We Should Help Now

Today is my birthday, and I’m very clear on what I want. I want to re-write a story, I want to fix it. I want to help a woman I know, who has found herself living in a devastated and destroyed world. Her world cannot be fixed though. That is because her two children are dead, and it was by her hand. They were five years old, and four months old.

Lisette Bamenga

Lisette Bamenga

Lisette Bamenga was a teacher at Roan’s school. This woman has one of those faces, the kind that when you call her up in your mind there’s a big grin, always. She is a teacher who Roan speaks of with a smile, recalling how he got to meet her baby when she brought her by for a visit. Ms. Bamenga was one of his favorites. And it makes no sense to anyone who knows her, how she has ended up as the villain in this story.

This is what I know. Lisette Bamenga didn’t get help at a time when she needed it. If there was a point where she asked for it, or if there was a point where she was denied it, I do not know. And because I do not have the fortitude to tell her story, I point to this well-written article, authored by one of her fellow teachers, Olivia Ramsey, and published in the Huffington Post:

For women who are not predisposed to postpartum depression and psychosis, we can push through, unhappy with the circumstances but knowing that this is what we have to do for our babies and our families. We suffer situational depression and lean on our co-workers, families, and friends to help us through. For Lisette and other women whose mental state is more precarious, the stress of juggling sleep-deprivation, caring for an infant and an older sibling, the demands of a full time job, and holding a marriage together is more than enough to trigger an acute postpartum psychosis. Lisette will never recover from this. She has killed her babies. Her life is over.

We don’t know the details yet about all that happened, or exactly how Lisette found herself in such a deranged state. But we can know with certainty that this country’s parental leave policies did nothing to protect those poor children. We should be ashamed.

When I had the difficult discussion with Roan about these events, the first thing he said was, “I want to help Ms. Bamenga”. His impulse amazed me and inspired me. And finally, last night he talked to me about it again. There’s a group of parents and friends who are constantly fund-raising to help pay for Lisette Bamenga’s defense fund. They will be having a bake sale and yard sale later this month. Roan asked if he could make something for it, and if he could donate some of his toys.

And then he explained to me that I needed to write about it, to ask people to help her. He told me this with the assertion of an adult correcting a child. And he was right. If there is anything good that can come from this tragedy, it’s the awareness and acknowledgment that this woman deserves our help now. It’s late. The damage is done for her family. But she deserves to be defended, and to have the care now that she didn’t have access to when she needed it so critically.

So for my birthday this year, I ask that you join Roan, me, and a handful of people who are trying to help Lisette Bamenga get access to an adequate defense and ultimately the best placement for her after this tragedy. She is a woman who fell critically and desperately ill, and it went unnoticed until it was much too late. Rather than horror, there needs to be sympathy. Rather than a gawking spectacle, there should be a circling of the wagons around a mother who was failed by a flawed system. Most importantly, we should all hold tight to our own children, and be so incredibly grateful that we can do just that.

Please give $5, $10, $100 – really anything you can. Donations will go directly to Lisette Bamenga’s Defense Trust.  I will be creating a card with names of donors to give to Lisette, so she can understand that she is supported and loved. This does help. We should help now. Click here to donate using PayPal/Visa/Amex/MC/Discover.


21 thoughts on “We Should Help Now

  1. This is just heartbreaking. I am grateful for your care and action on her behalf. And for your son’s amazing heart.

  2. Oh, Jodi, there are no words to write and so many tears to cry. This tragedy is endless and heartbreaking. I am praying for Lisette and every other mother who falls through the cracks of depression and pointlessness and is unsupported and rejected by society at large and the institution that refuses to lend a hand.

    Your post is important and vital and I thank you for it. Donation to follow and admiration as always.

  3. Sad and speechless. My heart breaks for you friend, I can’t even image. But I amazed by Roan’s empathy and compassion.

  4. So beautifully worded Jodi. With solidarity and gratitude will I share this letter with all I know.

  5. Postpartum psychosis is a separate mental health disorder which is sometimes erroneously referred to as postpartum depression. It is less common than PPD, and it involves the onset of psychotic symptoms that may include thought disturbances, delusions, hallucinations and/or disorganized speech or behavior. The prevalence of postpartum psychosis in the general population is 1—2 per 1,000 childbirths,.””:

    Be well

  6. This article confuses me in that those that are writing this article and the insert doesn’t know her very well nor do they know the facts and circumstances beyond the case to make such assumptions. Has anyone that is defending her ever once visited her in jail and asked her what happened or is it better to believe its something that its not? No one is naive enough to think domestic violence is only perpertrated by men alone and women are incapable of hurting or killing their children inspite. Its been going on for centuries and many of these women are not psychotic. Its in the news and depecited in such Discovery shows such as Snapped, Deadly Women, and Fatel vows to name a few. There are no shortage of stories/court cases depicting women committing violent acts toward their significant others and or children do your research. If the father would have done this would any one assume insanity? Because its a woman its assumed she has ppp without knowing the facts. “For Lisette and other women whose mental state is more precarious, the stress of juggling sleep-deprivation, caring for an infant and an older sibling, the demands of a full time job, and holding a marriage together is more than enough to trigger an acute postpartum psychosis.” First and foremost she was not married. I would think if your defending this person you should know that simple detail. Secondly if those stressors are enough to trigger acute postpartum psychosis what would you say for those women who are victims of domestic violence, her husband on drugs or an alcholic, she is working at minimum wage job, no education with three small children? Not to mention possibly being molested as a child and beaten. This is not unusual circumstance that is played out everyday and it does get worse than that. I suppose these women would have every medical reason to commit such an act. If you know her life it wasn’t close to that. Know your facts before defending a person who murdered her children and raising money for such a person. One fact is certain the authors do not know this person as well as you would like to believe

  7. Violet and Trevor Noel I would like to speak like to speak to you en enquire about Trevor as what people tend to forget whatever he allegedly done to her did not give her the right to kill the children and the fact that she googled how to kill the children demonstrated that it was plan and not the results of a breakdown please do contact me to speak thanks

  8. She had no history of post partum depression. Why are you people giving this woman an excuse for killing her kids? She was jealous. Too many people have let their emotions get the best of them. Did Susan Smith have post partum depression? Hell no. Her love and need for a man superceeded the love of her children. Plan and simple. Let’s put these type of people behind bars. Stop making excuses for an evil person. She planned this. This isn’t what people do who are afflicted with PPD. Would you want your kid to be taught by her? All you are doing is helping a monster be free to do evil again. She is calculating and evil. Who will be next if she is free

  9. This woman clearly planned the murders of her poor innocent children, not characteristics of PPD. Would you be so willing to help if these children were your neices or nephews or the father of these poor children?

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