Eight-month-old baby Xiao Bao was found in a pool of blood in his backyard after being stabbed over 90 times by his mother, who was angry because the baby bit her while breastfeeding, reports the Daily Mail.
The incident took place in Xuzhou in the Jiangsu Province of eastern China and baby Xiao needed more than 100 stitches.
The infant is fortunately recovering, but neighbors are pleading with authorities to take him away from his mother and the two uncles who live with them at the home.
There have been no reports that the mother was suffering with mental illness, but it appears that a clear case of postpartum depression is a possibility.
Symptoms of postpartum depression can present up to one year after childbirth, but typically are present by 3 months. They include feelings of anger, depression, suicidal thoughts and thoughts of harming the baby.
According to a study on Postpartum Depression in the United States vs. China:
Research has found that the rate of PPD in China is comparable to that of the U.S., but the Chinese do not have the same resources to fight it.10 One study found that approximately one in every ten mothers in Hong Kong falls victim to PPD. Another study found similar rates of PPD among Chinese women in other areas, but a significant disparity between women who gave birth to boys and those who gave birth to girls. The study found that PPD is twice as likely to occur in Chinese mothers of girls than Chinese mothers of boys.In a sample of women in which 17.3 percent suffered from PPD, the rate of depression in women who gave birth to a female infant was 24. 6 percent while the rate in those women who gave birth to a male was 12.2 percent.
The rural areas are especially dangerous for rural women because they “(u)sually… have lower education or no education,” explained He Yanling, the chief doctor at the Shanghai Mental Health Center who worked on a 2004 report about the economic costs of depression.22 He explained that sometimes husbands leave for jobs (and even second families) in the city, leaving their wives on the farm. Those women “have less information and less knowledge about how to seek help,” he said.
Because rural Chinese women lack social support, mental health services and awareness of mental illness, they are not only at risk for suicide, but also for postpartum depression and other mental illnesses. Previous depression, often a predictor of suicide, is also a contributing factor of postpartum depression. A lack of resources to prevent suicide is also a lack of resources to prevent mental illnesses.
In Chinese culture, there is also a practice called the “sitting the month,” or zuo yuezi, and according to Dr. Zhao Zixiang, it helps a new mother renew balance after giving birth:
“Chinese people are most concerned about balancing yin and yang, in all things,” he says. “If the yin and yang in your body are balanced, you won’t get sick. If they’re out of balance, it’s easy to get sick.”
Unfortunately, women of low socioeconomic status are unable to spend 30 days taking care of themselves because they have to work.
Xiao’s mother recycles garbage for a living and her inability to mentally and hormonally adjust may have played some role in her vicious attack on her infant.
To date, there have been no charges pressed against the her.