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Anxiety

Though symptoms of postpartum OCD vary for each mother, most women describe having terrifying thoughts related to harm being done to the newborn infant.  In some instances, sufferers report intrusive thoughts about accidental harm happening to their baby, while others involve unwanted thoughts of their intentionally harming the newborn.  The biggest difference between a mother with postpartum OCD and a mother with postpartum psychosis is that a mother with postpartum OCD is still in touch with reality and she knows that she has no intention of ever following through with any of her scary thoughts.

Due to these obsessive thoughts, women develop “compulsions” to try to stop these very painful thoughts from coming into her head.  Some common examples of these protective compulsions are:

·         Excessively checking on the baby

·         Praying over and over to prevent a disastrous outcomes

·         Hiding or throwing out knives, scissors, and other sharp objects

·         Avoiding changing soiled diapers for fear of sexually abusing a child

·         Avoiding feeding a child for fear of accidentally poisoning him / her

·         Repeatedly asking family members for reassurance that no harm or abuse has been committed against the baby

·         Avoidance of certain foods, medications, or normal, everyday activities for fear of harming the fetus

·         Monitoring self for perceived inappropriate sexual arousal

·         Avoiding news articles and TV shows related to child abuse or infanticide

Information compiled from http://www.ocdla.com/postpartum-ocd.html, http://www.ocfoundation.org/EO_Postpartum.aspx, and http://postpartum.net/Get-the-Facts/Postpartum-OCD.aspx.

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