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Lindsay Clancy-What Happened 

Lindsay clancy is a 32-year-old woman who is a wife to Patrick Clancy and was a mother to three children living in Massachusetts. Clancy was a loved and respected labor and delivery nurse. Clancy not only holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing but also a degree in biology. Anyone that spoke about Clancy only had nice things to say about her and she was well-liked in her community. Her social media posts have been known to be full of gratitude and thanks for her life and filled with love for her family. 

In July of 2022, shortly after the birth of her third child, Clancy would begin to open up on Facebook about her postpartum depression and her anxiety. Clancy stopped working as a labor and delivery nurse and solely focused on getting herself healthy and taking care of her children. Her husband Patrick also decided to start working from home to better support his wife. Things began to get worse and Clancy was attempting to seek treatment doctors were putting her on several different kinds of medications in hopes to relieve her troubling symptoms. 

On January 24th, 2023 the Clancy children would be found by Patrick Clancy strangled in their basement with yoga bands by the hands of their mother, Lindsay Clancy. Earlier that day Clancy would ask her husband to pick up some food for the family along with some other errands. Clancy’s husband arrived home after a short 35-minute trip to retrieve the family’s dinner from a local restaurant. What he came home to was nothing less than a tragic scene out of a horror movie.

 He arrived in the driveway only to find his wife laying outside of their two-bedroom home on the ground and gravely injured. Clancy sustained self-inflicted cuts, bruises, and paralysis from the fall that she is still experiencing in the hospital now. Clancy was able to verbalize to her husband that she tried to commit suicide by jumping out of the second-story window. 

It was at this moment that Patrick Clancy realized how quiet it was in and around his home although a tragic event just happened. He asked Lindsay where his three children were and she informed him they were in the basement. After calling 911 about his wife Patrick proceeded to the basement to find all three of his children strangled with yoga bands. Two of the Clancy children were pronounced dead on arrival at the local hospital with their youngest being airlifted to a different hospital fighting for his life. Clancy’s youngest child would ultimately succumb to his injuries and pass away. 

There is no denying that Lindsay Clancy murdered her children. That is a fact of this case. The burning question is how could that happen and whether was Clancy in an altered state of mind such as postpartum psychosis that caused these tragedies. After the fact, Clancy told police, her doctors, and her husband that a voice in her head told her to kill her children and she had a moment of psychosis which then lead to her murdering their three children. 

Andrea Yates

Another case similar to Clancy’s case that is noteworthy is the Andrea Yates case. Yates also claimed she experienced postpartum depression and psychosis which ultimately drove her to murder all of her children. 

Yates showed all the signs that any doctor or mental health professional would have needed of not only postpartum depression but also postpartum psychosis. Yates admitted to family members that she was contemplating murdering her children. Yates would even fill the bathtub up at odd hours and when asked what she was doing, she would explain she was going to drown her children. I don’t know about you, but if anyone said that about their children or my children, I would not only be extremely alarmed I would take serious action to protect the children.

Yates had two occasions where she was hospitalized for at least a month at a time. The first time doctors got her stable and her aftercare was to continue taking her medication and not have any more children. The doctors informed the Yates that Andrea would have another postpartum psychosis episode if she did. It was not a matter of if but when. Yates ended up getting pregnant shortly after and had her final baby girl. Yates stopped taking her medication due to her husband’s and family’s religious beliefs and began to slip back into severe postpartum depression and psychosis. Yates was self-harming and not taking care of the children. She also began to verbally express that she was thinking about hurting the children.  

 In Yate’s case, it is evident that her family failed her and our medical system. Yates ended up drowning all five of her children during an hour when she was left alone. Yates was originally charged with capital murder and from the beginning, she always pleaded her guilt. She took full responsibility she murdered her children and claimed to be too sick and was not fit for society. In 2006 Yates was found not guilty by reason of insanity. 

People magazine reports that Yates is offered annual hearings to determine if she is eligible to be released from Kerrville State Hospital, but that she declines her right to be reviewed each year in favor of continuing treatment.

Husbands Response 

It is important to note that in most cases of women killing their children due to postpartum depression or psychosis more often than not the woman’s partner and family members have stuck by their side. In both Andrea Yates and Lindsay Clancy’s cases both of their husbands made statements expressing their support for their wives. They both claimed that they believed that their wives suffered from postpartum psychosis and that behaving the way they had was extremely out of character. Both husbands even proclaimed to have forgiven their wives for killing their children. This is an extremely profound and important statement. Clancy’s husband just lost all of his children and nearly his wife and he believes so deeply that it wasn’t truly Clancy acting maliciously rather she was a victim of untreated postpartum psychosis. He obviously believes she is innocent of any and all malicious intent. 

Insanity Plea

Even if Clancy was in a state of postpartum psychosis, she did kill all of her children. The response to her sentencing seems to be extremely polarized. Some label Clancy as a cold-blooded baby killer while others feel she was a victim of an extreme mental health issue that could have been treated and therefore the murders prevented. Whichever way you believe, her actions do need to have consequences. Clancy has to take accountability for the children’s lives she took. 

Often these cases can get extremely blurry in our judicial court. So far the state does not agree that Clancy’s case is one of insanity. They believe that the killing of her children was premeditated murder. Clancy is currently being charged with three counts of murder. 

In the state of Massachusetts, you are presumed sane in a court of law. In the state of Massachusetts in court to plead an insanity case you have to prove that the defendant was insane at the time the crime was committed. This can include temporary insanity, hearing voices, or having serious medication conflicts that rendered them insane at the time of the crime. Due to that insanity, you don’t just have mental health issues, either you were not able to understand the consequences of your actions or you were not able to tell what you were doing was wrong. Meaning you cannot tell the difference between right and wrong therefore not making you criminally culpable. 

The defense at the hearing is claiming that she is a victim of a failed medical system and has postpartum depression, and at the time of the murders she experienced psychosis. The defense is also claiming that Clancy on top of those other serious mental health issues suffers and suffered from anxiety and depression. They claim that Clancy attempted to get help several times and her medical providers simply kept medicating her and even over-medicating her. 

The prosecution on the other hand is adamant that Clancy planned the offense. There are google records revealing that Clancy found a restaurant to get takeout from that although they had eaten there before was much further away than their usual takeout. Clancy also added a stop for her husband such as picking up medication. It is clear to the prosecution that by taking these action steps she was indeed planning to murder her children and therefore was not having a psychotic moment. 

The prosecution is also learning towards a rational motive. Rather than Clancy having a momentary lapse of psychosis, she just wanted to get rid of her children. This sounds extremely heartbreaking and harsh and we can expect this to be one difficult case to digest let alone understand. The prosecution is also claiming that because Clancy jumped out the window she attempted to conceal her role in the murders. Again giving proof of premeditation. The prosecution believes that taking that action distracts people from the murders that took place and attempt to garnish sympathy. 

It is the job of the state to utilize their doctors and other officers of the state to determine if Clancy was insane or in psychosis at the time she murdered her children. If they should rule that Clancy was legally insane this also does not mean she will simply be released as if nothing happened. Right now due to her injuries, she is in a supervised hospital allowed no bail, and receiving care for her wounds and mental health. The court has notoriously struggled to make unified rulings on cases of postpartum psychosis. Do you think Lindsay Clancy was the victim of postpartum psychosis? 

Signs and Symptoms of Postpartum Depression 

Mayo Clinic reports that most new moms experience the “baby blues” after childbirth. A woman’s hormones change drastically during pregnancy and once the child is born often a woman can have an accumulation of extreme highs from welcoming their new baby into the world…to then a crash of extreme lows. Mayo Clinic states, “Most new moms experience postpartum “baby blues” after childbirth, which commonly include mood swings, crying spells, anxiety, and difficulty sleeping. Baby blues usually begin within the first 2 to 3 days after delivery and may last for up to two weeks.” 

When the baby blues or depression lasts longer than a few weeks that is when a woman might need to be assessed for postpartum depression. 

Postpartum Depression

First and foremost, there is no way to predict if a woman will experience postpartum depression and often there are no ways to prevent it. Postpartum depression can happen to any woman for no apparent reason. Just like with standard depression, a chemical imbalance is created in the brain. It is important to note that experiencing postpartum depression is not the woman’s fault. Experiencing postpartum does not make someone a bad mother nor does it make them flawed. Postpartum depression can just be a part of the childbirth experience. 

What is important though is if a woman is experiencing these symptoms they receive help immediately. The most common signs and symptoms of postpartum depression include: 

Symptoms

  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Sadness
  • Irritability
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Crying
  • Reduced concentration
  • Appetite problems
  • Trouble sleeping

Postpartum Psychosis

“Postpartum psychosis is a serious mental health illness that can affect someone soon after having a baby. It affects around 1 in 500 mothers after giving birth.” This is an extremely large number of women who will experience postpartum psychosis. This number feels disproportionate to the number of women we hear about successfully receiving treatment for postpartum psychosis. Postpartum psychosis is one of the most serious and extreme mental health disorders that will require immediate medical intervention. Here are some of the symptoms of postpartum psychosis:

Symptoms 

  • Delusions or thoughts or beliefs that are unlikely to be true
  • Signs of depression include; being withdrawn or tearful, lacking energy, having a loss of appetite, anxiety, agitation, or trouble sleeping
  • Rapidly changing moods which can consist of mania and depression
  • loss of inhibitions
  • Feeling afraid or paranoid
  • Restless
  • Self-injurious behavior 
  • Behaving in extreme ways that are out of the norm for that person
  • Experiencing hallucinations such as hearing, seeing, smelling, or feeling things that are not there

Mental Health and Pregnancy 

Being in my thirties most of my friends and family have at least made decisions on if they would like to start a family or be childfree. In 2023 we are seeing more people wanting to live a child-free life for a plethora of reasons. Many are just enjoying the time they have with themselves, their partner, and their loved ones. A lot of people are not having kids due to economic reasons and with inflation skyrocketing it is simply not even feasible for some people. Some are wondering what the future holds for not only America but the world and therefore don’t want to bring a child into a world where they might have an uncertain future. Either way, this is an incredibly personal decision. 

I have had a few friends that have had a tough mental health journey in their lifetime. Luckily they are on the other side and live a happy normal life and they are choosing not to have children, despite maybe even wanting them, because they do not want to possibly pass on any mental illnesses genetically.

If you have experienced any kind of mental health issues or episode or even have had it your life…you know how absolutely tragic and taxing it can be. Not only for the person suffering from mental health issues but for those around them. Many are simply unwilling to risk having their children experience what they have been through. This is a very well-thought-out and selfless decision. It is not to say that people with mental health issues shouldn’t be mothers, again it all comes down to what you want in your life. And I think it is a very motherly instinct to want to protect something so much as to not have it in the first place. 

In the case of postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis, there is no medical proof that you can prevent them from happening. A person can choose to be child-free so they do not pass on any genetics that might make someone more susceptible to mental health issues. But when it comes to whether or not the mother will experience mental health issues during and after birth is something you can never know. Even if you have current mental health struggles there is no guarantee that you are more likely to experience postpartum depression and psychosis. It truly is that unique and unpredictable. 

Final Thoughts 

This is an extremely tragic case and one that we unfortunately have heard of before. Many other countries support mothers much better than we do in the United States and we need to adopt the same strategies. In both the Yates and Clancy case there is evidence that they sought out help for the issues they were experiencing and both women were extremely and even brutally honest about how they were feeling. When a woman tells a doctor or family member she is contemplating murdering her children or taking her own life it needs to be taken extremely seriously. In both cases, it seems that some action was taken but not enough. Our thoughts are with Patrick Clancy on his healing journey and we will continue to follow the Clancy case as it unfolds. 

If you or a loved one are experiencing troubling symptoms of postpartum depression or postpartum psychosis please reach out to your doctor or call 988 for intervention services or 911 for emergency services. 

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About The Author

Julie Johansson

Educated in Criminal Justice and a true crime junkie. Former mall cop, fur mom and women's rights advocate. I am trying to engage in more important topics and writing is how I connect with my community and the world.

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