What causes the unthinkable anxiety disorder and how to get help.
by Heather TurgeonNovember 18, 2009
New parenthood is naturally an anxious time. The middle of the night breathing checks, the constant inspecting of bumps and rashes, the frequent calls to the doctor — most parents can identify with the feeling of being on high alert. But the stress takes a different turn for 2-3% of women, who are tormented by recurring, aggressive thoughts about hurting their babies. Postnatal Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is not commonly talked about, but psychiatrists are understanding it more and more. Meanwhile, brain researchers wonder if this anxiety disorder might be an adaptive parenting mechanism gone awry.
Mums with OCD have visions of stabbing, drowning or suffocating the baby repeatedly throughout the day. Along with fears of contamination or rigid ideas about feeding or bathing, these images pop into their minds over and over. A mum might pick up a knife to cut broccoli and think, “What if I . . . ”