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*Priya did not expect to find her daughter at home that afternoon. But she did find her – hanging by a scarf from the ceiling of her bedroom, already dead. Krupa was 19.


It began like any other day for them.

The hustled morning. The coffee chit-chat. Her mild annoyance over Krupa neglecting to water the plants. The hurried breakfast. The instructions to drive safe. The roll of the eyes in response.

That nightmarish afternoon, when Priya couldn’t find a way to get into her own apartment after teaching a swimming lesson, her wildest imagination could not conjure up the possibility of her “happy” daughter ending up dead in her own bedroom.

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Word spread fast. Police and strangers were bustling in and out of their home. Some sorry, some shocked, some relieved that it wasn’t their kid.

In an irony that did not escape anyone, Krupa’s room was filled with Post-it messages carrying intense motivational quotes. Stickers with hand-written messages covered an entire wall. Great role models sweating it out on posters. Actionable messages. To-do lists on her tabletop. Dreamy bucket-lists. 

This girl oozed positivity. And then killed herself.  

The only words that escaped her mother’s lips were, “ She never gave a clue! She looked so happy!”

Not surprisingly, this incident remained on the minds of other parents – especially those in the neighborhood – for the next few weeks. Fear crept in and clenched them without warning – during a quiet cup of coffee, through a conversation with a friend, in the middle of work, while hustling their child through homework. The silence of the nights became particularly terrifying. 

Why did she do it? Where did her parents go wrong? Did she try to communicate?

The questions were many.

How much did we know about our kids? What are they thinking right now? How did she miss it? What am I missing? How would I know? 

Suddenly, their own kids looked like strangers to them.

The rise and rise of suicides

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, a recent study found that suicide rates have surged to a 30-year high. The issue can now be described as an epidemic. It has also been reported as the third leading cause of death for young people between the ages of 10-24. 

Here are 10 eye-opening insights from child psychologists and teen suicide experts gained from years of working with suicidal teens, their support groups, and their parents.

1 | Denial can be the culprit

Talking about suicide prevention is hard. To make it worse, this phenomenon seems to be on the rise in even seemingly happy and well-connected families – so what are we really missing?

Sarah Zalewski, a licensed professional counselor and cognitive behavior therapist from Connecticut who works with hundreds of teens every year, reiterates this rising occurrence. “This is true – some children commit suicide who nobody would suspect of even considering it. Unfortunately, children are not well known for their ability to see the big picture and to assess a current situation accurately.”

The somewhat good news is that most teens do exhibit symptoms, and they can be detected if observed closely. Many experts confirm that most of these symptoms may be subtle – minor changes in their behavior like an increase in aloofness or apathy and isolation from friends and family. Things that are easier to notice are the loss of interest in personal hygiene, their possessions, and food.

“Denial is a very powerful defense mechanism, and many adults miss the signs of an impending suicide attempt by denying the importance of the subtle changes they notice in their child’s demeanor and behaviors,” warns Dr. Gayani DeSilva, a psychiatrist in practice at Laguna Psych in Laguna, California.

2 | The damaging myth of the happy family

Many parents mistakenly assume that providing a happy growing experience for their child is synonymous with successfully shielding their own negative emotions from them. Experts point out, however, that genuine engagement happens only when the child is able to see, display, and digest a range of emotions – and perceive them as entirely normal.  

Cara Maksimow, a licensed professional counselor and founder of Maximize Wellness explains, “When families seem happy all the time, they may be teaching children that it is not okay to have negative emotions. Children’s feelings are not validated or normalized and hence they learn how to hide those feelings to fit in. These children don’t learn that feelings such as anger or sadness are normal parts of life and that there is validity in having a range of emotions.”

3 | The early years are crucial

Not enough can be said about how critical it is to establish a bond during the early years. Teenagers can’t be expected to come out suddenly and express themselves when they are already in the throes of intense emotions. The channels for communication need to be established in the early years.

Recognizing the fact that children are naturally resilient and helping them realize their inherent strengths will develop a strong sense of self and healthy self-esteem in the child. “Take every opportunity every day to point out the child’s internal strengths,” advises Dr. DeSilva.

These practices have physiological benefits as well. Dr. Christopher Willard, faculty at Harvard Medical School and author of “Growing Up Mindful affirms that “spending a lot of time with children in the early years helps develop the brain so it can respond more efficiently to stress and mental health issues if they arise in later years.”

4 | The real cause is untraceable

The causes of teen suicide are often unknowable and worse, untraceable. Experts agree that many factors contribute to mental health issues. Meredith Rene Chapman, M.D, a psychiatrist at Children’s Health GENECIS program in Dallas, who specializes in helping teens with gender dysmorphia, explains that “apart from health issues like chronic pain or physical pain, chronic anxiety left untreated can exacerbate the tendencies for suicide. When a youth’s ability to cope is overwhelmed by stressors, the risk of suicide increases manifold.”

5 | Substance is an accelerator

Adolescence is a strange mix of invincibility and vulnerability. Teenagers are more than willing to push the limits on risky behaviors, merely as a mechanism to establish their own identities. Many teens experience the rush of alcohol and marijuana for the very first time, and the experience could mean the beginning of a vortex.

Dr. DeSilva goes on to explain, “Substance abuse and intoxication increases the risk of suicide 60-80%. The substance does not matter – it could be a depressant like alcohol, or a stimulant like cocaine. Intoxication alters a person’s ability to keep a realistic perspective and see options. Particularly in teenagers, when they have a sense of invincibility coupled with their lack of experience that there are multiple ways to solve current problems and manage their feelings, they are at particular risk of attempting suicide.” 

6 | The word is not taboo

Most parents seem to talk to teens about sex, college, money – but to bring up suicide is taboo. Understandably, there is a certain reluctance on the part of parents to broach this hideous topic, but parents need to know that the more it is openly spoken about, the less taboo it is. As Zalewski reassures us, “Broaching the subject is not going to create suicidal thoughts in someone who doesn’t already have them. This has been established in research multiple times.”

7 | The circle is indispensable

One of the best tactics to detect suicidal tendencies is to make friends with your child’s friends. Get to know their circles. Invite them over. Organize get-togethers.

Here’s Zalewski again: “90% of the time I find a child who is suicidal, it’s because a friend of the child has tipped me (or another adult, who then calls me) off. Often, the suicidal child is making statements on social media that are scaring their friends. But again, these kids are more likely to come to you if they know they can approach you. These tips can save lives!”

8 | The role of schools is not to be taken lightly

It’s not a myth that the teen brain undergoes real changes in the brain during this time. One of the most important considerations for schools would be a later start time in the morning. This could also be one of the easiest adjustments to make. 

According to Dr. Robert Rosenberg, a sleep expert and author of “Sleep Soundly Every Night, Feel Fantastic,” teenagers require significantly more sleep than adults during this growth phase. “There is a higher incidence of depression, anxiety, and suicide in sleep-deprived teenagers,” affirms Dr. Rosenberg.

Even though it may seem eerie to equip schools with suicide-prevention experts, especially after the infamous Palo Alto suicide clusters, schools need to build better systems for imparting coping skills to kids.

“Schools need to institute a better screening method for suicidal tendencies among children,” says Dr. Willard, encouraging schools to build a conscious effort around preventing stress and competition around academic performance.

Parents can certainly help. As counterintuitive as it may seem, revel in your child’s failure. Make your child’s failures as important as their successes, as this will shift the focus to the effort rather than on the results. As several studies have pointed out, cultivating this “growth mindset” is the key to building the cornerstone quality of resilience – especially for children at a fragile point in their lives.

9 | Eliminate the stigma

Another huge factor is the stigma around mental health. Dr. DeSilva says, “If a teenager broke his or her leg, he would have no issue going to a hospital and getting treatment for the fracture. Symptoms of depression are not treated the same way. Teaching kids about mental health and symptoms and normalizing treatment the same way as for physical symptoms is the key to their telling their family or friends about their painful emotions.”

One of the ways to do this is to have a strategic plan for how to handle substance abuse, bullying, and depression. Having a licensed therapist associated with the schools to consult on these issues regularly will help. A curriculum invested in teaching students basic emotion-regulation skills is also a must-have.

10 | Identify the role of society

To be sure, a society whose children want to kill themselves needs a lot of work. Even a small shift towards the positive can yield big results.  

Dr. DeSilva muses, “Perhaps (devoting) a segment on the daily news to local school activities and children’s contributions – as we do to professional sports teams or the local politics – will make me watch the news again!” Giving responsibility to kids significantly reduces their risk of depression.

And let’s not underestimate this statistic: “Guns are used in approximately half the suicides,” Zalewski points out. Guns definitely should not be in the hands of kids.

In a culture where nearly every other cause of death warrants a headline, somehow the disturbing phenomenon of young adults killing themselves is relegated to the back pages or goes unreported. The time for us to pay close attention to the emotional health of our society is now.

*Based on a true incident

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As a former beauty editor, I pride myself in housing the best skincare products in my bathroom. Walk in and you're sure to be greeted with purifying masks, micellar water, retinol ceramide capsules and Vitamin C serums. What can I say? Old habits die hard. But when I had my son, I was hesitant to use products on him. I wanted to keep his baby-soft skin for as long as possible, without tainting it with harsh chemicals.

Eventually, I acquiesced and began using leading brands on his sensitive skin. I immediately regretted it. His skin became dry and itchy and regardless of what I used on him, it never seemed to get better. I found myself asking, "Why don't beauty brands care about baby skin as much as they care about adult skin?"

When I had my daughter in May, I knew I had to take a different approach for her skin. Instead of using popular brands that are loaded with petroleum and parabens, I opted for cleaner products. These days I'm all about skincare that contains super-fruits (like pomegranate sterols, which are brimming with antioxidants) and sulfate-free cleansers that contain glycolipids that won't over-dry her skin. And, so far, Pipette gets it right.

What's in it

At first glance, the collection of shampoo, wipes, balm, oil and lotion looks like your typical baby line—I swear cute colors and a clean look gets me everytime—but there's one major difference: All products are environmentally friendly and cruelty-free, with ingredients derived from plants or nontoxic synthetic sources. Also, at the core of Pipette's formula is squalane, which is basically a powerhouse moisturizing ingredient that babies make in utero that helps protect their skin for the first few hours after birth. And, thanks to research, we know that squalane isn't an irritant, and is best for those with sensitive skin. Finally, a brand really considered my baby's dry skin.

Off the bat, I was most interested in the baby balm because let's be honest, can you ever have too much protection down there? After applying, I noticed it quickly absorbed into her delicate skin. No rash. No irritation. No annoyed baby. Mama was happy. It's also worth noting there wasn't any white residue left on her bottom that usually requires several wipes to remove.


Why it's different

I love that Pipette doesn't smell like an artificial baby—you, know that powdery, musky note that never actually smells like a newborn. It's fragrance free, which means I can continue to smell my daughter's natural scent that's seriously out of this world. I also enjoy that the products are lightweight, making her skin (and my fingers) feel super smooth and soft even hours after application.

The bottom line

Caring for a baby's sensitive skin isn't easy. There's so much to think about, but Pipette makes it easier for mamas who don't want to compromise on safety or sustainability. I'm obsessed, and I plan to start using the entire collection on my toddler as well. What can I say, old habits indeed die hard.

This article was sponsored by Pipette. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Military families give up so much for their country, particularly when they have small children at home. Those of us who have never witnessed this kind of sacrifice first-hand could use a reminder of it once in a while, which is just one of the reasons we're so happy to see the beautiful photoshoot Mary Chevalier arranged for her husband's return home from Afghanistan.

The photoshoot was extra special because while James Chevalier was serving a nine-month deployment, Mary gave birth to their second son, Caspian.

Getting ready to meet Dad

"During the laboring and birthing process of Caspian, I was surrounded by family, but that did not fill the void of not having my husband by my side," Mary told InsideEdition.com. "He was able to video chat during the labor and birth, but for both of us, it was not enough."

While James had yet to meet Caspian, their 3-year-old son, Gage, missed his dad a whole lot, so this homecoming was going to be a big deal for him too. That's why Mary arranged for her wedding photographer, Brittany Watson, to be with them for their reunion in Atlanta.

Gage was so happy to see his Dad 

"[He] had no idea he was going to be getting to see his daddy that day," Watson wrote on Facebook. "The family met at the Southeastern Railway Museum for Gage to go on a special train ride... little did he know, he'd be doing it with daddy!"

Watson did a beautiful job capturing the high emotions of every single family member, from Gage's surprise, to the delight on baby Caspian's face. It's no wonder her Facebook post went viral last week.

"Caspian is natural, a very happy baby, but both James and I felt like Caspian knew who his father was almost immediately," Mary told Inside Edition. "He was easily comforted by me husband right off the bat and seemed to have an instant connection. It was very emotional."

The moment this dad had been waiting for 

If we're sobbing just looking at the photos, we can't even imagine what it was like in real life.

"We are all so blessed and take so much for granted," Watson wrote. "I cannot contain the joy I feel in my heart when I look at these images, and I hope you feel it too!"


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During both of my pregnancies, I was under the care of an amazing midwife. Every time I went to her office for check-ups, I was mesmerized by the wall of photos participating in what may be the most painfully magical moment of a woman's life: giving birth. But there was a painting that always drew my attention: a woman dressed in orange, holding her newborn baby with a face that could be described as clueless. The line above the canvas read, "Now what?"

I felt like the woman in the painting as I kissed my mother goodbye when my daughter was born. She came from my native Colombia to stay with us for three months. When she left, I realized that my husband had been working as usual during those first 90 days of our new life. My baby was born on a Friday and on Monday he was back at the office. (No parental leave policy for him.)

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Now what? I thought. The quote "It takes a village to raise a child" suddenly started to hit home, literally.

After a few years in Miami, I had some friends, but it truly didn't feel like I had a village. Some were not mothers yet, most of them worked full-time and others didn't live close by. My nomad life left my best friends spread out in different places in the world. I found myself signing up for "mommy and me" classes in search of new mothers, immigrants like me, alone like me.

It seemed like a utopian dream to think about when my grandmothers became mothers. Both of them had 6 and 10 children and they were able to stay sane (or maybe not? I don't know). But at least they had family around—people cooking, offering help. There was a sense of community.

My mother and father grew up in "the village." Big families with so many children that the older siblings ended up taking care of the little ones; aunts were like second mothers and neighbors became family.

When I was about to give birth to my second baby, my sister had just had her baby girl back in Colombia. Once, she called me crying because her maternity leave was almost over. My parents live close to her, so that was a bonus. Hiring a nanny back there is more affordable. But even seeing the positive aspects of it, I wished I could have been there for her, to be each other's village.

The younger me didn't realize that when I took a plane to leave my country in search of new experiences 19 years ago, I was giving up the chance to have my loved ones close by when I became a mother. And when I say close by, I mean as in no planes involved.

It hasn't been easy, but after two kids and plenty of mommy and me classes and random conversations that became true connections, I can say I have a mini-village, a small collection of solitudes coming together to lean on each other. But for some reason, it doesn't truly feel like one of those described in the old books where women gathered to knit while breastfeeding and all the children become like siblings.

Life gets in the way, and everyone gets sucked into their own worlds. In the absence of a true village, we feel the pressure to be and do everything that once was done by a group of people. We often lose perspective of priorities because we are taking care of everything at the same time. Starting to feel sick causes anxiety and even fear because it means so many things need to happen in order for mom—especially if single—to lay down and recover while the children are taken care of. And when the children get sick, that could mean losing money for a working mother or father, because the truth is that most corporations are not designed to nurture families.

In the absence of that model of a village I long for, we tend to rely on social media to have a sense of community and feel supported. We may feel that since we are capable of doing so much—working and stay at home moms equally—perhaps we don't need help. Or quite the opposite: mom guilt kicks in and feelings of not being enough torment our night sleep. Depression and anxiety can enter the picture and just thinking about the amount of energy and time that takes to create true connections, we may often curl up in our little cocoon with our children and partners—if they are present—when they come home.

Now what? was my thought this week while driving back and forth to the pediatrician with my sick son. I can't get the virus, I have to be strong, my daughter can't get ill, my husband needs to be healthy for his work trip next week, we all need to be well for my son's fifth birthday. And so, it goes on. I texted one of my mom friends just to rant. She rants back because her son is also sick. She sent me a heart and an "I'm here if you need to talk."

I am grateful to have talked to her at that random postpartum circle when I first became a mother. She's a Latina immigrant like me and feels exactly like me. I will do it more, get out of my comfort zone and have—sometimes—awkward conversations so I can keep growing my own little village.

It may not look like the one I'd imagined, but still may allow me to be vulnerable even through a text message.

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Halloween is around the corner, but if you are like me you are still trying to figure out what to dress your family (especially the little ones), so here are some cute ideas inspired by famous characters. There's something for everyone—from cartoon lovers to ideas for the entire family!

Here are some adorable character costumes for your family:

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