Letters Supporting Lindsay Clancy Pour In as Fellow Moms Share Their Postpartum Mental Health Stories Online
Her lawyer received dozens of emails in the days after Cora, Dawson and Callen's deaths. Some were from loved ones, who described Lindsay Clancy's love of her children, and others from strangers discussing their own experiences with postpartum psychosis.
Newly unsealed court documents revealed a flood of support from loved ones, colleagues and even strangers for Lindsay Clancy as legal proceedings against the Massachusetts mom charges with killing three children are underway.
Clancy’s friend, fellow nurse and colleague Juliet Pollander, who worked the 12-hour nightshift alongside her, spoke to her “kind, sweet, warm and endearing” nature at work, in an email sent to her attorney Kevin Reddington.
“I watched Lindsay through 3 pregnancies … she would sit holding her growing belly, rubbing her belly with such love, such high anticipation of the day they would each be born,” the letter read. “She loved Cora, Dawson, and Callan like no other. Her whole world revolved around her.
“I share these examples of the kind of person Lindsay is so that people can understand that the events that took place on January 24th were unthinkable acts, so far out of touch to what the truly loving mother I knew would have committed,” Pollander’s letter concluded.
Various lawyers have also reached out to Reddington to offer their help, free of charge, on the case. “I recently saw you on the news discussing Mrs. Clancy … it reminded me of my daughter’s difficult time 10 years ago, and recognizing how lucky we are to still have her here, I felt an overwhelming obligation to offer my help to Mrs. Clancy’s family and your team,” Michael C. Peña, who worked as an attorney in the military justice space, wrote in an email.
Stacey Kabat, a postpartum nurse and lactation consultant Clancy shadowed while in nursing school, spoke to her character in the letter she wrote as well as the mental health issues plaguing Clancy. “Lindsay and her loving husband Pat were desperately seeking help and were betrayed by an inadequate medical system that has not devoted enough resources nor time learning how to help our new mothers,” the letter read.
She also mentioned her shock at the various medications prescribed to Clancy to address her mental health, and discussed “the dangers” of her prescriptions in combination with hormonal fluctuations she likely experienced as a new mom. Clancy's defense attorney has said that she was over-medicated, taking 12 different drugs over a four-month period.
Dr. Sherry Pagato, a psychologist and professor at the University of Connecticut, tells Inside Edition Digital that the period of time after childbirth can often become a “perfect storm” of circumstances that can lead to various postpartum mental health issues.
“There’s a lot going on hormonally after childbirth, there’s also a lot going on in your life after childbirth,” Pagato says. “Sleep deprivation, changes physically in mom’s body, a lot of worries, a lot of anxieties. There’s this baby that we have to take care of … now there’s this new job.”
About one in eight women experience symptoms of postpartum depression after giving birth, according to the Center for Disease Control. While postpartum psychosis is more rare, a recent study published in the National Library of Medicine found that around two out of 1,000 mothers can experience symptoms of psychosis after giving birth.
While both negatively affect mood in ways different than depression and psychosis in people who are not postpartum, postpartum psychosis is considered a medical emergency and must be treated immediately.
“It can lead to harm, suicidal ideation, suicidal attempts, homicidal ideation,” Pagato explains. “It’s a psychotic episode that can last for a while, which means the individual may have hallucinations, delusions, they’re really obviously not thinking straight and getting disconnected from reality.”
Pagato experienced postpartum depression herself, and spoke out on Twitter as Clancy’s story made headlines.
Like Pagato, others who do not have a personal connection to Clancy’s family but who have gone through their own mental health struggles in the wake of childbirth shared their support on social media.
Christina Betham, a stay-at-home mom in Flint, Michigan, shared her story of postpartum psychosis on TikTok.
“When you’re in psychosis, you’re almost not there,” Betham tells Inside Edition Digital. “It’s not her. She’ll feel so bad when she’s out of this and I sympathize with her so hard.”
The 25-year-old mother said she was overjoyed when she first gave birth to her daughter. “I was like so happy. I was on cloud nine after just having a baby,” she says.
She felt like a new person – excited about new activities she would do with her daughter, speaking her mind freely and reaching out to old friends and acquaintances she had not spoken to in a while. Little did she know, those would be the initial symptoms of her postpartum psychosis.
Interspersed with her moments of mania, Betham says she began noticing a shadow following her. In her sleep deprivation, she believed it was her late grandmother watching over her. She also began noticing what she thought were signs sent from her late grandmother in the form of birds, flowers and other things she saw in her day-to-day life.
“At first it was very comforting,” Betham says. “(But) at night, I would get so scared because I’m like, why won’t she leave me alone?”
On advice from her therapist, Betham’s friend brought her to the hospital and checked her into the psychiatric emergency room as an involuntary patient.
“When you’re in psychosis, you’re like, 'What’s wrong with you? Why can’t you be happy for me?'” Betham says of her outlook toward those trying to support her. “I was screaming and crying. I did not want to go, did not want to be away from my baby.”
But a few days into her hospitalization, the medication she was given kicked in, and she was shocked at her previous behavior. Betham was eventually diagnosed with bipolar-1 after postpartum psychosis.
Now, more than 10 months after giving birth to her daughter Mia, Betham says, “I feel back to normal.”
Betham tells Inside Edition Digital she wanted to share her story to raise awareness about postpartum disorders, and to encourage those who may be experiencing similar symptoms to seek help.
“I could have ended up like Lindsay Clancy,” she said. “I’m extremely grateful that my best friend was able to get me to the hospital.”
Clancy, is currently paralyzed from the waist down due to her suicide attempt, is currently facing charges of murder and abuse by strangulation of 5-year-old Cora, 3-year-old Dawson and 8-month-old Callan, and intends to plead not guilty by reason of insanity, according to her attorney.
“Our society fails miserably in treating women with postpartum depression or even postpartum psychosis,” Reddington said in court. “It’s medicate, medicate, medicate. Throw the pills at you and then see how it works.”
Clancy will remain hospitalized until she is medically cleared to be moved to another facility. Her next court date is scheduled for May 2.
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