Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is the most misunderstood and misdiagnosed of the perinatal disorders. It is estimated that as many as 3-5% of new mothers will experience these symptoms.
Symptoms of OCD can include:
- Obsessions, also called intrusive thoughts, which are persistent, repetitive thoughts or mental images related to the baby. These thoughts are very upsetting and not something the woman has ever experienced before.
- Compulsions, which are the repetitive acts done to reduce fears and obsessions. This may include things like needing to clean constantly, check things many times, count or reorder things.
- A sense of horror about the obsessions.
- Fear of being left alone with the infant.
- Hypervigilance in protecting the infant.
- Moms with postpartum OCD know that their thoughts are bizarre and are very unlikely to ever act on them.
Risk factors for postpartum OCD include a personal or family history of anxiety or OCD.
Many women experiencing OCD have thoughts that are scary…thoughts of hurting themselves or someone they love. Having these intrusive thoughts is a common symptom — it is not your fault and you are not to blame. Having these thoughts does NOT make you a bad mother.
We understand what you are going through and will connect you to people who understand and can help.
Content provided by Postpartum Support International.