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Moms who kill: Here’s how to spot signs that a mother may harm her kids

Lauren Dickason murdered her children shortly after moving from SA to New Zealand. Professionals take a look at what may have been warning signs before the tragedy…


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Most of the world has been left reeling by the news of a South African mother who murdered her three daughters shortly after the family moved from Pretoria in South Africa to New Zealand. Recent reports reveal that she had a mental breakdown and killed the kids, leaving a gruesome scene for her husband to discover when he got home.

Here are some signs that a mother may pose a risk to her children

South African mother loses it in New Zealand

Over the years we’ve heard about and read tons of stories of mothers who kill their children after experiencing mental breakdowns.

Most recently, a South African doctor Lauren Anne Dickason was taken into custody after the bodies of her two-year-old twins and six-year-old daughter were discovered by their father, Graham Dickason, who is also a doctor.

The family immigrated to New Zealand, Timaru just over a month ago and had just finished their two-week-long managed Covid-19 isolation. Lauren had also written an anniversary message to her husband thanking him for taking care of her and the kids so well while also gushing over how beautiful their family is.

According to an IOL article, the murders came as a big shock to her family members who describe her as “very humble” and the “nicest person”.

ALSO READ: Lauren Dickason: Mother accused of murdering daughters to undergo psychiatric evaluation

Mental health and motherhood: How to spot the signs

Doctor Lauren’s case is not an isolated one. Overs the years, alarming stories have surfaced of mothers who snapped. While it almost always comes as a shock, psychologists reveal that there are tell-tale signs that a mother can pose harm to her children.

Licensed psychologist Joy Crabtree says that increased irritability, loss of patience, quick mood changes, excessive energy or extreme fatigue, and a sense of feeling hopeless or overwhelmed are all signs of a depressed or mentally unstable mother.

According to a Checkup Newsroom article, a more serious sign is postpartum psychosis.

This is when a mother has an inability to distinguish what is real from what isn’t real. Mothers suffering from postpartum psychosis also sometimes develop extreme paranoia and may even start hearing voices and sounds that aren’t there.

The article reveals that in some cases, mothers start to have irrational thoughts about their babies or children.

Treatment for mentally unstable mothers

Parent24 says that postpartum psychosis is rarely linked to suicide or infanticide but when left untreated, can lead to detrimental results for both the mother and her children.

They also report that treatment for postpartum psychosis includes tranquilization, mood-stabilising medication, and electroshock therapy while adding that doctors often prefer home-based treatments so that a mother may have time to bond with her children/baby.

Mothers who suffer from postpartum psychosis need a ton of support and understanding from their loved ones who should encourage and help them to get treatment.

ALSO READ: A mother’s tears: Distraught mom’s cry for help goes viral