He seemed more of loving father than a loving husband. So what changed? Why did the children have to die?
On September 10th I analyzed the day Shan’ann told Chris Watts she was pregnant for the third time. This was a significant date in the Watts timeline, and if it plays directly or indirectly into motive, it’s vital that we know when the motive began to manifest.
A number of followers of this blog were critical of the idea that Shan’ann knew exactly when she fell pregnant, and were perhaps doubtful that she knew she was pregnant close to or immediately after conception.
It’s important to emphasize in this respect that Shan’ann’s her own person. Shan’ann’s Shan’ann and you’re you. Her pregnancy, her attitude to life, her personality etc is unique to her. In order to fathom the authentic interiority here, one has to look inside the developments not through our eyes but through her eyes. That’s not easy because it requires us to spend some time actually figuring out who she is.
That’s really the business of true crime over all, isn’t it? To figure out who people really are, and through that, to figure out ourselves and the agendas of those around us.
That’s also what True Crime Rocket Science is all about. #tcrs specializes in this most difficult area of all, human nature, and the unique natures of various identities in various cases.
When Shan’ann’s friend Nickole Utoft Atkinson described her as OCD, we get it. We know what OCD means, and we think that explains what sort of person Shan’ann was. But does it?
What does it means to be OCD about one’s pregnancy?
Shan’ann found out she was pregnant with Bella, her firstborn, on April 16th 2003. Bella was born on December 17th, 2013. The span of time between those dates is 246 days, or eight months and two days.
Another important aspect Shan’ann had to deal with in terms of her pregnancy was lupus, an autoimmune disease that causes the body to attack its own organs. Lupus is an important factor antagonizing against pregnancy: it can lead to miscarriage and premature delivery in the mother, and heart problems in the fetus.
So pregnancy was a far bigger deal with Shan’ann than it would be for most first-time mothers. It wasn’t just about the anxiety of getting pregnant, but the ongoing tension of managing the monitoring the pregnancy in terms of her own health and the health of the baby. The OCD in terms of controlling the pregnancy was also evident everywhere else in Shan’ann’s life. This need to control while rooted at the surface in health concerns was really about controlling the fear of death.
It’s not clear whether Bella was born prematurely, but what is clear is that Shan’ann knew very, very early on in her first pregnancy when she fell pregnant. At most she became aware of it less than 4 weeks after the fact. If Bella was born prematurely, which is likely where the mother is a lupus sufferer, then Shan’ann may have been aware even sooner, within days.
It’s likely Shan’ann’s OCD/vigilance would have been even greater during her second pregnancy, and greater still during the third pregnancy.
The idea that Shan’ann was very aware of the timing of the pregnancy is enhanced by the blogs she kept in 2013. Not only does it show her meticulous record keeping, it also shows Chris Watts as an attentive and caring father. In 2013 he appeared to be just as caught up in the fairy tale they were embarking on as Shan’ann was.
The blog involves careful documenting of each moment and milestone. This also sets the tone for Shan’ann controlling effectively her husband’s role in her narrative. She’s the active voice, he’s simply a bit player in her spiel.
Chris Watts also makes his contributions to the blog, probably at Shan’ann’s prompting. Because it’s his first child, he’s happy to be part of her dairy. But how might these feel and play out for a parent a second time, and then a third?
So what made Chris Watts STOP loving his kids?
There are perhaps two broad answers to this question. Firstly, in any family, the more people added to it, the more love is lost or redistributed simply as a matter of logistics. Each new person on the scene requires resources: attention, love, time and money. Each new person on the scene means fewer resources for everyone else: attention, love, time and money.
If any of these resources [especially love and money] are becoming thin to begin with, then an additional child could cause the credit in these accounts to run out completely.
Secondly, if the third child wasn’t part of his plan, if it was her plan – her scheme – then we can see how the fairy tale could begin to darken, and then unravel.
If Shan’ann was a particularly OCD and controlling sort of person, then Chris Watts may have felt that not only was the third child not his idea, but everything was starting to feel overwhelming. Shan’ann’s control over his life had become total, and thus oppressive and off-putting.
When everything was starting to feel foisted upon him, and he was merely a sperm donor, a pawn and a prop in Shan’ann’s fairy tale, where’s the fun in that? When he felt like he was drowning in her fairy tale, maybe that’s when his fairy tale ended. Maybe his love for his children changed not because of them, but because of her.
We uncovered a blog we believe to be written by Shannan Watts, posting about her pregnancy with Bella in 2013. Here’s a look at the heartbreaking posts written years before her husband is accused of killing them.
Posted by Ashleigh Banfield on Wednesday, October 10, 2018