Linda: Intrusive thoughts
Linda describes the relief she felt when she learned that the scary thoughts she had that something would happen to her baby are a common symptom of postpartum depression and anxiety and did not mean she would act on the thoughts or that anyone would take her child away from her.
Because my perception of post partum depression was what I knew from the media and I think that’s generally speaking most people’s perception. Is that it’s the extreme cases of the mother doing harm to the child or the baby. And so, I understood that that was psychosis, that’s extreme end of ,it’s very rare, right? but I was having these crazy thoughts was what I called them. I didn’t understand intrusive thoughts until later on, what they were. I called them my scary, crazy thoughts. Scary thoughts, right?
And I just remember my scary thoughts were flashes of images in my mind while I was awake, that I had no control over, they would be images of. We lived in a town house that had three flights of stairs and they’re wooden stairs so they were sometimes slippery, right? and so but I was always super careful with my son, carrying him up and down the steps. But I had these really scary thoughts, not while I was carrying him, they would be like while I was doing something completely different, or sometimes while I was carrying him up and down the stairs but the thoughts of like slipping and just falling with him, right? and him being harmed. And him dying, right?
And these thoughts were violent,
And as a mum you’re scared that you’re having these images, right? because you’re thinking: ok am I going through psychosis? That’s what I kept thinking: is this psychosis? Right? am I going through that rare part of post partum that’s psychosis? Because I’m having these scary thoughts.
And I was scared and I didn’t want to tell anybody. I was scared, I didn’t even tell my husband about it because I didn’t want him to judge me and I didn’t want him to think that there was something wrong and then him tell somebody.
And these scary thoughts were probably the worst part of the post partum because I was always worried, I didn’t even want to tell my, my doctors about them because I was worried that if I said something that they would feel an obligation to have to protect my son so that they would have to report it to the Ministry. So I remember keeping these thoughts to myself. And trying to work through them and say: ok, you know what I have control, I have control, you know, these are just thoughts, I’m not actually going to act on them, I’m not going to do anything they’re just scary thoughts that go through into my mind.
It wasn’t until more into learning about self-care and learning about post partum through the weekly sessions that I’d have with the other mums at Pacific Post Partum that I learned that these were classified as intrusive thoughts and, and what they were and that these were normal, for people experiencing postpartum. So that was reassuring