Thursday, January 31, 2013


I am not a doctor not am I medically trained in any way. this was my expierence with this disorder not medical adivce.
Sometimes in the life of  mental illness you come across something so horrible, so terrifying, that you are convinced that you are the only one experiencing it. No one in the world could possibly be as crazy as you. When I was pregnant with my first child I was ecstatic.  I got off my OCD medication with the approval of my doctor. Some how the hormones had made my OCD really go into a sort of remission. It was still there but much less bothersome. I had a normal pregnancy and I made sure to do everything the doctors told me too. It was my responsibility to make sure I gave this child the best chance at life that was possible. If they would have told me to hang upside down and paint my face green I would have done it. Anything that would help him I did.  I vaguely remember the doctor telling me because I had OCD I was more likely to get postpartum depression. I was twenty three. It never occurred to me that postpartum was a big deal. I thought of it as a slight depression. I have had some depression before. I wasn't worried. I do not remember any paperwork on postpartum being given to me. He never explained any of it to me. I figured if it was such a big deal ,he would have discussed it with me in detail.  Delivery was normal and after fourteen hours of labor my beautiful little baby was born. It probably should have occurred to me something was wrong when I wasn't in the mood to give him his first bottle. I was not up to it and decided it was probably exhaustion.  The first time I held him I was in love with this amazing creature I held in my arms.He was just beautiful.I couldn't actually believe they were letting me take him home. I was terrified that I had this little guy's life in my hands and I had never taken care of a baby before. I felt like I was stealing a chocolate bar and at any moment they were going to stop me at the front desk and say that I had to give him back. It was scary and beautiful at the same time. For two weeks I did everything the books said to do. I was content. Maybe this was the one thing I could be good at. This could be my calling in life. After I fed him and burped him I was snuggling with him. He was so cute. A horrid image went through my head. I saw myself putting him in a fire place. Now, we didn't even have a fireplace but I was terrified. I laid him down in his bassinet and stepped three steps back. I had just been mentally slapped across the face and needed to take mental stock of what was still mentally working. I needed help. This could not be normal. I was the worst mother, ever.I had finally done it. I had finally gone completely over the crazy cliff and was taking my whole family with me. I called my mother. I set up an emergency meeting with my therapist. I confessed my mental thoughts and she stood up and turned her back on me. She said she had no idea what was wrong with me but she could no longer be my therapist. I was too damaged to help. I was a danger to my child and myself and she could not be responsible for being my therapist any longer. I was crushed and now even more convinced that I was a bad mother. I loved my baby so much but yet I had these violent visions. I made sure that anything that would trigger these episodes I did with someone else in my house just to be extra safe. Then my mother found on the internet what I had. It wasn't postpartum. It was postpartum OCD. This beast had a name. I was no longer being attacked by the nameless. I knew it's name and so I knew how to fight it. It was my OCD turned into a horrible beast that would plague me with horrid images and fears of my child. I got a new therapist that had extensive knowledge of OCD. I saw a psychiatrist that put me back on my meds. It was a scary time but I refused to let it rob me of the time with my infant. It was my right to hold, bathe, feed, change, and play with my baby like every other mother could and I was not going to be denied that. I was never a threat to my child but I didn't know that till my diagnosis. I had forgotten the age old OCD rule. If it horrifies you you aren't going to do it.

 In contrast to non-postpartum OCD, the postpartum variant typically comes on rapidly, sometimes within a week of giving birth. Research also indicates that postpartum OCD most often involves scary obsessions related to harm befalling the newborn infant (in contrast to obsessions having to do with contamination, paperwork mistakes, order and symmetry, and hoarding). In some instances, sufferers report obsessions having to do with accidental harm, while in others the obsessions involve unwanted thoughts or ideas of intentionally harming the newborn. Some examples of the kinds of postpartum obsessions encountered in our clinic are as follows:
  • The idea that the baby could die in her sleep (S.I.D.S)
  • The thought of dropping the baby from a high place
  • The thought of putting the baby in the microwave
  • An image of the baby dead
  • Thoughts of the baby choking and not being able to save him
  • Unwanted impulses to shake the baby to see what would happen
  • Thoughts of yelling at the baby
  • Thoughts of poking the baby in the soft spot in her head (fontanel)
  • Thought of stabbing the baby
  • Thoughts of drowning the baby during a bath

    My first therapist did me harm by turning her back on me not giving me any advice on where I should go to receive specialized help. My OBGYN failed me by not educating himself and then educating me on postpartum disorders.
     According to research 70% of women with OCD prior to pregnancy have resurgence of OCD during pregnancy or after delivery.
    I was sentenced to months in hell I did not have to serve. Research on postpartum depression and postpartum disorders is highly lacking and was virtually nonexistent  ten years ago. We need to get the information circulated about postpartum and postpartum disorders. It is important to our children. It is important to our sanity. After all, we are all women. We must stand and be honest. We must help each other. No one should suffer in silence. We must demand that our doctors know as much about these disorders as we can learn form a simple google search. We must arm ourselves with the knowledge that is out there. My son turned out to be the coolest kid. He is sweet and funny. I could have missed out on the best parts of him growing up because I was scared. After two months I was back to the mother I had been before  the postpartum OCD reared it's ugly head. I don't like to talk about this very painful time in my life but I feel if I do not I am letting down women everywhere.I am letting down my sisters.
    When I had my second child I was prepared for battle. I was ready to throw down OCD and kick it's ass. Thankfully I did not have postpartum OCD with that pregnancy  I have no idea why but I'll take that and run with it. If you have a mental disorder and are thinking about getting pregnant talk about it with your doctors and do some research. Never assume that it can't happen to you just because your doctor doesn't inform you that it exists.   You may not even develop a disorder but knowledge is always a good thing to have. And if you do develop one  get help,you have options and it can get better.
                                                                            Nelly Neurotic                                                                                  

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