This past week, Northern New England and later the entire country was riveted by the case of the little boy found dead here in Maine this past Saturday. No one knew who he was, not only was it a dead child, but was there no one out there missing their child, was the thought that many had. Yesterday though due to excellent police work, that nameless boy was named, Camden Hughes and sadly it appears he died at the hands of his mother, Julianne McCrery of Texas. Now sadness turns to rage as many ask the question how could a mother, his mother commit such a heinous act?
I admit from the moment the story broke and based off the description of how the boy appeared to be well cared for, I wondered if this was going to turn into another case of a Mum killing her child. It seems whenever these cases crop up rage turns to disbelief and then eventually we all go back to our daily lives. But as a society I really feel if we want to stop these horrible situations from happening if that is even possible we need to be willing to stop and have an honest dialogue about mothering.
On this blog, I open myself up and talk at times about the stuff very few people are willing to put out there…why? Because I think when we are open we will find support, we will find we are not alone and in a world that has becoming increasingly more isolated due to our technology, I think connections are the most important thing we can have.
Mothering is something that I feel can be described as the best of times and the worst of times. When a woman makes the decision to carry forth life and birth a new human into the world, it changes her; it changes her views on everything. Suddenly all that seemed important is trivial compared to the awesome responsibility for a new human, a human who is helpless and depends on her for everything. In a woman who is emotionally and mentally healthy these changes can be hard enough to weather, yet there are many women who are not emotionally and mentally well and the changes that motherhood brings on them is catastrophic. Add in a lack of support system which is not that uncommon today for a variety of reasons and you have a situation where in a split second a woman, a mother can make a truly bad decision.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not excusing what Julianne McCrery did but I can’t help thinking just based off the news reports that it does not appear she had much of a support system. Ultimately I think to make the decision to kill your own child points to genuine illness after all in a healthy woman, like a Mama Bear or wolf we are programmed to protect and think of our children first. I saw this first hand when my mother was dying, her last lucid thoughts were of us…her kids. Even now my eldest is in college over 1100 miles away from me and when something is not right with him, I feel it in my bones as surely as I feel the aches from too much playtime on the floor with the little one.
Yet I also know that motherhood can be a dark place, it can be a lonely place and at times its plain fucking frustrating. But I am healthy, I have support and when I reach the moment when I look at my baby and see red, I have people and places I can reach out to so that I can gain my equilibrium.
To be angry about this situation is only natural but at the same time I think as part of a larger village we need to be aware that not everyone else has the support we have and we need to make ourselves available. We need to go back to being the nosy neighbors who noticed everything, because in the end for most of us it takes a village to raise the kids. The village may not be exactly what we want but a village won’t allow one of its own to fall off the cliff into that dark place beyond redemption.