Of Mothers, Daughters and a Nation Crying for Help…

Raging Sunset by michealmanganphotography
Raging Sunset, a photo by michealmanganphotographyon Flickr.

During the past year I have noticed an increasing number of Internet stories/articles reporting the murders and /or more often murder-suicides wherein a parent has killed the spouse and their children.

Men and fathers are usually the assailants for cases involving a murdered spouse.

Children are usually the victims when mothers commit homicide on members of their immediate families.

The act of any parent or adult killing a child is horrendous.

And yet, as the mother of three daughters, I am most taken when a mother kills her daughter (s).

As a psychotherapist I a to ask, “What drovethe mother to commit this terrible act? What message does this act send? And to whom is the mother speaking? For what is she crying out?”

In that these incidents are on the rise, I ask, “What do these occurrences say about our society?”

On a more personal level I wonder what does the increase in these type of crimes suggest about the physical and mental state of mothers in America? 

And what can we mothers and all of American society learn from this?


A recent guest on my blog talk radio show, Book Talk, Creativity and Family Matters, stated that research asserts that a single mother in America who works outside of the home endures on a daily basis the same level of stress as does a combat soldier fighting in Afghanistan.

Although the statement did not shock me, the fact that someone or some person had examined the state of mothers who work outside the home left me stunned.

Exploring the experience of women who are both mothers and who also hold down jobs outside the home is a good thing. 

Leaders and officials in American need to spend more time and money looking into this dimension of American culture and life.

To exact substantial, effective and permanent change in the life our nation’s economy, not to mention that women comprise 51% of our the country’s work force, you cannot ignore those who not only give birth to children (future workers and innovators,) but provide care and nurturing in the first 18 years of life of those who will become our nation’s future adults.

When I returned home after the birth of our first child and daughter I called the hospital where I had given birth and asked, “How can I tell if my baby is tired?”

I felt sure that a hungry or wet infant would cry.  But how to assess fatigue and tiredness left me worrisome.

The nurse with whom I spoke offered great wisdom that I still repeat nearly a quarter of a century later.

She said, “Check in with yourself. Listen to your body. If you’re tired. Your baby is most likely tired.  If you’re hungry and need a warm bath and nice dinner. The same most probably holds true for your infant.”

I thanked the nurse and have followed her directions since that time, during which I have given birth to two other children, both daughters.

The information this nurse dispensed addresses all parents and caretakers, either women or men, and matters not whether your infant is a girl or a boy.

Her words address not only the relationship between parent or mother and child.
It also speaks to people in relation to those around them.

As a psychotherapist I recognize and witness the state of one person’s mind and thoughts, influence and affect the unconscious and psyche of those in proximity to them or those individuals with whom an individual has communicated by either telephone or e-mail.

As human researchers advance the development of Internet and computer technology, we uncover and realize the many ways we, all of us, have been and are connected with one another.

We would do well to revisit Einstein’s Theory of Relativity and Quantum Mechanics and study their concepts and from the perspectives of human interaction, not simply that of building nuclear weapons.

On doing so we might find less need for engaging in war. Likewise we might also uncover improved methods of communicating with ourselves, families and those we hold most dear, and ultimately other peoples of the world with whom we must begin to view and interact as fellow global citizens versus our enemies.

The axiom, “When a drop of rain falls in China, we in America get wet,” has taken us full circle to, “The cries of one child enduring the murderous acts of a mother evidence the need for our nation to attend the inner child who lives within us all.

~~Below this blog post I have listed articles detailing the deaths of children at the hands of their mothers.

***Please note
I have not researched whether women and mothers are more or less likely than men and fathers to kill their children and spouses and follow with suicide

As a mother of daughters I have chosen to articles on mother homicide/suicides.

Mother Killed Daughter, 11, in Apparent Murder-Suicide

Mother in Murder-Suicide Grieved Over Late Daughter

Mom Kills Daughters Then Herself In Murder Suicide

Mother who allegedly drowned daughters in court today

Murder-Suicide on the rise nationwide

Kitchener woman in murder-suicide was loving mother, sister says

Indian mother faces trial in Britain for suicide attempt

Mother Lashandra Armstrong kills self, 3 kids by driving van into Hudson River, 1 escapes

Court Upholds Murder Conviction Of Mother Who Killed Young Daughter In Suicide Attempt

Woman Killed Self, 2 Children When She Walked Into Traffic on Interstate

Mother kills daughters in murder-suicide

Mom sends husband on errand… then ‘shoots her father, 10-year-old daughter and herself in shotgun horror’

The Trial of Fumiko Kimura ~~MOM KILLS KIDS AND SELF

Neighbor sees mother kill child in Downstate murder-suicide that leaves 5 dead

Mom who allegedly killed daughter said they had a death pact

Mother Kills 3 Children, Herself at Resort Condo

Mother kills children in murder-suicide

Wake Held for Mom, 4 Kids Killed in S.I. Murder-Suicide

Tulsa Police ID Mother And Daughter In Murder-Suicide

Howrey Associate Killed in Apparent Murder-Suicide

Hong Kong: Parent-Child Suicides Are Rising

Texas Mayor and Daughter: Newest Case of Parental Murder-Suicide

Police: Mom survives attempted suicide; accused of killing 8 yr. old disabled daughter

Mother’s Murder/Suicide Letter

Dying mother describes fiery murder-suicide

Pregnant Woman’s Failed Suicide Shouldn’t Earn Her a Murder Charge

Mom, Daughter Died in Murder-Suicide: Coroner

Ohio woman who killed self, kids, history of mental illness

Mom denied food stamps shoots kids, kills self

Andrea Yates


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2 Responses to “Of Mothers, Daughters and a Nation Crying for Help…”

  1. DeBorah Ann Palmer Says:
    March 30th, 2012 at 9:52 am

    First off I think Mothers who kill their daughters are mentally ill for the most part. Not that this diagnosis excuses their behavior but a mother has to have some form of psychosis to kill the child she has carried for 9 months in her womb. Many of the cases sited in your links I’m familiar with from the news and I’m fairly certain mental dysfunction is behind such aberrant actions. Many of these women suffer from depression, schizophrenia, psychosis etc…. Some are just sociopaths. Women who kill their children in order to get or keep a man fall into this category.

    My initial feeling in the case of mothers who murder their daughters is that they are killing a younger more beautiful version of herself. Perhaps she sees the daughter as the girl she, the mother once was. That girl child becomes a rival of sorts who must be destroyed.

    These women are all types of Medea or Clytemnestra.
    DeBorah Ann Palmer´s last blog post ..Holmesian Psychology Behind the Rabbit Hole

  2. Anjuelle Floyd Says:
    April 2nd, 2012 at 8:26 pm


    I think we can all agree that women/mothers who kill their children are suffering from some kind of mental psychosis.
    Our hearts break each time we read about an incident such as this. In the days since posting this blog I learned of a mother who killed her twin boys that from the picture on the Internet appeared to be toddlers around the age of 3 years old.
    This is so sad.

    Your idea that the mothers who kill their daughters are perhaps killing what they imagine to be a younger form of themselves is fascinating and hopeful. Your suggestion highlight how life in America often strips so many of us of our emotional dignity, a painful and excruciating experience that leaves us desperate beyond degree. Add to this the number of single mothers struggling to eke out a financial living and make ends meet, never mind attending to the physical and emotional needs of their their sons, daughters and/or both, I can truly see why they long for a time past when life offered so much more than the present.

    As always your comments are thoughtful and brimming with compassion.
    Thanks so much for reading this post and taking the time to leave such a wonderful comment.
    Peace and blessings to you and yours.

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