It’s a girl! A little girl, she only weighs tiny even after being a week overdue. That long awaited week of doing everything I could possible to get her out because I was so eager to kiss her!
My husband was asked to leave the hospital room that night and I was petrified. But had no idea why. Due to my birth and baby coming out so quick, she had ALOT of reflux. So with her laying in her bassinet, and all I felt like was sleep after an 18 hour labour and a birth that could have potentially been quite scary that’s all I wanted, was sleep. Yet all I could hear was my little baby spewing up this yellow reflux. So I popped her on my chest in the hospital bed to try and get some rest. Then within an hour I have a nurse coming in so abrupt ‘we do not sleep with babies on our beds because they can roll off and die”.
I would say this was the beginning of my Post Partum OCD hell.
The next day, I checked myself out with my husband, my first baby and my sister in law.
The first week is such a blur and I still could hardly sleep. Fearing that if I went to sleep I may die, or that I have this new baby and I could kill her. Not on purpose. Or maybe on purpose. I don’t know?
I remember all I wanted to do was to get back into my routine, taking my dogs for daily walks around our beautiful reserve which had a lake, cooking dinner, driving with my new girl in the back seat, being so happy just like I was before I had her. Instead I was riddled with intrusive thoughts 24 hours a day. They were the first thing I woke up to and the last thing I thought of before I went to sleep.
But I couldn’t understand? I was so happy and eager for her to come maybe I didn’t want her? But I do want her so why am I thinking like this? I should probably cut my nails, they could hurt her when I change her nappy. Oh I accidentally scratched her great, I’ve probably done it on purpose. I don’t know why I am thinking like this, I wish these thoughts could just f*** off!
I remember I said to my sister in law in the hospital the next morning after she was born ‘mothers kill their babies and I don’t want to be that statistic’. She was so confused and probably godsmacked that I even said that 24 hours after birth but I am certainly not one to hold in my thoughts. However for 2 weeks I did.
I battled in my head every time I prepped dinner and my sweet girl would be asleep in her bouncer, the knife I held in my hand to chop the chicken I could stab her with.
So I decided to stop cooking. Or quickly hurry and put the knife away where it couldn’t be seen.
I went for a walk with my husband, the dogs and our little babe and the thought came as we came around the lake ‘that mother through her baby in the lake’ which started the snowball of questions and thoughts in my head.
‘Why would you think like that?’
‘Are you implying something?’
‘What type of monster have I become?’
And you would think the mind would have an off button but it just gets deeper, and deeper and deeper.
So. I stopped walking.
I stopped watching all the crime shows. I couldn’t even have the news on. Then it made me realise how negative this world really is. That the news is filled with stories of horror and that people genuinely enjoy watching serial killers and rapists. How as a society did we start finding terrible things fascinating? I thought after all the years of being interested in SVU and forensic files this contributed to my thoughts.
2 weeks later. It was a Friday night. I was changing my daughter on the change table and broke down in tears and said to my husband ‘I think I have some sort of post natal depression but I don’t feel depressed. What I’m about to tell you, you will think I’m crazy’
I was so scared to tell him. I don’t think I’ve ever been more scared in my entire life.
I told him all the thoughts, no matter how horrendous and…he laughed. He said you aren’t crazy, but let’s get you to talk to someone your good at that.
The next day I was to see the health nurse for my daughters check up and I told her everything. She looked at me and said you are not the first and your not crazy. She referred me to a psychologist she knows who helps in maternal mental health.
It was a week later I booked into my doctor for that referral.
She was booked out for 5 weeks, but, determined I wouldn’t go to anyone else, I waited for her. Thank god I waited for her. She was absolutely brilliant.
She said if I was to diagnose you, I would say you are experiencing OCD. And I was godsmacked. I, too thought OCD were people that enjoyed cleaning until she explained everything to me.
My biggest compulsion was checking. I was constantly asking for reassurance that I wouldn’t hurt her.
I told my closest friends who I knew wouldn’t judge me everything that I was thinking and the amount of anxiety it was causing me. It was like my body was running a marathon and I would be so nervous when the thoughts would start.
Some friends didn’t understand, and did think I was strange or scary I suppose for having those thoughts. I still have those friends and they understand now because I have accepted them for what they are. Thoughts & the condition. OCD.
My daughter is nearly 1. And I remember it was week 4 and I was terrified I was going to be this anxiety riddled mother for the rest of my life.
My psychologist was terrific and she started telling me I didn’t need to come anymore. Which of course my little intrusive thoughts were like are you sure? Should you let me go for good? Should I still consider checking myself into the nut house? And if so my daughter needs to come with me and I like morning coffees. What if what if what if.
So we created a plan.
The plan was to keep going with yoga and mindfulness (I didn’t want to do medication unless absolutely necessary) and if I ever got bad again that I can come back to her. It has now been 6 months and I haven’t seen her. Oh and I just love being this new yogi.
I have experienced OCD before this, multiple times but nothing I suppose that I thought about all day everyday and was targeted at just one person, my beautiful little daughter who I had waited for, for so long. This meant the most to me and this is why I will forever remember my post partum OCD hell.
I got through it, I have accepted I will have intrusive thoughts forever and get triggered however, I am not the anxiety riddled new mother I once was.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel, but we must go through the darkness to appreciate the light.
I now have a deeper understanding for mental health and an appreciation to all those that are battling in their head every day.