A woman was arrested near Pittsburgh on Friday after she stabbed her 8-day-old son near his eye, and then stabbed the baby’s father.
Tanishia Fielder told police that God had told her to dismember her baby and throw it in the garbage because he was “made by the Devil”. Fielder’s neighbor, Darius Warren, who witnessed the father running outside and carrying the bloody baby told reporters that when he asked Fielder what was happening she just kept repeating, “It’s Satan’s child. It’s Satan’s child.”
Fielder allegedly chased away witnesses who tried to help. Police found the knife that Fielder used to stab both her son and her son’s father hidden under a trash bin behind her apartment.
There has not been any update on the condition of the baby after he was brought to UPMC Children’s Hospital.
This tragic situation clearly involves some mental health conditions at play. Fielder’s attempted murder of her son is reminiscent of cases like Andrea Yates or Deanna Laney. Those cases, and others like them, had strong religious components to them, too. And of course, religious individuals are usually more likely to try to pray for relief rather than seek out professional help for certain mental disorders that require medication.
What I find so disturbing about these cases, beyond the actual acts themselves, is the certainty of conviction. These mothers were so convinced that God was talking to them, or that they had an understanding of his divine will, that they were willing to murder their own children. That kind of absolute certainty about these matters is something that I am unable to relate to, and frankly, find terrifying. The fact that young and defenseless children are so often the victims of these delusions that are exacerbated by religious fantasy just multiplies the tragedy of it all.