I am SO beyond excited to kick off my courageous mom series today! I hope that by meeting these courageous mothers that have navigated their way through the toughest of circumstances, they can be uplifting and encouraging to those of you who may be experiencing the same. If you ever want to submit your story for consideration, you can always email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org with a little snippet of what you would love to talk about!
My name is Faith, 21, and first time mom to Braxton who will be 2 in December. I didn’t plan on getting pregnant at 18, so you could say I was thrown into the sharks, but I wouldn’t go back and change it for anything. He is my world. Being his mom has filled a part of me I didn’t know was empty. It hasn’t been easy- the first year was really rough. I want to share that part with whoever needs it. I needed it and couldn’t find anyone really anyone who struggled like me, so I hope some mom who is experiencing similar things can find hope in this.
I struggled with postpartum OCD, anxiety and paranoia. Almost for the entire first year after my son was born.
I’d never heard of PPOCD before, so I was extremely scared when I started experiencing some of the symptoms.
After giving birth to my son, for the first few weeks, I was totally fine! Things were going great! I had an at home nurse come and do a couple check ups with me, and honestly, I felt 100% fantastic (besides the no sleep thing…).
Going into the first month, things started to get kinda weird. I felt “off”. I started mildly experiencing random invasive thoughts about hurting my son. It didn’t matter if was day or night, I would start to have HORRIBLE thoughts of putting my son in the oven, or the bath tub, or smothering him. I felt like such a disgusting human and a horrible mom. The worst mom. I honestly thought something was mentally wrong with me and that I needed to be separated from him…because who thinks those kinds of things!? I knew I would never hurt him in a million years, but these thoughts made me scared of myself. What if I’m some kind of monster who’s going to actually act on one of these thoughts?
I couldn’t find much help online as to what I was experiencing, and I was too scared to talk to anyone about it; I didn’t want them to see me as a psychopath.
As time went on, I just pushed it down and tried my best to ignore it.
Then came along the paranoia and OCD.
I felt the urge to clean. I was constantly cleaning. It was almost an obsession. Some moms become obsessed with keeping germs off of their baby- I became obsessed with keeping my carpet perfectly vacuumed and my floors always clean. If anything was out of place I would get THE WORST anxiety and have panic attacks. On top of that, I was so scared someone was going to take my baby. I would check outside hundreds of times a day to make sure no one was watching us, and to make sure our doors were locked. Always locked. I remember standing in my living room one morning just staring it my window frozen because I was sure someone was going to take my baby if I went to switch the laundry over.
I’m sure at this point I sound like a mental case! And I was- but I kept it in the DL. No one knew. They only knew I had a clean house!
It all came to a standstill when I started having those invasive thoughts again. They came back after over a month of not having any. They came back so strong and so repulsive. I remember not wanting to cook dinner because I didn’t want to touch a knife…because I was scared I would act on my disgusting thoughts and stab my baby to death. On top of that, I was too scared to do anything during the day because I didn’t want anyone taking my baby.
I recall around this time being in the shower seriously contemplating killing myself. I’ve never been suicidal or depressed, but I was so exhausted of trying to fight of these thoughts. I was so tired because I was up all night waiting for someone to break in. I was so lonely because I wouldn’t let anyone know what was going on.
I just wanted to get out.
I broke down to my husband and told him everything. I remember being so scared that he would call 911 and send me into a mental asylum. But he was so sweet, understanding and kind. He assured me I was a good mom. I took such good care of our son, and he trusted me.
I made an appointment to see a councilor at my women’s clinic, and was giving this advice: “Just sing, and try to think the thoughts away.”
I’m not joking guys.
I was so discouraged.
I saw another doctor and he helped explain to me what was going on in my head, and that helped. But I’ll be honest. A year out from experiencing all of this shit, the thing that helped me the most was this.
It’s not you.
The thoughts aren’t your thoughts. They have as much weight as you give them.
You’re a good mom. You’re a safe mom. You’re not crazy.
Don’t be scared to open up, because once you do, it gives you so much freedom to let people help you.
And hearing other moms stories who experienced the things I had helped tremendously. To know I wasn’t alone. To know I wasn’t some monster.
I’m out of the fog, and mamas- it gets better. Hold on. Breathe. Fight the fight. You’re so strong, and you’re the perfect and good mom for your baby. It gets better. I promise.