By special guest author - Blaze.
For as long as she lives, ordinarily a mother will love and nurture and protect and prioritise her child fearlessly and uncompromisingly, with all her heart and every ounce of her strength.
If something dreadful happens to her child, a normal mother will be virtually annihilated by grief and guilt.
These are just two of the (many) unspoken but universally understood 'rules' of motherhood. The 'rules' assume that every woman is innately equipped for motherhood.
But some women are not.
Some women do not, or cannot, feel love for their child. Some mothers abuse their child: this can be physical, verbal and/or sexual (active) and emotional, mental/psychological and/or religious/spiritual (passive) abuse. In particularly dysfunctional and damaging homes, it can even be all of them. Implicit within every type of abuse is the most prevalent form: neglect.
Most child abuse is hidden - domestic abuse is, by definition, "behind closed doors". The vast majority of child abuse is never reported, rarely even suspected by those outside the family. The vast majority of abusers do not look (or openly act) like abusers; they look (and openly act) like regular mums and dads.
Obviously the examples of ill-equipped or dysfunctional mothers that make news headlines tend to only be the most severe and extreme examples. For every inadequate, shockingly neglectful, abusive or even murderous mother who does make the news headlines, there are millions of others who don't, and never will - either because their mistreatment of their child/ren is more subtle and/or covert (e.g. emotional abuse rather than physical violence), or they have a 'higher-functioning' mental illness or disorder and are therefore well-versed at duping and deceiving.
Before I go on, I must make it clear that having a mental illness does not mean a woman cannot be an excellent mother. I am referring here to very specific mental, emotional and psychological issues, and I know from experience that women with depression, bipolar, addictions, schizophrenia or borderline personality disorder, for example, are often brilliant mums and with sufficient support, they can even overcome or at least significantly improve their mental illness.
With Kate McCann, I believe we are talking about a full suite of very grave but generally well-concealed maladies, imbalances and maladjustments, which combine to create a woman who is as perplexing as she is certifiable. Mental health issues that, occurring co-morbidly in one woman, are disastrously incompatible with motherhood. She is, I believe, insane in the purest and most absolute and literal sense of the word. The fact she is high-functioning (i.e. very capable of leading and maintaining an ostensibly 'normal' life) unfortunately means this insanity is secreted beneath a fragile but compelling veneer of respectability, credibility and superficial success.
I have read Kate McCann's book in great detail. Based on her numerous public appearances and statements, and the contents of this astoundingly egomaniacal and disingenuous book, many believe that she is afflicted with at least one of the following: childhood trauma (past abuse), mental illness, drug dependency/ addiction, (post natal) depression/psychosis, and personality disorder/s. We will likely never know for sure, and it is of course speculation, but I maintain that the truth of WHY this extraordinarily conflicted and cold woman is the way she is represents part of the answer to how this unprecedented mystery has happened.
While I would never describe her as a 'victim', I do strongly believe she is totally and utterly controlled - by her own dire personal shortcomings at least as much as she is by the heartless heart specialist she's married to. (It would appear that they are in a torrid and mutually deleterious codependent relationship - far from being the "happy, harmonious, argument-free" (!!) marriage they are keen to portray.)
As a malignant narcissist - and I personally have no doubt whatsoever that the label is entirely applicable to Dr Healy; frankly the signs are flashing at us in sky-high technicolor neon - she is motivated solely by a seething, swirling cluster of negative emotions, which necessarily preclude the emotion we all associate with happiness and fulfilment: love. These emotions that plague her psyche are fear, fury and jealousy. Sometimes one of those is the more dominant, but typically they form an unholy trinity, resulting in behaviour that is erratic at best and evil at worst.
Kate McCann is - in my opinion - a deeply disturbed woman, a deluded fantasist who was both envious and resentful of her daughter, and fearful and angry about the fact that those emotions are obviously not what a 'good' mother is supposed to feel about her daughter.
Maybe once in a while, when a woman yearns for motherhood so much, desires it so badly, that when she finally becomes a mother, and it (perhaps unsurprisingly) fails to meet her expectations for some reason... or rather she fails to meet her own impossibly high standards, an 'ideal' of motherhood... it creates an unbearable internal conflict. The reality bears no resemblance to the dream. She assumes she will love her child unconditionally with all her heart, and glows blissfully throughout her long-awaited pregnancy, but when she finally gives birth, after years of excitedly planning and preparing for parenthood, what if that love doesn't come?
What if it doesn't feel as natural and dazzlingly positive and life-affirming as she expected? What if she looks at her new baby, knowing she should feel overwhelmed with adoration and yet feels... nothing? Or worse: nothing good.
From Goncalo Amaral’s book “The Truth of the Lie”:
"A child psychiatrist explains that there is a huge difference between wanting a child and later raising the child. Having been wanted doesn’t necessarily mean being loved and happy. It is quite possible that a baby, eagerly awaited by the parents, later becomes a responsibility that the latter do not manage to assume. Consequently, the child becomes unwanted."
What if she watches her husband - a man whose full attention she had enjoyed for many years - doting on the baby and feels potent pangs of an emotion normally associated with green-eyed monsters rather than misty-eyed mothers?
What if that baby disrupts her life to such an extent that she finds herself wishing she'd never bothered with motherhood at all?
What if the costs and disadvantages far outweigh the rewards and benefits? What if she feels so exhausted, exploited and disillusioned by the experience of sharing her previously self-indulgent, carefree life with a relentlessly demanding newborn, and so profoundly ashamed of those (natural and relatively common) feelings, that she refuses to seek help and instead the feelings deepen and worsen?
What if there happens to be something about *that specific child* that is so far away from the mother's preconceived notions of the 'perfect child' (or maybe more accurately something about HER that is so far away from her preconceived notions of the 'perfect mother'), that the seeds of resentment fester and grow into something insidious, sinister and all-consuming?
What if this mother, an only child herself of two baby-boomer parents who perhaps spoiled, engulfed and coddled her, is told by her father, a man she has misguidedly hero-worshipped for her entire life: "I think I might love your baby more than I love you"...?
After a full year of feeling sick and tired and stressed-out and helpless and emotionally decimated, and yet still so very, very desperate to prove to herself that she definitely can be a 'good' mother, actually a perfect mother, what if this mother conceives again - and this time hits the jackpot with a 'perfect' boy/girl twinset?
What then becomes of the first baby, the lost little child who is so difficult to love; the loud, needy, wilful, photogenic girl with the hypnotically wide, strange, soulful eyes who pleased her daddy and his friends in so many ways and yet failed to make her mummy happy at all? Such an innocent, spirited, effervescent little girl, so pretty and sassy and endearing that she takes the spotlight off her vain and insecure mother... The long-awaited firstborn who shattered her mummy's dreams by not being remotely like the demure and placid and manageable child her mummy imagined and wished for.
.... The hyperactive, challenging, gorgeous little girl who can't help feeling ever more sidelined and neglected when her siblings arrive, to great fanfare, three months before her second birthday.
There can be no doubt that motherhood deepened or worsened an existing mental frailty in Kate McCann. Possibly there was postnatal depression to the point of psychosis. She tried, desperately, to bond with her first baby, but she couldn't. Kate McCann's book tells us virtually nothing about the crucial period of Madeleine's life between her birth and the arrival of her siblings. Why does Kate omit such vital information about her daughter, about the supposed 'star' of the book? The first 12-18 months (at least) of first-time parenthood is a golden, beatific haze of skin-to-skin snuggles, milky burps, soft babygros and tiny socks, a thousand photographs, inhaling the scent of your baby's downy little head as if it's the best drug on earth, feeling disproportionately delighted with their every sound, facial expression, quirk, giggle and bowel movement. Feeling so deliriously in love that you can just watch them sleep for hours on end. Committing to memory every milestone: first smile, first word, first tooth, first steps.
There is none of that in Kate's book. None. It is the book's most telling feature.
This failure to bond (which isn't actually uncommon at all, and can ultimately be remedied if the mother is sane and willing to accept help) represented a turning point. When the twins were born, and the bonding with them was instant and natural (perhaps their very purpose was to temporarily fill an unfillable void), the failure to bond with her firstborn was no longer Kate's failure, it became *Madeleine's failure*. It was a guilty burden that Kate was only too glad to pass to the headstrong outcast daughter who had the nerve to effortlessly outshine and deplete her mother and steal away too much of her father's attention. Madeleine was the faulty one. And now she'd been replaced with two easy-to-love, easy-to-manage children who were not faulty, indeed they just about met their mother's arbitrary ideals of 'perfection'.
Kate McCann's dream of 'perfect' motherhood was therefore finally realised on 1st February 2005, and although Madeleine was still just a baby herself then, more in need than ever of a 'perfect mother' (or even a 'just about adequate' mother would have sufficed), tragically I believe her fate was sealed from that date. Even more tragically, nobody in her wider family recognised her vulnerable situation or loved her enough to protect her from the fatal chain of events leading up to 3rd May 2007, and the relentless, shameless commodification of her memory that followed.
The part of KM's book that clarified for me that she is a woman consumed with envy and raging resentment is towards the end of chapter 2. (There are abundant indications, but this is a standout, in my opinion.)
She quotes something her father said to her shortly after Madeleine was born. It might seem inconsequential to a casual reader, but as she rarely quotes anyone verbatim (and certainly not Madeleine), I think it is significant.
"[my dad once told me] that if he were able to design his own granddaughter and have her knitted for him, Madeleine would be it. ‘I think I might love her even more than I love you,’ he added. I wasn’t too sure whether that was intended as a compliment but, knowing how much he loved me, I gave him the benefit of the doubt."
What a strange and insensitive thing for a father to say to his daughter! And if there were no vestiges of envy before such a statement was uttered, those words would instantly provoke a fearsome shitstorm of uncontrollable anger and jealousy in an already cripplingly insecure, unstable, hormonal, entitled and disordered woman who clearly already feels like an abject failure and a woefully inadequate mother.
I believe Gerry was obsessed enough with his capricious wife and more specifically with his hard-won lifestyle that he was prepared to do *whatever it took* to keep his family 'together' and create an illusion not just of normalcy but of perfection. Like his wife, he is a person who acts not out of love but out of fear.
Poor, poor Madeleine Beth McCann.
I reiterate that the above is my opinion, it is only speculation based on my own experiences and an intimate knowledge and understanding of toxic familial relationships and the various destructive ways in which these can be manifested.
I am not necessarily suggesting that either parent is a murderer, or even that they are directly responsible for Madeleine's death, but those potential scenarios certainly cannot be ruled out.
If a child is unfortunate enough to have two disordered and morally insane parents, frankly all bets are off.