Psychologist Explains What Turns Ordinary Women Into Violent Criminals

By: Sam Watanuki | Published: Jan 20, 2024

Motherhood is often portrayed as a journey filled with love and joy, yet it encompasses a spectrum of experiences, some of which are challenging and complex. The societal expectations and personal aspirations that come with being a mother can sometimes lead to overwhelming pressures.

Understanding these pressures is crucial, as they can significantly impact a mother’s mental and emotional well-being. The responsibility of nurturing a new life, coupled with changes in personal identity and lifestyle, can be a daunting task for many—even turning some mothers into violent criminals. Recognizing the difficulties mothers face is the first step in providing them the support and understanding they need.

Understanding Through Empathy

Arouba Kabir, a seasoned Mental Health Counselor and the founder of Enso Wellness, offers a unique perspective to understanding the complex issues surrounding maternal mental health. With over a decade of experience in the field, Kabir emphasizes empathy and understanding over judgment. “While many tend to question the individuals involved, my perspective…is not focused on ‘how could they do it’ but rather on understanding what motivated their actions,” Kabir states.

Young couple is stressed as they go over bills at the kitchen table

Source: Freepik

This approach underlines the importance of diving into the underlying factors that influence such extreme behaviors. Her insights are aimed at educating and enlightening the public on the nuances of mental health challenges, particularly in the context of motherhood. Kabir’s commitment to this perspective highlights the need for a compassionate approach to mental health, one that seeks to understand and support, rather than condemn.

The Tragic Case of Suchana Seth

The arrest of Suchana Seth, CEO of The Mindful AI Lab, for the alleged murder of her 4-year-old son, is a deeply distressing incident that sheds light on the extreme consequences of unresolved mental health issues and other struggles that mothers can face, often unknowingly. Seth’s case illustrates how even successful individuals can face immense personal challenges that go unnoticed.

Suchana Seth

Source: Suchana Seth/X

The pressures of a strained relationship, coupled with the intense demands of motherhood and a professional career, might have contributed to the tragic outcome. As Kabir suggests, this incident underscores the importance of recognizing the signs of mental distress and the necessity of providing robust support systems—especially for mothers.

The Hidden Struggle: Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression is a critical issue in maternal mental health, often misunderstood and underrepresented. Unlike the typical “baby blues”, postpartum depression can cause severe mood swings, exhaustion, and a sense of detachment from the baby. It’s a condition that affects not just the mother’s well-being but also her ability to care for her child.

Young woman turning her face away

Source: Anete Lusina/Pexels

Understanding and acknowledging this condition is essential for providing timely and effective support. Creating awareness about postpartum depression helps in normalizing conversations around it and encourages mothers (and their partners) to seek help without fear of judgment.

The Role of Past Traumas

The impact of past traumas on motherhood cannot be overstated. Women who have experienced trauma or abuse in their past may find it challenging to establish a healthy attachment with their child.

Anxious young woman cover wing ears with hands sitting on chair

Source: Liza Summer/Pexels

These past experiences can resurface, influencing their parenting style and emotional responses. Recognizing the influence of such traumas is vital for providing appropriate support and, ultimately, therapy, which helps in creating a safe space for mothers to address these issues and learn healthier ways of bonding with their children.

Stress: The Silent Culprit

We all have stress. However, stress plays a significant role in the mental health of mothers. Factors like financial difficulties, lack of emotional support, or the sheer responsibility of raising a child can be overwhelming.

A person in business attire appears overwhelmed and stressed, with one hand on their forehead and eyes closed, sitting in front of an open laptop in a dimly lit room

Source: Elisa Ventur/Unsplash

Chronic stress can lead to both physical and mental health issues, impacting a mother’s ability to care for her child effectively. Understanding and reducing major stressors through supportive networks and professionals can be crucial in maintaining maternal mental health.


Substance Abuse and Parenting

Substance abuse can gravely impair a mother’s judgment and decision-making abilities. It can lead to neglectful or harmful behaviors that would be uncharacteristic of the mother in a sober state.

Assorted liquor bottles

Source: Chris F/Pexels

Addressing substance abuse as a part of maternal health care is essential. Providing rehabilitation and support for mothers struggling with substance abuse can prevent potential harm to both the mother and the child.


Breaking the Stigma

The stigma surrounding mental health, particularly among mothers, is a barrier to seeking help. Many mothers fear judgment and criticism, which can prevent them from accessing the support they need.

A person in a blue medical scrub top is holding a pink stethoscope in such a way that the tubing forms the shape of a heart

Source: Patty Brito/Unsplash

Breaking this societal stigma is important for creating a supportive environment where mothers can openly discuss their struggles. Encouraging open conversations and normalizing mental health issues can go a long way in providing the necessary help to those in need.


The Power of Support Systems

The role of support systems in a mother’s life is also a major necessity. Emotional and financial support from family, friends, and communities can significantly alleviate the pressures of motherhood. Partners and co-parents should also actively participate in the raising of their children, both for the benefit of the children, as well as giving mothers a chance to have some time to themselves.

Protesters holding sign that reads “Healthcare Not Warfare”

Source: William Campbell/Corbis/Getty Images

Professional help, such as counseling or therapy, can also provide the necessary guidance and support. Encouraging a culture of support and understanding within families and communities can help mothers navigate the complexities of motherhood more effectively.


The Journey to Forgiveness and Healing

Kabir states that forgiveness and healing are also crucial aspects of dealing with maternal mental health issues. Understanding that it’s okay to make mistakes and learning to forgive oneself are essential steps in the healing process.

Colorful letters spell out the word 'forgive'

Source: Magda Ehlers/Pexels

Providing mothers with resources and support to embark on this journey of self-forgiveness can lead to better mental health and improved parenting.


Advancements in Maternal Mental Health Care

Recent advancements in healthcare have significantly improved our understanding and treatment of maternal mental health issues. Innovations in therapy, medication, and holistic care approaches offer new hope to mothers struggling with mental health challenges.

A woman puts her hands palm-to-palm during a yoga class

Source: luluemon athletica/Wikimedia Commons

These advancements aren’t just one-stop shops, though. Continued research and investment in maternal mental health care are necessary to improve outcomes and support women on their journey toward better mental well-being.


A Hopeful Future

As awareness and support for maternal mental health continue to grow (at a speed that many would argue is not fast enough), there is hope for a future where these issues are openly discussed and adequately addressed. A future where mothers receive the care and support they need, leading to healthier families.

Therapist taking notes during a session

Source: SHVETS production/Pexels

By prioritizing maternal mental health, we can work towards a society that nurtures and supports its mothers, recognizing their vital role in shaping the next generation.