Chances are many of us have read of the horrific and utterly unbelievable story of Dominique Cottrez, the French woman who confessed to killing 8 of her newborn babies over a period of 17 years. This has now come to light when the remains of the buried babies were found. Cottrez confessed to killing 8 of her own babies without anyone else knowing about this.
The theory that this bizarre incident was caused by a little known condition called the Baby Denial Syndrome is being examined.
The condition could manifest differently in different women says Professor Laura Miller, expert on women’s mental health at Harvard University:
In mild cases, women may experience no emotional response to their pregnancy, may not even acknowledge it and may be indifferent to making any preparation for the impending birth.
In slightly more severe cases, the woman could be in complete denial of her pregnancy, she may say that her weight gain is due to other reasons, explain away the cessation of menstruation some other way, etc.
The most severe cases are when there is a psychotic denial and bear a close connection to neonaticide (the killing of babies within the first 24 hours of being born). The woman may be delusional.