A host of mental conditions may be triggered or exacerbated by childbirth. Both before and after the birth of their child, new parents have a lot on their minds. Anxious minds will become obsessed with worries about the family budget, nursery rooms, breastfeeding, sleep patterns, vaccination schedules, and family safety. It’s not unusual for mothers to feel a range of emotions after the birth of their child. The postpartum phase has long been recognized as a time when mood and anxiety problems are more likely to appear, intensify, or recur. In reality, certain anxiety is adaptive in terms of safeguarding the baby from injury. This anxiety is usually just temporary, and it does not affect everyday functioning or a mother’s capacity to care for her child. Other women, on the other hand, have more severe signs of postpartum OCD, which may be debilitating and interfere with everyday life. Such OCD signs can start right after a baby is born, or they can take up to a year to appear after a woman has given birth. Around 2% to 3% of all mothers suffer from postpartum OCD. A mother with postpartum OCD, like any other form of OCD, deals with repeated distracting thoughts for which she thinks she has no control. Obsessions of postpartum OCD, on the other hand, are typically based on causing damage to her infant. A mother may obsess about her baby being injured, or she may be afraid of hurting her baby herself. If you had no symptoms of OCD prior to the birth of the child and your symptoms appeared just after 2-3 weeks of child birth, you are not alone mama.
While certain fears are typical during pregnancy, postpartum OCD happens when certain fears and compulsions take over your life or you feel that your emotions are controlling you. Some OCD moms, for example, have problems sleeping at night, even though their infant is sleeping, so they are continually checking to see if the baby is still alive. OCD may also take the form of compulsive activities that the mother feels would help her child, such as praying continuously and finding reassurance from someone or a psychiatrist. Finally, some mothers may be afraid of taking care of their baby alone and they are concerned that something will go wrong. They will fear being left alone or will doubt their ability to care for their child.
The sheer volume of dreadful thoughts can turn the pathways into unmanageable obsessions and complications. Obsessions and compulsions are typical signs of postpartum OCD. These manifest as feelings, emotions, and actions. Obsessions that postpartum OCD sufferers usually feel
- Images of the baby being injured, such as being dropped or thrown
- Thoughts about suffocating or stabbing the infant are intrusive and unwelcome.
- Fearful of making bad choices that will hurt or kill the baby
- Fear about exposing the baby to contaminants, pesticides, and other substances in the atmosphere
- Fears of inadvertently harming the baby as a result of carelessness
- Sexually exploiting the baby is an unwanted and upsetting idea
- Fear of the kid developing a life-threatening illness
Compulsions that postpartum OCD sufferers usually feel
- Knives and scissors, for example, can be thrown out.
- Fear of poisoning the infant stops you from feeding him/her.
- Not changing diapers because they are fearful of sexually assaulting the infant. Not eating certain things or taking certain drugs because they are afraid of hurting the baby.
- When it comes to child abuse, purposely not viewing or reading the television.
- Constantly keeping an eye on yourself for any potentially unwanted sexual thoughts
- Tracking the baby obsessively while he or she rests
- Obtaining assurance from family members that the baby has not been hurt or exploited
- Mentally looking through the activities of the day to make sure the baby hasn’t been harmed.
It is a cycle of symptoms which a mum may experience if diagnosed with postpartum OCD, but yet again you are not alone mama.
To my postpartum OCD mamas,
I know what you are going through. Living with OCD can feel so unbelievably isolating. Maybe you feel like your thoughts are more graphic than the thoughts other people have. Maybe you are afraid to fall asleep due to nightmares about your OCD. Maybe you feel like there is hope for others in treatment but not for you. It is possible to regain balance in your life, enjoy meaningful relationships and no longer be distressed and stuck in the postpartum OCD cycle.
What’s vital to know, no matter what you’re going through, is that the postpartum cycle is a time in a woman’s life where she’s more vulnerable to mental health problems. It may be postpartum depression or OCD, but whatever it is, the problems you’re having are nothing to be embarrassed of. Hormone changes during pregnancy, breastfeeding, and sleep loss will simply cause something in our brain to be “off” and mental health changes after having a baby are a medical complication of pregnancy. There can be highs and lows, recovery may not be linear but consistency and courage can result in finding the freedom you deserve. Take help. Talk to your loved ones, you can definitely overcome this mama
The birth of a new infant not only brings excitement, optimism, and unending affection to those who know him or her, but it also has the ability to trigger postpartum depression and OCD. The good news is that you are not alone if you are having random, disturbing, and terrifying feelings, photographs, or fantasies about the baby. This is a short-term condition that is quickly treated. Please get assistance if you have any suspicions that something is wrong with your mental health after delivering a baby because care is readily available.
OCD is a mental health condition and it does not make you a bad parent.
DISCLAIMER: Knowledge is power to fight against any disease but it definitely doesn’t replace treatment by medical professionals. The information included here is for instructional purposes only and is not meant to replace counseling.