My thoughts of late –
I am holding Baby cradled in my arm with his head facing out. I walk too close to the brick wall and bang him up against the wall, scraping the top half of his head off.
I am walking down the stairs and fall, holding Baby. He bounces down the stairs, splitting open like a watermelon.
I wake up in the morning and he is cold and blue.
At the store, some crazy person grabs Baby out of my arm and runs off. I’m out of shape and can’t catch them.
Am I a bad mom for letting him cry for 5 minutes while I go to the bathroom? Or am I a bad mom if I don’t take time for myself? Or if I carry him into the bathroom and hold him the entire time (yes this is possible)?
Am I a bad mom when his crying annoys me after going on all day? Or a more relaxed, experienced mom, when I can stay calm after hours of crying?
I had these thoughts with my Daughter. I kept having thoughts of something happening to her. The thoughts started out with something happening to her – she rolled off the bed and fell on the floor. Then it progressed to my noticing/knowing but not doing anything – she rolled over, I saw her get close to the bed, I did nothing, she hit the floor. I got concerned at that point. When the thoughts got worse and turned to thoughts of me doing something (i.e. helping her roll off bed), I got really concerned and saw the doctor. I didn’t have the actual urge to do anything, but the thoughts alone were disturbing enough. I was ashamed of even thinking that way and was sure it made me a horrible mother. I swallowed the shame and saw the doctor. He prescribed zoloft. It was my first time on depression meds. I took them 6 months and stopped. That was the end of that – or so I thought.
I am on zoloft already now - have been on something throughout pregnancy. Husband has asked me how I am doing and I said "okay" because, after all, it's sure better than I've been in the past. The panic seems controlled (knock on wood) and it's always been dominant over the depression so I've never focused overly much on the depression.
But the above type thoughts are still there. And getting worse. I ventured onto the PPD sub-forum of a mommies board for some support. I started reading about “intrusive thoughts” and realized that the label fit what is running through my brain. The thoughts tend to go along with OCD in many respects, which I don’t have, although I do tend to have some compulsive tendencies which are re-surfacing a tad.
One poster on that board remarked that she thought that adults raised in neglectful/abusive environments grow up to become anxious adults. I think she is right. It’s a defensive mechanism developed out of coping with the childhood environment which required constant vigilance. The intrusive thoughts are often grounded in reality – things you really did have to worry about. As an adult, the vigilance isn’t needed and that is when the realization sets in that the thoughts you are having are now out of the ordinary, worrisome, and anxiety/panic-provoking.
I need to call my regular doctor and make an appointment for a general physical. I also need to get my flu shot and my pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine updated. I also have my 6 week midwife follow up in a few weeks. Either provider can up my prescription if I feel like I need it. I didn’t schedule any Therapy appointments after delivery and don’t have any scheduled in the future. It’s a surreal feeling after having appointments lined up for the past two years or so. I was hopeful that I would be okay without them, and didn’t feel any pressing issues on my mind three weeks ago. However, I may need to re-think that philosophy and make some appointments at least through this initial post-partum period. In the meantime, I continue to write here, trying to be open and choke back the shame I feel with these thoughts.