Thursday 29 September 2016

Welfare of vulnerable mum at centre of tragedy is a 'prime concern'

Published 05/05/2016 | 02:30

A hearse takes away the remains of the baby Photo: Gerry Mooney
A hearse takes away the remains of the baby Photo: Gerry Mooney

The "vulnerable and terrified" mother at the centre of the abandoned baby tragedy is a prime concern because of her frail physical and mental state.

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Psychiatrist Dr John Hillery said that while the circumstances behind the heartbreaking discovery of the dead baby at a Bray recycling facility were unclear, the welfare of the mother would be a serious concern.

"All we know from this is that there is a dead baby and there is a woman somewhere who is very vulnerable. The mother is out there somewhere. She will need aftercare from the physical after-effects of the pregnancy.

"It does not look like the baby was delivered in a hospital," said Dr Hillery, director of communications at the College of Psychiatrists.

"Someone who leaves a baby like that must be in mental distress. Trauma like this would expose someone to more risk of being ill."

She will be frightened and derailed by the nightmare. Dr Hillery said post-natal depression strikes around 10 to 15 in every 100 new mothers. The woman is likely to be feeling overwhelmed with fear, feeling low and desperate.

Pyschosis, where people lose touch with reality and become delusional, is much less frequent. But it is more likely in women who have a mother or sister who have suffered psychosis.

"Someone with a history of mental illness is more at risk," he pointed out.

"They may have very abnormal beliefs about themselves or the baby or both. It puts both at risk.

"It is very treatable if discovered and people get the right support. Nobody is at fault for it. It is a illness that happens.

"It important that people at risk should have follow-up before during and after the birth. If they have any symptoms they can be spotted and treated at an early stage.

"I would urge her to come forward. If anyone is worried about a relative in post-natal distress they should urge them to get help. There is support there for them."

Irish Independent

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