Mother accused of suffocating 1-year-old charged with attempted murder, bond upped

Suggestions of postpartum depression from neighbors some say could be a contributing cause to what led a mother to attempt to smother her 1-year-old child.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A judge increased the bond for a mother accused of trying to suffocate her 1-year-old son and orders her to stay away from the child.

Maggie Dixon, 32, made her first appearance in a Mecklenburg County courtroom Tuesday afternoon.

The judge raised her bond from $200,000 for a first degree attempted murder charge to $275,000.  Her bond for a felony child abuse charge remained unchanged at $25,000. 

If Dixon bonds out, the judge prohibited her from having any contact with her son, who is currently in his father's custody and under the care of the medical staff at Levine's Children's Hospital.  

Investigators say nurses noticed a significant change in the vitals of Dixon's 1 year old son.

When they went to check on the boy on video surveillance, police say nurses witnessed Dixon trying to suffocate the child with a pillow.

Staff forcibly removed Dixon from the hospital room and she was taken into police custody.

Prosecutors say Dixon initially denied the allegations to detectives, but later admitted to knowing her actions were threatening her son's life

Dixon's neighbors in Rockingham tell NBC Charlotte that she had been struggling for sometime with what they believe is postpartum depression. 

They also say her son was born premature and had related health issues and that she recently separated from her husband. CMPD has not yet confirmed that Dixon battled postpartum.

 

What does postpartum depression look like

Women can develop symptoms of Prenatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders during or after pregnancy.   Women who have previously had postpartum depression, thyroid or hormonal issues and infertility are at higher risk for these disorders.

"It is the number one complication after childbirth and we don't give it enough attention," said Dr. Judith Thorne, board member of the Postpartum Support International Carolinas.

Thorne says postpartum impacts 1 in 7 mothers, which is approximately 950,000 American women each year.  However, she suspects that number could be higher since many cases go unreported. 

"The husbands or partners might say they're not depressed, they're not laying in a ball on the couch," she explained.

However, she says symptoms are often displayed around the 2 to 3 month mark and if left untreated, can last up to two years after giving birth.   

"You'll see some irrational thinking, extreme agitation, overwhelming anxiety, sometimes paralyzing anxiety," Thorne explained.

However, she says if it escalates to delusions or hallucinations, then it could be a case of postpartum psychosis. A mother exhibiting these symptoms could be a danger to herself and her child.  

"The person doesn't always know they have psychosis, so it is hard to get them the help they need or require," she said.   "People tend to say, why can't they snap out of it.   you're in a psychotic state, you can't snap out of it," Thorne declared.

Thorne says there are resources for women in need of help.   

"If you have this condition it is very treatable, even psychosis is very treatable, it's just that we're not getting the word out there," she explained.

Support is available at www.postpartum.net.  If someone is experiencing postpartum psychosis, you are urged to call 911 or take them to the Emergency Room immediately.

© 2017 WCNC.COM


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