Intrusive thoughts were present in all of my pregnancies & postpartum, particularly with my third baby.
Here’s a good definition of Intrusive thoughts According to The Blue Dot Project
Unwanted “intrusive” & often disturbing thoughts are common for pregnant and postpartum women.
When a mother is suffering from general anxiety these thoughts can be persistent. When a woman feels like a certain action or mental ritual needs to be taken to relieve the discomfort of a thought – these thoughts are considered to be associated with OCD.
Recurrent intrusive thoughts are NOT the same as psychosis, & therefore mothers are not at the same risk of harming themselves or their babies.Having disturbing intrusive thoughts alone, should not be considered a medical emergency.
Rather clinicians should work with maternal anxiety and OCD experts to develop an appropriate treatment plan which generally includes therapy & may also include medication.
For me, intrusive thoughts were:
- “I’m going to have a miscarriage or a stillborn child. My baby isn’t going to survive.“
- Anticipating not hearing a heartbeat on every ultrasound.
- Imagining having to pick out a casket for a baby.
- Persistent thoughts about getting in a car crash.
- Feeling like I was broken and a useless human being.
- Feeling like my family would be better off without me.
- Thoughts that my newborn would die unless I checked on his breathing before I went to sleep every night. It was a compulsion where I had to check or I would be overcome with grief that tonight would be the night he would die if I didn’t check.