As you probably know already, I started this blog shortly after I was diagnosed with Postpartum Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in March 2020. It has definitely been a year of learning and growing since then and I thought it might be helpful to reflect and see how things have changed.
Obviously when I first wrote about Postpartum OCD back in Spring of 2020, the hardest thing to overcome was the intrusive thoughts. After finishing some counselling and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy as recommended by my family doctor, I found the way to tackle these disturbing thoughts.
If this is something you’re struggling with, definitely reach out to your doctor and get some help for yourself. I’m living proof that it does work! My intrusive thoughts started getting fewer and farther between since doing these treatments. Now I can even say I rarely have them, if ever.
Of course as a mom you can always imagine the worst thing happening to your child in the moment, like them tripping and hitting their head off the corner of something (which DID happen to Baby T the other day and she joined the goose egg club), but not having the really scary disturbing thoughts I’ve mentioned before is such a weight off my shoulders.
As far as the obsessive compulsive tendencies like cleaning rituals and routines that I mentally cannot deviate from, I would say these kinds of things are definitely worse than they were before having Baby T. Most moms who end up having Postpartum OCD have had obsessive compulsive tendencies before having their babies, but they can get a lot worse even for the long term afterwards.
Returning to work in the middle of the pandemic was and still is a big struggle sometimes, especially working in a financial institution where we see different people all day and have to handle cash and cheques. I find me sanitizing my hands and work station three times more than everyone else around me. Thankfully though, I’ve been open about this struggle with the ladies I work with and they’re very understanding and respectful even though sometimes I know I go overboard.
Routines that I don’t deviate from are part of my entire day. There’s a specific list and order of things I do every morning (take thyroid medication, check my phone, get Baby T ready for breakfast, make the bed, get ready for work or for a day at home) and every night (nighttime face moisturizer, dimmed lamp in our bedroom, vitamins, essential oil diffuser, read a book, go to sleep). If the bed is not made up just so and the laundry isn’t folded neatly and perfectly it just doesn’t sit right with me. Just ask my husband Dan.
Even though sometimes the OCD cleaning can get a bit daunting and overwhelming, I still feel like I’m in better shape than where I started a year ago.
I tried to google “how long does postpartum OCD last” and I didn’t really get an exact answer. Some say that the OCD tendencies can last long after postpartum so I suppose I’m in that category. On the plus side I do feel that over the past year I’ve learned a lot about postpartum mental health and myself and have definitely grown from my experience. Now I take everything one day at a time knowing that I have the support and tools I need to help me along the way.