Before Cynthia Wachenheim jumped out the window of her 8th floor apartment with her baby cradled in her arms, she penned a 13-page suicide note.
The 44-year-old woman called herself “evil” in the suicide note and said that she was responsible for giving her son a serious medical condition.
The Gothamist reports that Wachenheim felt responsible for “two shameful” incidents that she believed would cause her son to development a serious medical condition. The woman said that her son, 10-month old Keston Bacharach, once fell from a play set when she wasn’t paying attention. The woman also blamed herself for letting the boy fall off of a bed. She believed that the two falls would effect the boy for the rest of his life.
Wachenheim’s friends didn’t notice any changes in the baby, but the woman was convinced that she had permanently damaged her little boy.
Here’s a description of the 13-page suicide note from the NY Times: “Her friends, family members and pediatrician did not believe her, she wrote. But she noticed changes in the baby — changes that only a mother who spends all day with her child would notice. For instance, she wrote, her son had grown sleepier and cried more frequently.”
Wachenheim also wrote about her depression and said that she was no longer able to socialize with friends. The NY Daily News reports that Wachenheim was having weekly therapy sessions but that she missed her final appointment.
Cynthia’s husband, Hal Bacharach, said that he felt guilty for leaving the apartment that afternoon. The two had had a fight and Hal left the apartment angry.
A relative said: “He’s going through it in his head and just wishes he could go back in time… He wishes he’d never left. Hal has been at a loss at how to deal with this… She wouldn’t take her medication. She wouldn’t go to her appointments. She was basically out of control. He worried that she was sinking — but I don’t think he ever saw her capable of this.”
NDTV notes that postpartum depression is fairly common (about 15 percent of mothers suffer from sort of postpartum depression) while postpartum psychosis is much more rare. Postpartum psychosis is characterized by delusions, anger and paranoia. Nearly 5 percent of mothers with postpartum psychosis end up committing suicide.