness.

Postpartum psychosis affects an even smaller percentage of postpartum women, about 1 in 1,000. This rare form of postpartum depression is more likely to occur in women who have bipolar disorder, schizophrenia or if a family
member has experienced these diseases. These women will need to be treated in a medical facility with medications and other forms of treatment. The good news is that the illness frequently responds quickly to treatment.

It is unclear if Andrea Yates was suffering from postpartum psychosis or another underlying psychological condition. If she is convicted of the murders of her children she could face the death penalty. Meanwhile her husband was
supportive of her and told her he loved her in his televised interview

I personally think she should be punished. I wouldn't be able to live with myself If I did that. I love my children and can't imagine my life withouth them.
post #2 of 14
I live in Texas, so this story has been on the news alot. It is just so terrible, especially since it comes right after authorities found that poor little girl locked in a closet near Dallas. It really makes you wonder what's coming of the world. Personally, even if this lady does have a psychological problem (which obviously she does), she needs to be punished. She actually had to chase the 7 year old through the house and drag the child to the bathroom.

As a Christian and as a mother, this disturbs me alot. I sure hope we don't hear anymore cases any time soon.
post #3 of 14
HOUSTON, Texas (CNN) -- A 36-year-old mother is in custody after police went to her home and found her five children dead, authorities said Wednesday.

Police believe the children, ranging in age from 6 months to 7 years old, were drowned in a bathtub.

Officers went to the home after getting a call from the woman shortly before 10 a.m. (11 a.m. EDT), saying "she needed police at the location," said Houston Police spokesman Robert Hurst.

"She did not say why," he said.

"The responding patrol officer came to the door and the woman who was still breathing rather heavily at that time said, 'I just killed my children,'" police spokesman John Cannon said.

The woman, identified as Andrea Yates, led the police to a bedroom where three boys and an infant girl -- ages 6-months to 5-years-old -- were found dead with a sheet over them on the bed, authorities said. Cannon said the woman "didn't tell us about the fifth body" -- a 7-year-old boy who was found by an officer in the bathtub.

"It appears -- but it is still under investigation -- that all five children were drowned in the bathtub," Hurst said.

The family home is located in the Houston suburb of Clear Lake, about 20 miles southeast of the city. The one-story Spanish-style home is also near NASA's Johnson Space Center where the father of the children, Russell Yates, has worked as a computer engineer for 16 years, a spokesman said.

Hurst said Russell Yates was at work and has since returned to the home. "It appears that he was not at home at the time that the children were killed," he said.

Police were questioning the father to try to determine more information about his wife.

Cannon said the woman has suffered from postpartum depression, a condition that affects some mothers typically up to a year after childbirth. He said the mother suffered postpartum after the fourth child.

"The suspect has been treated for postpartum depression for the past two years," he said.

Andrea Yates is in custody, but no formal charges have been filed at this time.

Television footage showed a pale woman with long hair and glasses being led to a police car. Hurst said she would be questioned at police department headquarters.

Cannon said the responding officers all are fathers and are "distraught" over the incident. "It's a rather disheartening thing to see and it will be for some time," he said.

Clear Lake falls under the jurisdiction of the Houston Police Department.

and now she may be pregnant again:

Report: Killer Mom Is Pregnant

Tuesday, June 26, 2001

The Houston woman who admitted to killing her five children last week is pregnant, a Houston television station reported Tuesday.

Andrea Yates' attorney told KTRK-TV's Eyewitness News there is no evidence to suggest she is pregnant. However, he also said the results of pregnancy tests will be available later this week.

Yates, 36, who confessed to drowning her five children one-by-one in a bathtub, has been charged with capital murder. Attorney George Parnham said Monday he would likely seek an insanity defense for his client, whom he said was in a "very deep psychosis." Yates has a history of postpartum depression and attempted suicide two years ago.

Yates remains under a 24-hour suicide watch at the Harris County Jail.

Parnham said he has met with psychiatrists treating Yates, who could receive the death sentence if convicted.

"My observation is that she is still in a very deep psychosis," he told CBS' The Early Show. "We are having her treated and examined by very professional mental health experts who care deeply for their patients."

He said the medication she is on likely will kick in "and there will be some ability to have a rational conversation with her," Parnham told ABC's Good Morning America. "That moment in time has not yet arrived."

Parnham said he is gathering background on Yates' mental health history before making a final decision on her defense.

"I've accumulated evidence in the last 24 hours that strongly suggests that the mental status of my client will be the issue, which means entering a not-guilty plea by reason of insanity," the lawyer told the Houston Chronicle.

He would not say what evidence indicated Yates was insane when she killed Noah, 7; John, 5; Paul, 3; Luke, 2; and 6-month-old Mary.

However, the lawyer said he does not think the case warrants the death penalty and he hopes prosecutors decide against seeking it.

Yates' husband, Russell, has said that his wife's postpartum depression, coupled with her father's recent death, drove her to harm their children.

George Dix, a law professor at the University of Texas, said insanity defenses are rarely used and rarely succeed when they are. To be found innocent by reason of insanity, Yates would have to show that she was so mentally impaired that she couldn't see circumstances for what they were.

For example, if she "believed her children to be devils, she's entitled to acquittal," Dix told The Dallas Morning News in Sunday's editions.

Michelle Oberman, a law professor at DePaul University in Chicago and author of the upcoming book Mothers Who Kill Their Children, said postpartum depression has been a defense element since the mid-1980s.

"The best chance she has, if she's got any good chance, lies in hoping the jury understands the circumstances under which she was operating and to understand the reality of postpartum depression," Oberman said.

About 10 percent to 20 percent of mothers face some level of postpartum depression. Most cases are mild, and can be treated with counseling and medicine. On rare occasions, postpartum depression has been known to cause psychosis or delusions.

Visitation for the five Yates children will be held Tuesday night from 6-8 p.m. at Clear Lake Church of Christ. The funeral will be held Wednesday. Both are only open to family members and friends of the family.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
post #4 of 14
Funeral Held for Slain Children
The Associated Press
Jun 27 2001 10:28AM

HOUSTON (AP) - Beneath a stained glass window in the sanctuary of the Clear Lake Church of Christ, five little white caskets sit in an arc. Each casket has a ribbon bearing a child's name.
Six-month-old Mary is dressed in a pink sleeper. Her 3-year-old brother Paul lies to her left and 2-year-old Luke to her right. Noah, 7, wears a multicolored sweater emblazoned with a truck. John, 5, wears an orange and black sweater.

Funeral services for all five children were scheduled for Wednesday, one week after their mother allegedly drowned them in the family bathtub. The mother will not be released from jail to attend.

The children's father, Russell Yates, planned to deliver the eulogy. He arranged pictures of the children on a table in a church hallway, the Rev. Byron Fike said. One picture shows a smiling Noah in the bathtub with sections of wet hair sticking up.

``I don't think there are words in any language that can describe what has happened,'' the minister said.

``I am just trying to focus on the fact that they are safe and nothing can ever hurt them again,'' said Terry Arnold, co-owner of a bookstore where the family bought supplies to home school their children. ``I don't think I've ever prayed this much in my life.''

Yates' wife, Andrea, is charged with one count of capital murder. More charges could follow, Harris County District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal said Tuesday.

Judge Belinda Hill issued a gag order Tuesday prohibiting any attorneys, police officers or witnesses in the case from discussing it with reporters.

Defense attorney George Parnham has said he is considering an insanity defense. Yates' husband has said his wife suffered from postpartum depression.

Rosenthal, reached before the gag order took effect, said a decision on whether to seek the death penalty should be made within three weeks.

Police were called to the Yates' suburban Houston home June 20, when they found the lifeless bodies of the four youngest children still wet under a sheet on a bed. Noah was found in the bathtub. Police say Andrea Yates confessed to the slayings.

A few blocks from the church, four blue balloons and a pink balloon rise up from a makeshift memorial of stuffed animals, flowers and crayon drawings in the Yates' front yard.

``They were all so well-behaved,'' said Joanne Juren, who owns the bookstore with Arnold. ``They were just the perfect little children. I told Andrea the last time she was here that if we had a gold star to give for the best children we would give it to hers. Andrea just beamed.''
post #5 of 14
The even sadder part is that I read a story this morning out of North Carolina where a mother and her 3 kids were found dead in their garage (carbon monoxide poisoning). So far, it hasn't been determined whether it's a homocide, murder-suicide, or accident.

Sometimes I think that these people get ideas after reading stories in the media.
post #6 of 14
After watching the news tonight, I am not altogether sure that the husband didn't play some part in this, maybe even unintentionally. Apparently she suffered from PPD after every single one of her children, and it got progressively worse each time. Yet, the kids kept coming. There is also word that she was completely isolated. He wouldn't allow her to work. The kids were homeschooled. She was supposed to be on a medication for psychosis and wasn't. So dad leaves his children in the care of what is obviously a severely ill woman? And she keeps getting pregnant when the PPD becomes worse each time?

I am in no way condoning her actions, but I'm also not sure that the husband is just the wounded victim here.
post #7 of 14
I don't have children (except kitties ) and was wondering if you guys who have children have ever suffered from PPD. Is it that different from plain depression? I have suffered from depression for many years and am now on medication but have never wanted to harm anyone other than myself. Any comments?????
post #8 of 14
I have heard that she may even pregnant again. They had her take a pregnancy test yesterday, but they haven't released the results yet.

Thank God, I've never had post partum depression. I have a good friend who just had a baby 8 weeks ago, and she was severely depressed. But she said that she only thought about hurting herself, not the baby.

I can't imagine making the decision to home school your children when the mother had such a severe existing problem. It's hard enough being home all day with preschoolers, but to be home all day with preschoolers and also be responsible for home schooling would be very hard even for strong people. I have friends that do this, and it's a lot of work.

It's just such a tragic situation, one that is getting all too common.
post #9 of 14
You'd kind of like to think that if someone were so severely depressed, not only presently but in the past as well, the father would have made sure someone (perhaps a relative or clergyman or firend) might have been put into her life to make sure she was okay or to be with her throughout the day!
Depression can tend to make people not want to do very much but sleep (from my own experiences), so why would she be kept at home all day to tend for and school her children??!

This world befuddles me more and more each day! I ponder on this so much... what will the world be like when I have grown children???? My husband came home the other night and told me that his grandmother had said to him earlier that she was sorry we were going to be raising our children in the type of society that is around these days... said she could never do it! I guess I can only think that my generation was prepared to raise the children of the next generation and am not so bothered with it!

But I worry a lot, and definately ponder on what a better world would be like! I'm sad a lot when I look around me.. people don't have a clue what happiness can be like because they are so caught up in being OF the world, and not just IN the world, trying to pass this test before we advance to the next stage of existence!

post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
I never suffered the baby blues with my two children. I think is different for every woman. I've had depression but before I had children, after separating from my husband, and now that I am unemployed and need to be working. But instead of taking anti depressants, I tend hang around my animal friends and go to church and pray for awhile.
post #11 of 14
I hope I don't anger anyone here....it is not my intention....but the bible says... if you harm a child, it is better for you to have a stone hung around your kneck and be thrown into the ocean.
That is not the exact wording, but that is what it says. it does not say....But only if you are not insane.
I am not trying to judge....because i had an abortion when I was 19, and confused and scared, and alone, and I regret it with all my heart, and have begged god to forgive me, and I know he has....so for me to say what she did was worse than what I did, maybe isn't right of me...but those children had already been born, and there were 5 of them....and they knew what she was doing to them!!!!! I feel she should be punished by death.....but then again...maybe I should have been too.
post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 
I hope if the woman is pregnant, she should have it, but when the baby is born, to put into state custody. Debby, I understand you were young and scared when you had an abortion. I don't think you were a bad person. Most women in your case get scared. I don't believe in abortion but I don't hold a judgement against you. God will forgive you and knows you were alone and with no one to turn to.
post #13 of 14
Don't get me wrong. I believe she should be punished, as well. But the signs I am hearing indicate that perhaps dad shouldn't come out of this smelling like a rose. There are some indicators of something bizarre going on in that house.
post #14 of 14
HOUSTON -- The cloistered household in which Andrea Pia Yates drowned her five children was laced with offbeat, even dangerous, religious zeal, according to testimony in Yates' capital murder trial Thursday.

It was a home in which the husband and wife stuck to traditional roles. It was a home in which medicine was frowned upon, school systems were unacceptable and institutional religion was a tool of evil. Doomsday leaflets mailed to the house gave hysterical warnings against demonic influences that threaten young children.

"I cannot stress how serious the whole thing is: By the time a child is 14 or 15 years old, it's too late," the Perilous Times newsletter said. Yates' husband, Russell "Rusty" Yates, read aloud from the tract during Thursday's testimony. "If you feed them with the world's ways, you reap what you sow." "Do you have any idea how the information you just read would play to the mind of a psychotic individual?" defense lawyer George Parnham asked Rusty Yates.

When she confessed to killing her children on a summer morning, Andrea Yates told detectives, "They weren't developing properly." Later that week, she told her brother that Satan was living inside her. Yates has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

For years, Andrea Yates suffered suicide attempts, catatonic states and psychosis. In a quavering voice, her best friend told the jury she watched helplessly while the 37-year-old mother wasted away, stopped talking to her children and paced aimless circles with a baby on her bony hip. Yates stopped bathing and grew too emaciated to breast-feed, said Deborah Holmes. The two women became friends before Yates' marriage, when they worked together as nurses in a Houston hospital.

For two years before the Yates children were killed, Holmes had kept a diary chronicling Andrea Yates' condition "in case something bad happens."

"I called her husband crying and sobbing, saying she needs help now," said Holmes. "He'd say, 'I'll look into it.' I'd say, 'She's not going to make it through the weekend.' "

Holmes said Rusty Yates considered child care a woman's responsibility and refused to help his wife tend the children. "I'm not saying he didn't play with them or enjoy them, but as far as care for them, he didn't," Holmes said. "If the kids' faces or hands were dirty, he'd say, 'Wait till your mother comes.' "

Therapist Earline Wilcott counseled Andrea Yates for months in a Christian center. The only time she met Rusty Yates, he quoted from the Bible: Wives must submit to their husbands. "Sense of [Andrea Yates] being overwhelmed and trapped with no alternative," Wilcott jotted in her notes.

"I hoped she could have more support from him in terms of helping with home school and having more time off," the therapist testified Thursday.

The religious tracts apparently wielded a heavy influence over the family's lifestyle. They were written by Michael Woroniecki, a preacher who roams college campuses with a message: "You are going to hell."

During his undergraduate years, Rusty Yates met Woroniecki on the grounds of Auburn University and the two struck up a friendship. They stayed in touch, and the preacher's wife exchanged letters with Andrea Yates.

The leaflets said women have a biblical duty to endure natural childbirth as a "humbling" rite of passage. Andrea Yates gave birth to all five of her children without the aid of medication.

The pamphlets also insisted on the importance of home schooling. While his wife sat catatonic in a mental hospital, Rusty Yates was out house-hunting. He had a stipulation: There had to be space for a home school, which was Andrea Yates' job. "The social interaction the world tells you is so important is exactly what you need to protect your children from," the leaflet reads.

The decision to abandon their first suburban house in favor of a nomadic life in trailer parks came after the birth of the Yates' two eldest children. The family lived for a time in a converted Greyhound bus Rusty Yates bought from the Woronieckis for $37,000. A pregnant Andrea Yates--who had recently miscarried--slept on a couch because she was afraid to climb over the steering wheel into the couple's bed, Holmes said.

The family adored its newfound simplicity, Rusty Yates said. "We had a lot of stuff, a surprising amount of stuff," he told the jury. "It became burdensome."

But it was more than that, Holmes and Wilcott testified: The couple insisted upon moving into the trailer, they said, because they feared the children would become materialistic. So they held a garage sale, and Andrea Yates lost her wedding gifts, furniture--just about everything except her sewing machine and cookware.

"You saw her give up everything she'd worked so hard to gather when she was out on her own?" prosecutor Kaylynn Williford asked Holmes.

"Yes," Holmes replied. Meanwhile, Rusty Yates rented a storage space for his tools, she said.

"Are you very fond of Rusty Yates?" Parnham asked Holmes at the end of her testimony.

"That's irrelevant," Holmes replied. "It's her husband."

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