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Murdering Moms

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What is going on with all these murdering moms?

Right now in California, 24-year-old mom Stacey Marie Barker is accused of murdering her 18-month-old daughter, Emma. Authorities believe she suffocated the child. Stacey's stories kept changing, and she ultimately led the police to her daughter's body that she had dumped on the side of the road.

sad woman alone

What is going on with all these murdering moms? Well, it seems that it is not that uncommon -- it is just horrifying to our sensibilities as caring and loving mothers. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, from 1976-1999, 30% of murdered children under the age of 5 were killed by their mothers, while fathers were responsible for 31%. Momlogic spoke with psychologist Dr. Michelle Golland to find out what could drive these moms to murder.

Dr. Michelle Golland: Some of the issues involved with these moms include mental illness, isolation, anger, and fear. They also have poor coping skills to handle stress and may have little emotional support from family or friends.

What has been found is that murdering moms usually fall into one of the following categories:

Altruism: These women believe their children are suffering or are in some type of pain and they believe killing them will put them out of their misery. These moms usually are severely depressed.

Psychosis: These moms suffer from schizophrenia or another psychotic disease such as postpartum depression with psychotic features. They often hear voices telling them to kill their children.

Unwanted Children: This mom doesn't want her children. They are inconvenient to her lifestyle. These moms usually have narcissistic or borderline personality disorders.

Maltreatment: This is the most common category. These mothers kill their children in the course of abuse without the intention of murder.

Revenge: These moms want to punish the father by taking away what she believes to be the most important thing to him: his kids.

Women from the first two categories are suffering from a true psychotic disorder, and once on medication are horrified and devastated by their actions. In many other cases, drugs and alcohol play a significant role as well. One common theme is the lack of emotional support, either perceived or real, that these mothers feel.

Many of us may have been at the end of our "rope," but something stops us from taking such devastating and murderous actions. I ask you, what do you do when you reach your limit or you are worried that a fellow mom is reaching her limit?

next: Carnie Wilson's Baby Nursery -- Gorgeous!
11 comments so far | Post a comment now
Briellis May 3, 2009, 9:19 AM

I am horrified. I would never hurt my daughter. My husband told me yesterday that one of his battle buddies (he’s army) went TDY and his wife was left alone with their baby for 4 days. Well, now she’s going to jail because her poor little baby died and the autopsy showed he hadn’t been fed in 3 days.

Anonymous May 3, 2009, 2:48 PM

To answer the question, a mentally ill person wouldn’t know they have reached their limit because it is a progressive disease and the sufferer is usually THE LAST one to see it, let alone want to treat it. As for spotting a sufferer and attempting to step in, again these diseases are progressive, so by the time the sufferer reaches a certain level how would a loved one know the difference between that and the sufferer’s previous behavior? Also, you have to consider that the sufferer is more likely to hide their problems then ask for help, (especially from the ones they love), all thanks to the STIGMA of mental illness. So all things considered, there’s hardly anything anyone can do to prevent a mentally ill person, (who is unwilling to seek help themselves,) from hurting themselves or others. And that is the crux of the matter, and why it’s so frustrating for folks like me dealing with family members who are sufferering, when there is NO gameplan, practically ZERO resources that are so expensive you have to stop using them after a short time anyway, and usually ZERO recognition from society as a whole, until a case like this crops up and everyone jumps on the ‘blame the family’ bandwagon.

Heiddi May 3, 2009, 4:22 PM

I have to agree with anonymous. Anyone without a good support system and having a mental illness can fall into hurting his or her child. What is it that stops one person but not another? It is not only mental illness that is a factor, but also the resilience of the individual. Some of us need someone to hold onto alot of the time, while others just a little and still others just someone to walk beside them. We are all unique and complex in the way we are built. Mental illness is not something that should be ashamed of, but something to be acknowledged and accepted as a part of who we are as humans. That’s the only way we can heal one another and prevent anymore children from being hurt by their parents.

Anonymous May 4, 2009, 1:01 AM

I agree with anonymous also,there is no way to predict something to this extreme. Why does theyre have to be an illness for everything.I realize there are alot of sick people out there but why does there have to be a reason other than with evil. Alot of times I believe its used because its like a scapegoat. People should be held accountable by their actions not their so called disorders.

Toni May 4, 2009, 2:26 PM

You definitley need a support system. When I am at the end of my rope with my son (16 months) I have to leave to cool off sometimes, which is where my support system comes in. Most of my aggrivation does not come from him, he just triggers underlying things i am upset about and I can handle him in addition to all that I am already dealing with. Until I had a child, I could never understand the heartbreak of losing one, even someone else’s. It hurts my heart when I think about how innocent these little babies are.

Leeza May 4, 2009, 2:37 PM

All these Mothers that murder- have Mothers,Fathers,Sisters/Brothers,Grandparents, Aunts/Uncles and probably a friend/neighbor or acquantance to open up to and share their problems with. We as a society have lost our sense of reaching out and helping people that don’t seek help for themselves. These murdering Mothers didn’t just wake up one morning and decide to murder their child.They clearly showed red flags well before they murdered, that people close to them knew of, but chose to ignore. Maybe no one knew they would murder, but they knew they either had mental disorders,substance abuse or no coping skills.All 3 are 100% TREATABLE with great success.If the sufferer of these disorders is too ashamed or too dillusional to seek help, then it’s the people closest to the sufferer that need to stand up and guide them to counseling, AA, NA, or a psychiatrist or psychiatric hospital for help! Murder of a child can be prevented, if we pay more attention to the people closest to us!

Louise May 17, 2009, 9:53 PM

I am 61 yrs old and when my children were little i had problems with depression and anxiety attacks. I took medication for this and saw a doctor. But I never had a problem with my children. They were good kids and I loved them.

When my oldest son was a bout 13 yrs old their father left us, and I went a little wild and starting doing the night club and men thing. Still, I loved my children and it never entered into my mind that they were in the way, because they weren’t. But they did grow up with emotional problems. My son is married with children and he is now doing well. He and his wife and children are involved in church. My son is a musician in the praise and worship team at their church. Now my daughter is another story. She still has not forgiven her father for leaving us, who has since died, and hasn’t forgiven me for whatever she thinks I did wrong as a mother, and she is right about some things. But thank God, she is on the road to recovery. She is married with two children, and her husband has a good job. I pray for my children every day and I love them and my grandchildren very much. I am also a born again Christian and was totally set free in 1990.

Terry May 26, 2009, 2:21 AM

At 27 with depression and Anxiety,I do NOT use my ailment as an excuse to go out and kill our future.
30% and 31% are dam close if you ask me,but it’s no surprise if a double standard view comes to be,I mean,now that this behavior has made the spotlight.Also Revenge,along with the other four,are either alone or together,the ultimate plot behind most soaps and Lifetime movies.The question could be;why is it that those types of movies draw attention from our precious time.Cartoons with my kids,OK;The nightly movie of a backstabbed woman out to get revenge on Lifetime,I’ll pass.

Murphy July 1, 2009, 10:11 PM

Hi. A minute’s success pays the failure of years.
I am from Afghanistan and learning to write in English, tell me right I wrote the following sentence: “We start on the flea control regime, it important to.”

Thank you very much :P. Murphy.

Yosef September 8, 2009, 12:27 PM

Hi. Have patience awhile; slanders are not long-lived. Truth is the child of time; erelong she shall appear to vindicate thee.
I am from Finland and bad know English, tell me right I wrote the following sentence: “He generally relates conan to his older position, who is sometimes nicer to their argument.”

Waiting for a reply :o, Yosef.

Anonymous April 19, 2010, 11:33 PM

Shortly after the birth of my son. I had experienced a major psychosis. I was hearing and seeing thing. I kept this a secret from my beloved. But he knew something was wrong with me. Everyday it grew worse.

I thought that they were comming for my children to hurt them. I was told to make it merciful for them. In my heart I knew it was wrong. I said screw you. And stayed awake for days waiting for them.

Although my mind was sick, I knew better than to harm them. It is the love of my other half that stepped in when I couldn’t explain it to him. When the Psychosis was flairing up, my words wouldn’t come out right. Or I was saying off the wall stuff. He was in tears when he held my hand as I checked into the hospital. He said that I couldn’t come home until I was healthy. That he knew that I would not intensionally hurt the children. But I might do something to place them in harms way. Oh that hurt so much!

I’m now on anti-psychotic medication and will be on it for the rest of my life. I am blessed to be apart of a program where the pharmacatical companies provide my medication. Otherwise I couldn’t afford it. Without it my Psych said I would be at risk for another Psychosis. They need to make the medication available to all that need it. These pills are too expensive! As to the hospital stay. They waved the bill. $100,000 worth. If you talk to the financial department, there are forms to fill out that will help those that cannot afford to pay for their treatment. Just like the drug companies providing you with medication based on your income. Help is out there.

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