I need help. I almost killed my one-year-old son. He wouldn’t stop crying, and I lost my mind: I wanted to strangle him. It’s not the first time that I have done it. I have abused my older children as well….

I have told my husband, and he says that it’s all going to pass, that I am strong and that I need to try harder, and that he believes in me. But I am afraid…. The memories of what I did gnaw at me…. The scenes pass through my head again and again, with his little face full of tears, and I can’t feel as if nothing happened.

Dear Friend,

Your story breaks our hearts, but also terrifies us!

We mourn for your older children and the abuse that they have suffered and seen. The very scenes that keep running through your head also run through theirs; but in their cases, the scenes are accompanied by the deep insecurity of never knowing which of them might be the one suffering the next time. They can’t trust their own mother! You can be sure that they will suffer emotional consequences long after they have forgotten the physical pain.

The one-year-old is in the most danger. The way that you treated him could have done more than restrict his breath. You may have shaken him so violently that his delicate baby brain could have been permanently damaged. Shaken Baby Syndrome happens when the baby’s brain bounces back and forth against the skull for as little as five seconds. The results can be bruising of the brain, swelling, and internal bleeding, but these serious conditions cannot be seen on the outside of the baby’s head, so you may not realize that any internal trauma has happened. Many children eventually die from the consequences of these injuries, but those who live may suffer brain damage that lasts a lifetime. From just this one incident, you could have damaged your baby’s brain and changed his life forever.

Furthermore, you don’t say how long you choked your baby. If it was very long at all, you may have cut off oxygen to his brain. There could be brain damage that resulted from that, even if he was not shaken.

So you are right to be afraid! Even though your husband has been very understanding of your rage, your conscience is telling you that you must make a plan to prevent further abusing your children. Pay attention to your conscience!

You need professional help to control your rage. If you can afford a counselor, please make an appointment right away. If not, find group classes that you can take on anger management. If you don’t, you may eventually end up taking those classes in a prison where you will be after having killed one of your children. Can you imagine the images that would pass through your brain as you sit day after day in a prison?

In the meantime, make a plan to remove yourself from your baby and children every time you feel that you are running out of patience. Leave the baby to cry alone in his crib, and go calm down in another place. You must practice the plan when the baby is not crying, so that you will be able to carry it out in the midst of your rage.

In addition to professional help, you need God’s help. He gave you a conscience to warn you of danger because he loves you and wants to help you. Reach out to Him and ask Him to give you the wisdom and resources that you need.

We wish you the best,