Dr. Michelle Golland: Runaway Mom Tiffany Tehan Selfish or Something Else?

The Ohio mother, Tiffany Tehen, who had been missing since last Saturday, has now been found. She simply ran away with her lover. What I find fascinating is that so many people are amazed that a young mom would leave her 1-year-old daughter. Why do we think that woman don’t do “bad” things? 

Women can be just as selfish, abusive and cruel as men but we are still shocked when we see a mother run away, sell her baby for drugs or murder her kid so she can party over the summer.  I am not shocked by anything anymore but I do want to understand how and why do we get to the point of these horrible life altering behaviors. 

Clinically, when I look at Tiffany Tehen, I am curious if she had any issues of Post-Partum Depression after the birth of her daughter. Often new mothers especially young mothers do not recognize the symptoms of PPD and honestly fear even sharing their thoughts or feelings of depression, frustration or disconnection. Often new mothers are confused and ashamed of these feelings because they are so “unnatural” and go against what everyone in society is telling you should feel after having a baby. 

It may have been that Tiffany was struggling with bonding with her baby, which would make it easier in her mind to simply run-away. None of us know what was actually going on within the marriage.

In my opinion, the Tehen’s, church involvement and the fact that her father is a pastor could also lead to feelings of shame and embarrassment if she is unhappy in her marriage and lead her to believe that disappearing would be better than bringing on the shame of a divorce for her daughter, husband and herself.  It is not that I don’t think Tiffany acted selfishly and callously toward her husband, her daughter and her entire family I just wonder if there was more going on than simply an affair.  

My hope is that people who see her actions realize the need to face the problems they are having directly and honestly rather than run-away and cause the pain and confusion to their families and the loss of monies and legal power that could go to other legitimate missing persons.

It may help in the case of Post-Partum Depression to get families and mothers to recognize it is okay to seek help if you believe these issues are going on.


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