Suchana Seth: How Can A Mother Kill Her Child? Exploring the Psychological Complexities


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How can a mother kill her child? The story of Suchana Seth has left the entire world wondering what went wrong for a mother to kill her child. Suchana Seth, the CEO of Bengaluru-based AI startup The Mindful AI Lab, was arrested after being found in a cab with the lifeless body of her four-year-old son. It’s a tragedy that not only raises questions about the strong bond between a mother and her child but also sheds light on the intricate web of mental health issues that can lead to such devastating outcomes.

The Mental Struggle: A Note from Suchana Seth

In a crucial breakthrough, Goa police discovered a note penned by Suchana Seth herself. Using an eyeliner, she expressed her frustration, guilt, and the immense pressure she felt from both the court and her estranged husband, Venkat Raman, to relinquish custody of her son. The note provides a poignant insight into the mental state of a woman grappling with the weight of her circumstances.

The Dynamics of Parental Relationships and Mental Health

Attachment Issues and Parental Alienation

Experts highlight the importance of a healthy parent-child attachment, emphasizing that it often begins with the desire to have a child. Dr. Rahul Chandhok, a mental health consultant, explains that when a child is unwanted, the development of a healthy bond becomes challenging. In Suchana’s case, the deterioration of her relationship with Venkat Raman seemed to have played a pivotal role, leading to issues of parental alienation.

Seeking Understanding in the Face of Tragedy

Filicide: A Dark Reality

The Goa murder case draws parallels with previous incidents involving high-profile individuals in India like Aarushi Talwar and Sheena Bora. These cases underscore societal expectations and scrutiny placed on families, even those without financial or educational constraints. It also highlights the fact that with success comes tremendous pressure to manage life issues successfully. 

Motivations Behind Filicide

Psychological research identifies various motivations behind parents committing filicide, including perceived reduction of a child’s suffering, irrational beliefs, viewing the child as an obstacle, unintentional acts, and the impact of marital turmoil and divorce.

Rise in Tragic Events

Between 2000 and 2020, South Asia witnessed 12 cases of infanticide, a number experts believe is on the rise. The Goa murder case serves as a poignant reminder of the urgent need to understand and address the complex factors leading to such tragic events.

Mental Health Awareness and Preventive Measures

As discussions on this tragic incident unfold, it is imperative to delve into the root causes of filicide. The focus should be on establishing preventive measures, support structures, and mental health awareness to safeguard the well-being of children and families. This sobering incident urges society to reflect on the dark side of human nature and work collectively toward fostering a more supportive and compassionate environment.

The Role of Mental Health Professionals

In the aftermath of the Goa murder case, mental health professionals, including Dr. Rahul Chandhok and Dr. Sameer Malhotra, have emphasized the critical role of a mother’s initial wish to have a child. Dr. Chandhok underscores that when a child is unwanted, healthy attachment struggles to develop, potentially resulting in severe damage to the parent-child relationship.

Impact of Relationship Dynamics

Dr. Malhotra sheds light on the consequences of a deteriorating relationship between couples. In cases like Suchana Seth’s, where the child becomes a pawn in the struggle between adults, detachment can occur, leading to potential harm. Parental alienation, often a backdrop to marital discord, may drive individuals to use their children as objects to inflict suffering on estranged spouses.

Navigating Postpartum Challenges

Importance of Post-Pregnancy Well-being

Health experts stress the significance of a healthy and supportive atmosphere for mothers during and after pregnancy. Dr. Malhotra emphasizes that psychological symptoms during this period should be promptly addressed by professionals. Changes in mood, behavior, and biological rhythms must not be neglected, as they can contribute to various troubles.

Preventive Measures and Lifestyle Choices

Highlighting the preventive role of a healthy lifestyle, work-life balance, and positive social and family support, Dr. Malhotra emphasizes early identification and timely treatment of underlying psychiatric concerns. These factors play a crucial role in maintaining the mental well-being of parents, potentially averting drastic actions.

Breaking the Taboos: Seeking Professional Help

Addressing the societal stigma surrounding mental health support, Dr. Sanjay Kumavat emphasizes the importance of seeking professional help, especially when experiencing anxiety or depression. Regardless of one’s role, whether a working mother or not, recognizing marked personality changes or struggles with daily activities should prompt individuals to seek the assistance of mental health experts.

Analyzing the Tragedy: Insights from Mental Health Experts

Complex Motivations Behind Maternal Filicide

The alleged murder of a 4-year-old child by his mother has left experts grappling with understanding the motives. Dr. Sneha Sharma, a psychiatrist, notes that while mental illness is often considered, the extreme action seems perplexing, given the woman’s seemingly normal functioning in her professional life.

Predispositions and Underlying Factors

Dr. Paramjeet Singh emphasizes the need to consider predispositions and underlying factors, suggesting that extreme actions may stem from past experiences, upbringing, or family dynamics during childhood. The stress, especially from a custody battle and estrangement, might have triggered a complex set of emotions and actions.

Revenge, Trauma, and Substance Abuse

Dr. Sneha Sharma speculates that seeking revenge against the spouse and viewing the child as an extension of the partner might be an underlying reason for such extreme violence. The role of unresolved trauma, history of abuse, and potential substance abuse issues is also explored, shedding light on the multifaceted nature of the tragedy.

Seeking a Deeper Understanding

As more information surfaces, a clearer picture might emerge regarding the circumstances surrounding this tragic incident. It is crucial to approach such cases with sensitivity and without jumping to conclusions. Mental health professionals, alongside legal authorities, play a pivotal role in thoroughly investigating these complex situations, establishing root causes, and devising appropriate treatment interventions. This incident serves as a somber reminder of the intricacies involved in maternal filicide, urging society to delve deeper into the mental health challenges individuals may face and the support systems necessary to prevent such devastating outcomes.