Pregnancy Denial: A Horrifying Mental Illness

Every once in a while, you read a horrifying story about a mom who smothers her baby or throws her newborn in a dumpster. Some experts are saying that there is a mental illness that could lead to this behavior—pregnancy denial. They say pregnancy denial is a “quasi-schizophrenic condition” where a woman either cannot fathom or accept that she is pregnant. The level of denial is so strong that they do not ever talk to their spouse or see a gynecologist about the pregnancy. And they certainly would never consider an abortion because they simply do not believe they are pregnant. “These women are so convinced pregnancy is impossible that once the child they never wanted arrives, they don’t accept it as real and get rid of it to restore order to what they believe is nonpregnant reality,” a gynecologist who is an expert on the condition says. This issue is getting a lot of press at the moment in France, where there have been five grizzly cases of women killing their own babies—often multiple times—in the past several years. Most recently, in the town of Villiers-au-Terte, a woman named Dominique Cottrez has admitted to killing eight of her own babies, and hiding the pregnancies and murders from her husband. Two of her babies’ bodies were found buried in the backyard of a home where the couple used to live. Police found six more bodies at their current house. The husband had no idea that any of this had happened. [Time]

So. Freaking. Horrifying.