• Joel Brown

    Staff Writer

    Portrait of Joel Brown. An older white man with greying brown hair, beard, and mustache and wearing glasses, white collared shirt, and navy blue blazer, smiles and poses in front of a dark grey background.

    Joel Brown is a staff writer at BU Today and Bostonia magazine. He’s written more than 700 stories for the Boston Globe and has also written for the Boston Herald and the Greenfield Recorder. Profile

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There are 14 comments on A Mother Charged with Killing Her Children: A Possible Explanation for the Unthinkable

  1. I think this article only touches the surface. There is research on this going on in England that is very interesting and also speaks to potential that there are other issues that can make the mother at risk including premorbid presence of the bipolar although women can have it who have no prior history of bipolar. They also speak to cases of men displaying it. I think the real issue here is whether or not she had had treatment and support groups for it, did she have it with the other children or only with this one and did it sneak up on her. This is not only about educate, educate, educate. It is about screening for predisposition, follow-up, being as interested in the mothers’ health as the newborn’s health. It is also about the stigma related to psychosing symptoms which can scare a parent into not divulging that they are having psychotic episodes, nightmares and hallucination. She could fear losing her children, losing her job, especially given what she does for a living. We have no idea how much sleep this mother was getting given the age of the baby as well as the stress in managing the other children, not to mention any premorbid bipolar history. In England, one mother who had this was craving chocolate and fizzy drinks, psychosing and her husband found her hiding in the garage. He got her to the E.R. This is a tragedy; for the kids, the father AND the mother. We have no idea what her present mental health condition is, but if and when she realizes what she has done, the self judgment will be far worse than any court’s. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fA2ug9EDs3k

  2. Thank you for presenting a very informative piece on this under discussed illness.
    I hope it serves to help someone dealing with depression in their life

  3. Thank you for increasing awareness through this excellent Q&A. As an opportunity to be more inclusive, could we use “they/them” pronouns and “mother” with “birthing person”?

    1. Please let’s keep our eye on the ball here. Two children were murdered. The third child, a baby, is in critical condition. First responders from my hometown, and from surrounding towns where I have also resided, responded, and said, this is the worst thing they have ever seen. Our town manager was in tears on Wednesday night speaking about this. The world, and especially, my hometown is reeling from this sad, tragic news. Yes, it is important to use inclusive language. Maybe when we a further out from the night when this occurred, folks will be more cognizant of those chosen words. But for now, and at the speed at which people are being asked to respond to the news, please be gentle around issues of inclusion. Everyone will come around.

    1. She spoke of ppd and anxiety in her social media posts. She was in a PPD program at MGH. She was probably taking at least one psychiatric medication. I experienced psychosis from an anti-anxiety drug. I was given a high dose for sleep by an osteopath at the Merino Center in Cambridge, MA. On top of that I was then given two SSRIs. This prescribing of medication cocktails is rampant. I wish she would get a lawyer to pursue a wrongful death suit. She should be given a sentence of involuntary manslaughter, a functional medicine doctor, and a trauma informed therapist. That’s probably Utopia. She will go to prison and her son will grow up and find out what happened. All women need to get their hormones checked and all women need to learn about bio-identical hormones (not HRT). If you are a woman over 30 get your levels checked NOW. Find a functional medicine doctor and prepare for childbirth (if applicable), Perimenopause and menopause. Be very careful with meds. Many people have adverse reactions.

    2. Exactly, I was going to say, it is a poor recommendation to give postpartum mothers if in fact she was already taking an antidepressant or antipsychotic that is linked to causing psychosis (as many are, especially if it was a first time use). Antipsychotics and antidepressants can cause otherwise perfectly normal individuals to commit some atrocious crimes and morbid suicide. Could be dangerous to use these drugs on postpartum women who already have an overload of certain hormones and brain chemicals (including seratonin)…

  4. Thought article very informative. This Professional stated the facts, which we all need to hear & try to understand.
    We may never have an answer to this tragedy, but we must have “COMPASSION” for this troubled Mother.
    I have no doubt she loved her children to no end.
    Something in her brain ( Chemically) went array very, very suddenly. . No matter the legal status, she will never have a reason to live a nl life. She will always want to be with her Children, when reality becomes real.
    If it does. These two Parents need all the LOVE & CARE , that society can provide. . Please everyone be KIND, esp in this matter. Thank You

  5. I was depressed during pregnancy. I was aware of it and there was no medicine. What helped? To sleep more and put myself first.

    I had not been sleeping enough. I was sleeping at 11 or 12 PM and waking up before sunrise to get ready for the day. No naps during the day because I either was in school in my final year with projects to finish or I was already taking care of my kids and couldn’t step away because they would otherwise get in trouble.

    Why didn’t I ask my spouse to give me a break? Sadly, he was not understanding. He thought I could shake it off. I still remember when he told me his sister told him that I “was not sick”. He would be busy working or in school too.

    Family? Nope. Lived far from family, and when I lived close enough to get sporadic help, I was encouraged to live for my husband and the family and the house, so I knew I wouldn’t be understood.

    Friends? Nope. Lived “happy” in front of others and thought that if I claimed I didn’t have it together, others would be shocked and judge me. I was afraid to be judged.

    Thank goodness for the stress evaluation at the gynecologist which brought me a counselor. I was in great emotional pain.

    I actually thought I wouldn’t make it until someone came for support, but I’m here to tell the story.

    I would tell any mother to take care of herself first, to simplify, to give herself a break.

    Thanks to the counselor that helped me, I am a lot stronger mentally and emotionally. I learned to train my thinking patterns so that I could be aware and do something about it.

    I remember the first time I went to bed and just left everyone in the living room. My husband was with the kids, and for the first time, I let him figure it out.
    I had a good night’s rest and was ready for the next day.

    I have since learned to stand up for myself and my needs. A lot has happened, but depression is a topic I take seriously. You can’t just shake it off.

    You have to learn to rewire your brain, and change your assumptions, and take care of yourself.

    For me, that took tremendous courage.

  6. After my 3 month break from MGH with my 1st son I was driving him to my father-in-laws so I could go to work I had a massive anxiety attack. My husband had to leave work and take me to Urgent Care and they started me on Ativan and Sertraline. It saved my life. Then we went on to have 2 more children , so I had 3 kids under 5. The pressure and thoughts that go threw a woman’s mind and body during the postpartum is frightening. I was fortunate that I delivered my kids at MGH and was set up wi the great aftercare when I had the last son. My postpartum went from baby blues to depression and anxiety for years. I was fortunate to be able to recognize it and have people around me that recognize it as well. This is such a sad and horrible outcome is so under diagnosed. Every woman actually have a child should be set up with behavioral health even if it’s just for a week or two. It should be part of the postpartum treatment during the six weeks. I understand that staffing is short but it’s so essential this woman 32 years old went to the darkest place, and it was preventable. Sometimes we can have all the support at home but it’s not the right support. You need to be around people that understand what you’re going through and the main thing is medication. support groups are great but with very intensive postpartum depression there’s no support group in the world that’s gonna get you through that.

  7. I like many women suffered from PPD. I actually suffered for years with Pms mood swings and when I got pregnant I felt like I had Pms through the whole pregnancy. It was horrible. I did bring my concerns during my pregnancy and was told due to my mental state to take medication. I took one pill and felt I just had to try without medication as I felt the medicine would harm the baby so I stopped. After my baby was born it was worse so I decided to take the advice of the doctors and try Zoloft . This is where the horror began . Starting the medication after a few days I became emotionless . I had intrusive thoughts of harm . I would struggle with these thoughts because that was no way in hell I thought . I can’t even put into words this was over 20 years ago . Those thoughts were scary like an urge . I immediately stopped the medication went bank to my regular PPD and I was ok with it dealt with it . That Zoloft was evil. I wonder if she was put on medication . My heart breaks for the whole family

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