I wasn’t going to blog about the horrible news out of Duxbury because it’s just too hard to even think about. If you haven’t heard, a mother of 3 named Lindsay Clancy, who is a baby delivery nurse at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, murdered two of her children and tried to kill herself by jumping out of a second story window. Both children were strangled to death, and their 7 month old baby brother is in critical care as well. Clancy’s husband discovered the horrifying scene at 6 PM yesterday when he arrived home. Lindsay Clancy was reportedly on leave from MGH and suffering from Postpartum Psychosis. She is now being charged with murder.
I wasn’t planning on writing about this, because as a father it’s hard to think about, and I’m not sure what I could add. But after seeing Lindsay Clancy’s Facebook page I can say that this story scares me to my core more than anything. This was clearly a woman who loved her children more than anything on earth, and was living the kind of life that so many women dream of. These images, and the comments she made on the post, make this story hit home a lot harder. In several of them she posted about how unbelievably thankful and lucky she was for her life. You can tell how much joy these children brought to her.
Postpartum psychosis is not the baby blues. It’s a serious mental health problem and should be treated as a medical emergency. It causes hallucinations, delusions, extreme depression, rapidly changing moods, a loss of inhibitions, and behavior that is out of character. It turns you into someone you are not.
My first thought when I heard about what happened and saw those pictures was I feel bad for her that she didn’t die. It would be so much easier on everyone if she died, including her. At some point she will snap out of the psychosis that caused her to commit these unspeakable and horrifying murders. That is when the gravity of what she did will hit her. Then she will have to sit in jail for the rest of her life, which is bad enough as it is, but she will do so knowing that the two people she loved most are dead because of her.
Lindsay Clancy is not the victim here though. Her husband and children are. I can only imagine the emotions he’s feeling right now, and he will never be the same after coming home to that. But it’s also clear from looking at their pictures that they were in love and had been for a long time. The conflicting emotions he must be feeling right now towards her, I just can’t even imagine.
Some will say that they have no sympathy for this woman, and I get that. Those children struggled and had to look into the eyes of the person they loved the most with terror and confusion as she did it. But to me the manner in which she did this was just further evidence that this was a woman who was suffering from an illness she had no control over, and it caused her to become a monster.
The primary emotion I am feeling as a result of this isn’t sadness – it’s fear. I am scared to death that this will happen to someone I love one day. Lindsay Clancy by all accounts was a perfectly normal person and a loving and caring mother. My family is full of people like that. What if one day someone I love turns into a monster too? The fact that this can happen to a human being’s brain is the most frightening part about this story.
I’ll never give birth so I won’t pretend to understand what PPD feels like. However, I did see one comment on Facebook from a mother that really hit home:
“They deserve a better version of me. I want to die but I don’t want them to live without me.”
To reach that stage mentally you have almost lost all control. Luckily this woman recognized that she needed help, which makes me wonder how no one saw this coming. I don’t know if this is why Lindsay Clancy wasn’t working, or what sort of help she was getting. Surely some signs must have been there, but I would imagine if anyone had seen something like this happening they never would’ve left her around those children.
The part I keep thinking about is that if she and her husband had stopped at 2 kids they might all be alive, since the mental illness she was suffering from seems to have come as a result of having her third baby.
So I know it may not be a popular take, but I am going to pray for this woman on Sunday, because she will have to live with what she did for the rest of her life. I will pray for her husband, all 3 of her children, and his and her extended family who I’m sure are devastated. I will also pray for the police officers, firefighters, EMTS and all first responders who answer call like this on a daily basis and will likely never be the same.