One of Joe’s friends sent me this story. (His family has been friends with the affected family for years and he is working hard to help spread awareness about postpartum depression and psychosis.) This is a horribly sad story but I know that so many women deal with postpartum depression and have a special place in their heart for other women who deal with it as well. I would like to help to raise awareness about this disease so we might be able to prevent horrible tragedies like this from happening again.
Please read the post below and feel free to donate if you like. But more than anything please take the time to pray for this family and help spread awareness that there are serious mental illnesses, like postpartum psychosis, that can be treated to help prevent move events like this from happening.
Here’s a note that Dana’s best friend posted to a Facebook page she started called Remembering Hailey:
A mother’s love for her child is among the strongest in the world. Unfortunately, there are times when the unthinkable happens. On the afternoon of September 15, 2012, Dana Hooper took the life of her 10-week-old daughter Hailey in an upstairs bedroom of her Wisconsin home. Family and friends were shocked by the news. This is not the Dana everyone knew and loved. What could cause someone so loving…to do something so unthinkable?
For those who are do not know the complete story, some would think that Dana is an evil woman who sadistically stabbed her precious ten week old baby girl Hailey to death. Some people say she should spend a life in jail for her evil actions. Others know that mental health issues are real and a legitimate part of human society. However, what many do not know is that mental health issues can take very different forms.
We’ve all known people who suffer from the typical “baby blues”. In fact, health experts claim that 80 percent of women experience some type of baby blues in the form of major mood swings and constant weepiness due to hormonal fluctuations. One in eight, or 15-20 percent of women experience significant anxiety or depression with repetitive thoughts, panic, and posttraumatic stress. This is otherwise known as Postpartum Depression. A more severe reaction to hormonal imbalance includes Postpartum Psychosis, which occurs in approximately 1 to 2 out of every 1,000 deliveries or 0.1 percent of births. https://www.postpartum.net/Get-the-Facts/Postpartum-Psychosis.aspx “The earliest signs are restlessness, irritability, and insomnia. Women with this disorder exhibit a rapidly shifting depressed or elated mood, disorientation or confusion, and erratic or disorganized behavior. Delusional beliefs are common and often center on the infant. Auditory hallucinations that instruct the mother to harm herself or her infant may also occur. Risk for infanticide, as well as suicide, is significant in this population.” Quoted from https://www.womensmentalhealth.org/specialty-clinics/postpartum-psychiatric-disorders/ Psychiatrists are not sure what causes a sudden break with reality, but they believe the changing hormones and stress of childbirth are involved. These symptoms can develop during pregnancy or any time after pregnancy during the first twelve months of childbirth. The onset is usually sudden. Mothers with this condition often hear voices, see things, and feel irrational guilt that they have somehow done something wrong. They may believe things that are not true and distrust those around them. In addition, they have periods of confusion and memory loss to the point where they seem manic. In her psychotic state, the delusions and beliefs make sense to her; they feel very meaningful and are often religious. Of the women who develop this condition, there is a 5 percent infanticide or suicide rate associated with the illness. It’s very real that Mothers often feel that they need to hurt themselves or their child.
Many women with Postpartum Psychosis often suffer alone due to the immense shame they feel, but Dana knew she felt depressed and took it upon herself to seek help. She received an antidepressant drug, but unfortunately she had an adverse reaction to the drug to the point where it kept her up all night for several nights in a row. With many days of insomnia, and a drug that made her more anxious in addition to trying to take care of her three children ages 3, 2, and 10 weeks, she started to go in and out of reality. Dana admitted to hearing voices and sadly killed her child believing that God told her to do so. Dana is a very loving mom and wife, a devout Christian who has done countless hours of volunteer service and missionary work, and a true friend to many. She has always had a strong work ethic working her way through college and eventually becoming a Radiology Technician. As a semi-professional photographer she took pleasure in capturing all the special moments with her family and friends.
Dana’s horrific story could happen to anyone. Perhaps that is what is so scary about it. If she does not receive the proper legal representation she needs, one that specializes in mental health issues, she may face a life behind bars. She would not be able to raise her other two children or be the loving wife to her husband. Mental health experts agree that Postpartum Psychosis is a temporary and treatable condition with professional help. At this moment, Dana sits in jail without the proper care she needs. Please consider donating to Dana’s cause on behalf of all people who suffer mental illness, and in memory of her beautiful daughter Hailey. Her family needs the support to help care for her two remaining children as well as to help cover legal fees defending her Psychosis. Dana’s story is so much more than what the has been portrayed, and although this is a terrible tragedy, hopefully through sharing this story, more awareness can be brought to the mental anguish suffered in silence by so many.
Your generous donations will make a difference and even a dollar can help get Dana the support she needs. Please go to https://www.paypal.com/ and send your donation to [email protected]. Thank you and God bless!