My Postpartum OCD
Even though I knew 6 years ago that I suffered postpartum anxiety after my baby was born, it’s only been recently that I came to the realization that I also had symptoms of postpartum OCD after my baby was born.
It makes me wonder if what happened to me is even more common that we realize. So at what point, I wonder, does it become a “clinical diagnosis”. Are other women having the same occasional intruding thoughts? To be honest, for me they weren’t even thoughts – they were more like images that lasted for a milisecond. Ok I know that sounds weird, but there is no other way to explain it. And if you think it sounds weird, you are right, it is! If you’ve had these images unexpectedly pop into your head then you know what I’m talking about.
I had no thoughts of harming my baby at all and these images disturbed me – I told no one that I had them. Fortunately for me I didn’t have them often and they went away when I achieved hormonal balance through the use of bioidentical hormones.
My images mostly centred around my baby’s head hitting the counter or the wall. I would be walking past the corner of the kitchen counter with my baby in my arms and as I rounded the corner – a vision of my baby’s heading striking the counter would pop into my head. The bizarre truth is that my baby’s head wouldn’t even be close to the counter when the vision would pop into my head. The visions were so disturbing to me that whenever I walked past a counter with my babe I would worry about his head hitting the counter. For some reason this also happened with the corner of the wall. Often I protectively and instinctively put my hand on his little bald head when I went around a corner.
I recall wondering where the hell did that just come from?! It was jarring – what a random and bizarre thing to pop into my head! Not once have any of my three babies been struck in the head by a wall or a counter, so where did such a vision come from? Searching my memory for an answer the only thing I could think of was a time several years before when my friend’s husband was walking past my kitchen counter with his sleeping baby in his arms and he did accidentally bump into the counter with his baby’s head. The baby woke up screaming and I was horrified, as was the father. Did that scene linger in my memory for years just waiting to pounce when my own baby was born? The interesting thing is I wasn’t conjuring up some memory, in fact I didn’t recall that scene with my friend’s baby until much later when I began to question where those visions could have originated. I also didn’t consciously think of my baby getting hurt, it was rather just a quick picture of it happening entering my conscious thought.
What was even more disturbing was that sometimes when I was driving an image of a vehicle slamming into us would momentarily pop into my head. When this would happen I would just want to get off the highway and it would exacerbate my anxiety while it was happening. And seriously, when this is happening to you how can you not wonder if you’re going crazy?! Most of us feel comfortable sharing this kind of information
I didn’t understand it at all then and I’ve realized that the doctors don’t really understand it either. I’m still learning but now I know that there is definitely a High-Speed-Connection between my hormones and the neurotransmitters in my brain. I also know that something in my brain responded positively and immediately to an increase in progesterone.
To read more about the connection between the Hormone – Brain Connection I highly recommend the book “Female Brain Gone Insane”. While the book isn’t specifically about Postpartum Mood Disorders or Postpartum OCD, author Mia Lundin, who is also the CEO and Founder of The Centre for Hormonal and Nutritional Balance, Inc., began her journey to the discovery of bioidentical hormones when she suffered postpartum mood disorder. The book offers a great explanation about about why women feel like they are falling apart during certain times during their life and how to effectively find treatment. I highly recommend this book.