The woman’s partner found her bloodied in their bathtub, CBC said.
She’d given birth alone in the bathroom but didn’t know she was pregnant, CBC reported. Her newborn baby was found in a plastic bag, still alive and with head wounds that appeared to have been inflicted by scissors, the publication said.
The infant died from asphyxiation at a hospital a few days later, the Montreal Gazette reported.
The 2016 incident was the second time the woman didn’t know she was pregnant, said Quebec Court Judge Linda Despots. During the first unknown pregnancy, the woman was told when she was 32 weeks along after going to the hospital for an injury, the Montreal Gazette said. She was monitored closely throughout the rest of her pregnancy, the newspaper reported.
The 43-year-old mother of three was charged with murder in her fourth baby’s death, CTV News reported. She pleaded guilty in November to infanticide, the Montreal Gazette said.
“It was a denial of pregnancy,” the unidentified woman’s lawyer, Joseph La Leggia told reporters, CTV News reported.
In Canada, a woman can be charged with infanticide when she causes the death of her newborn at a time when she hasn’t “fully recovered from the effects of giving birth” and her mind is “disturbed,” the Montreal Gazette reported.
“She did not know she was pregnant,” Le Leggia said. “She does not remember what happened. A complete amnesia.”
Despotes sentenced the woman to 20 months on house arrest followed by three years’ probation. She’s also required to take a pregnancy test every six months, which she agreed to, CTV news reported.
La Leggia believes it was the first time in Canada a judge has ordered pregnancy tests as part of a sentence, the publication said.
Despots said the woman was indeed diagnosed with “non-psychotic denial of pregnancy” and dissociative amnesia when she was taken to the hospital in 2016, the Montreal Gazette reported.
Quebec’s youth protection service say she doesn’t pose a risk to her other children, CBC said.
Prosecutors said the woman has “a lot of remorse,” CBC reported.
There have been other stories of women who didn’t realize they were pregnant until they gave birth — and where the child died shortly after. For example, in Pennsylvania, Brittany Robinson, 23, was charged last year with criminal homicide after authorities say she gave birth to a baby boy, put him in a dresser drawer and went to work.
She allegedly then moved the boy’s body to a crawlspace under the family’s back porch, authorities said. He was in a garbage bag, the Centre Daily Times said.
Robinson told police she didn’t know she was pregnant, but authorities say there’s proof that she knew she was expecting before she gave birth, CBS Pittsburgh reported.