A 3-month-old baby from Indiana who was reported missing on March 4, was discovered with her mom who was found sitting in their car in below freezing temperatures the following day.
The mother, 36-year-old Rachel McAfee, and her 3-month-old daughter Emma were reported missing after McAfee’s husband grew worried when she didn’t drop their daughter off at a relative’s house like she was supposed to.
McAfee was later found with frostbite, while Emma was pronounced dead at the scene. McAfee is currently believed to be in stable condition.
According to the Indy Star, the mom was struggling with postpartum depression (PPD) at the time of her daughter’s passing. McAfee has since been arrested and charged with neglect.
Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Chief Deputy Chris Bailey said that they found the mother-daughter pair after a woman noticed them in a grey Subaru on March 5.
#UPDATE: IMPD says mother and baby daughter missing since Monday morning have been found on Indy’s north side.
Rachel McAfee and 3 month old Emma disappeared Monday.
No update yet from police on their conditions. pic.twitter.com/B1tclcXrlU
— Jesse Wells (@JesseWellsNews) March 5, 2019
Bailey said state police were in the process of issuing a “silver alert based on some of the medical conditions.”
As The Indy Channel reports, as a result of McAfee’s battle with PPD, it was believed she may have been suicidal.
However, there is “no direct correlation between perinatal mood disorders and infanticide abuse or neglect.”
PPD is very common amongst new mothers. According to the Mayo Clinic, postpartum depression can lead to a variety of symptoms, including but not limited to:
- Depressed mood or severe mood swings
- Excessive crying
- Difficulty bonding with your baby
- Severe anxiety and panic attacks
- Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
- Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide
If not properly treated, PPD can last several months, if not longer.
As the Mayo Clinic reports, although dealing with these symptoms can be “embarrassing to admit,” it’s very important for mothers to reach out for help from their doctors if any of these symptoms do occur.
Sara Pollard, an Indiana Coordinator of Postpartum Support International, told The Indy Channel that “as many as one and five, to one and seven women, will have symptoms of some type of mood or anxiety disorder” following birth.
And as Pollard continued to add, no one mother will suffer the same exact symptoms when battling PPD:
“It can be guilt. It can’t be feeling overwhelmed. Maybe even some sadness, some ‘this isn’t what I thought it would be. This is harder than I anticipated.’ So that’s very unique to each woman who is experiencing symptoms.”
She then wanted moms to know that they are not alone in their struggles, “Please don’t hesitate to reach out. Please don’t suffer in silence. There are people out there. Many of us that volunteer with Postpartum Support International are survivors.”