With second-degree murder charges laid yesterday against Shelby Herchak, the 18-year-old woman accused of killing her month-old baby, many have been left wondering — how could the death have been prevented?
While Calgary has many support options for teenage mothers, often those who are overwhelmed by the prospect of parenthood don’t seek help.
“Teens tend to be less likely to search out for help because they’re afraid of being judged as incompetent mothers. It can be hard for them to say ‘I’m in trouble,’” said Wendy Lowe, executive director at the Calgary Pregnancy Care Centre.
Lowe said there are options available for moms like Herchak who are having trouble coping with parenthood, from counselling, short-term emergency crisis care, asking social services to intervene until you’re able, and as far as adoption.
“This was a young girl who wanted to be a part of a social network that goes to the bar,” said Lowe.
“She was finding it difficult to connect to her social peer group as a mom. It’s a challenge that we see many teen moms facing.”