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Intrusive Thoughts

May 04, 2021

What if I that truck smashes into me?

What if I drop her down stairs?? What if she falls out of her crib and breaks her neck? What if I forget him while he is in the bathtub, OMG WHY am i having the visual right now!! Why can’t I get this out of my head??!

Does any of this sound familiar?? Believe me mama, you are not the only one.  It may seem like you are the only one in the world that experiences these thoughts, but research has shown that you are not!

Karen Kleiman developed the term scary thoughts to refer to intrusive thoughts .  Scary and intrusive thoughts are defined as thought or an image around either our’s or our baby's safety, health, and security. They are typically distressing and unwanted.  These thoughts can come out of nowhere (you are having a positive day and all of a sudden BOOM, you are hit with an intrusive thought), they can be THAT random.  Research has shown that intrusive thoughts are a universal experience amongst mothers

Scary thoughts can be both thoughts (thinking what if I drop the baby down the stairs), or images (seeing your baby submerged underwater).  Scary thoughts can include images of accidents (falling down the stairs with baby) or intentional (throwing baby against the wall).  They can feel oh so vivid and horrifying.   

It is important to recognize that just because you are having scary thoughts does not mean you have postpartum depression, anxiety, or OCD, however it can be a part of these postpartum mental health disorders. 

Researchers studied a sample of postpartum women, at 4 weeks postpartum researchers found that 100% of the women had thoughts of accidentally harming their infant, while 50% had thoughts of intentionally harming their infant.  After 2 months, the thoughts of accidental harm lessened to 95% and intentional harm to 20%.  It is suggested that 4 weeks after birth.

 

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