Postpartum OCD: Does Having Scary Thoughts Mean You’ll Act On Them?

Postpartum OCD: Does Having Scary Thoughts Mean You'll Act on Them?

I got this email from Amy from Pretty Babies, and I identified so much with what she said that I wanted to share it with you (with her permission, of course).

“The entire trajectory of my recovery would have been different if I had known about the intrusive thoughts when I had my oldest. I thought that having the thoughts meant that I was capable of doing the things I thought about (in other words, if I thought about my kids drowning in the tub, I thought it meant that I WOULD drown them). I avoided getting help for months because I was afraid that “they” (my doctor, my husband, etc.) would take my daughter away if they knew what I was thinking. If I had known these sorts of thoughts were common, I would’ve been able to get help much sooner, but as a first time mother I had never heard of such a thing. Thank you for talking about this, so other moms don’t have to suffer the way we did.”

This is EXACTLY what happened to me when I had postpartum OCD. I had never heard of intrusive thoughts. I thought I was now a horrible monster, and I believed that since I was having these thoughts, it must mean I could follow through on them. That was wrong, but no one ever told me that. I also thought my child would be taken away. I WISH, WISH, WISH this was discussed more. There’s no reason for mothers to continue to suffer.

If you have postpartum OCD or postpartum anxiety and have scary, disturbing thoughts known as intrusive thoughts it is highly unlikely you would EVER act on them. As Karen Kleiman writes in her new book Dropping the Baby & Other Scary Thoughts:

“When scary thoughts feel inconsistent with your belief in who you essentially are, your character, and your personality, they are referred to as ego-dystonic thoughts. When a thought is ego-dystonic, it is in conflict with whom you fundamentally believe yourself to be. This inconsistency creates piercing anxiety. However, this distress, as disturbing as it feels to you, provides reassurance that these thoughts are anxiety driven and not psychotic. In fact, your anxiety is an indication that you are aware of the difference between right and wrong.”

About Katherine Stone

is the founder of Postpartum Progress. She has been named a WebMD Health Hero, one of the fiercest women in America by More magazine, and one of the top 20 Social Media Moms by Working Mother magazine. She is a survivor of postpartum OCD.

Tell Us What You Think


  1. I had those thoughts as well, as I wrote about in my Driving Into Trees post on Chronicles. And, especially because of my past, I was desperately afraid that I would be judged harsher and that my baby would be taken away and I'd never see my family ever again.

  2. I have many friends who suffered with hyperemesis resulting in PPDOCD. Until recently, I did not know they suffered with the intrusive thoughts. It is very difficult to share these feelings…That is why it is so important for these articles to be written 🙂

  3. I really wish that I had known about the "intrusive thoughts" of PPOCD before I struggled with it. Even more importantly I wish that just ONE of my health-care providers had heard of it!
    I had a textbook case of it with paralysing anxiety about my thoughts, but no one knew what was going on. I did so much to protect my baby from me and my scary thoughts (a huge clue!). Since most of what people (including doctors) hear about PPD is media sensationalized I was immediately seen as a threat to my child. I was separated from her for a month in a psych hospital and received the wrong help. It took my husband's research and getting in touch with PSI and then our state PPD coalition to finally hear about PP OCD. It really sucks to have to educate the doctors yourself!
    My family will never get that month back, or all of the time that it took to recover from such a tragedy. The worst part is that I know that I am not the only one. Women everywhere are too afraid to speak out because they are afraid of what happened to me happening to them. Your work here is so important. If I had read posts such as this and been aware of the term "intrusive" things would have been SO different. Keep up the education!

  4. When we were still in the hospital, my OB took the time to talk with my husband about postpartum depression. He told my husband that I might not notice the symptoms in myself. He also invited my husband to call his office if he had any concerns which I thought was completely amazing. We had a lot of chaos in my daughter's first few weeks of life, but it became clear to both of us that something was not right with me when things finally calmed down.
    I actually started experiencing intrusive thoughts for the first time when I came home from my OB appointment. Here I was hoping that I was on the path to getting better and instead things got much worse. I thank God every single day that I managed to find the right search terms that brought me to your Newsweek article. That article gave me the search term I needed: postpartum OCD. From there I found Postpartum Progress. Just knowing that what I was experiencing had a name, that I wasn't the only mother that ever went through it and that it didn't mean that I would hurt my baby took a tremendous load off of my shoulders.
    My recovery has been nothing short of amazing, and I attribute that to the fact that my OB was mindful enough of postpartum issues to discuss them with my husband, and that when I started experiencing intrusive thoughts I was able to discover that they had a name and with treatment they would go away.
    I know that I have shared this story with you before, Katherine, but I feel compelled to share it again and again in hopes that more women with perinatal mood disorders will have a recovery experience like mine. I cannot imagine what it would have been like to live through he hell of postpartum OCD for months on end without telling anyone what I was going through, and I am beyond grateful that I did not have to.

  5. Thank you. I am struggling with this very thing right now. I am scared to death to tell anyone for fear of them thinking I need to be put somewhere. It's more about myself though; What would happen if I swerved in front of an oncoming truck. What if I cross the street right before that car gets here.
    I still have not a way to find the courage to tell my husband, and wonder how to bring something like this up?

    • Just let him know there is something you’d like to talk to him about. Tell him about it, but also let him know you have been doing research and that you may have an idea of what it maybe. Also let him know that you may go to speak with your doctor who may be able to prescribe some medicine that could help suppress this. Mine got super out of control after having my last baby and I’ve actually had ocd all my life but was diagnosed after my 3rd baby. I still have it but its something knew as a kid I had and later was told for sure. The meds help with anxiety and my ocd. Work with you doctor. Let them know about your research also. Good Luck !

  6. You need to tell your husband what is going on. I had to tell my husband and it was the hardest thing that I had to do. But when he was educated about my ppdocd he finally understood. You need to see a pyschotherapist and a pychiatrist and get on medicine otherwise it will never go away. It will just manifest itself.

  7. Thank you for sharing this Katherine and for all the support you provide to women with PPD! I currently have been struggling with Postpartum OCD since this past August. However, I started getting professional help 3 months ago, and have made significant progress towards recovery! It is true that with treatment you will get better! Mothers, do not be afraid to get treatment and to get support! This is a real illness that is treatable!

  8. Yes, I have intrusive thoughts. They are quite grisly and although reduced somewhat, are still very much a part of my life even tho my baby is 19months and I have been diagnosed and medicated for well over a year. I hate them.

  9. interested says:

    Mae, perhaps giving him this post and other articles about ppocd and intrusive thoughts would be a good way to go. That way he can see that it is a condition that can be treated.
    I'm sending special prayers your way to make it easy for you to tell your hubby.

  10. I am on a roller coaster right now. My intrusive thoughts started the day after I had my baby (about two months ago). I started treatment(counseling/psychiatry) the following week. I went to my first postpartum OCD support group meeting recently and the other women do exposure therapy with the trained counselor who runs the group. Has anyone ever used this kind of treatment or have most done meds and/or cognitive behavioral therapy? Thanks for any info.

  11. Oh honey. Please tell your husband. Even if you have to bring up this web page and let him read your comment while you wait in another room you have to tell him.
    Telling my husband was hard, but I thank God every day that I did. There is help for you. What you are going through is no reflection on you. It is a horrible chemical imbalance in your brain that can be treated.

  12. My daughter is almost 7, and I have been medicated since she was almost a year. I now have two younger sons, and I still have occasional intrusive thoughts. And they still freak me out at first. Fortunately, my medication and my experience in therapy help alleviate the anxiety and allow me to remind myself that it is just a thought. Not an action. Not a wish. A random, scary, worst-case thought that blips in and then blips out. But even this many years out from my initial nervous breakdown, it still sucks to have the thoughts.

  13. Katherine Stone/Post says:

    Isn't it amazing to think that healthcare providers WOULDN'T KNOW?!? How can that even be possible. Yet I know it is.
    I'm so very sorry you were misdiagnosed and separated from your baby. Truly, deeply sorry. Things like that should never happen.
    – Katherine

  14. Katherine Stone/Post says:

    Please feel free to share it, Shelly. It's important for people to see what a difference it can make when all the people around a suffering mother are properly informed and appropriately supportive.
    – Katherine

  15. Katherine Stone/Post says:

    Where do you live? (nearest major city) Perhaps we can give you information on some good healthcare pros in your area to whom you could reach out.
    It took me a while to tell my husband as well. It helped when I had real, medical information to give him. Something else that people have told me helps is to have the doctor explain it to your husband.

  16. Katherine Stone/Post says:

    So glad to hear you are getting better Andrea! You are an inspiration to those who are unsure whether to seek help.
    – Katherine

  17. Katherine Stone/Post says:

    I don't blame you for hating them. I hated them, too. I am glad that at minimum your treatment seems to be reducing them. Have you discussed how much they still affect you, as well as any other treatment possibilities with your physician/therapist?
    – Katherine

  18. Katherine Stone/Post says:

    I have not personally experienced exposure therapy, though I do know it is used as a treatment method for obsessive compulsive disorder. Anyone else here been through it?
    – Katherine

  19. Katherine Stone/Post says:

    As someone who found out through her postpartum OCD experience that she has probably always had OCD, I still (even w/ treatment) find myself having an intrusive thought maybe 3 or 4 times a year now. Blips in and out as you describe. I have to say they don't affect me anymore, generally speaking. I sort of banish them. I make them go away. I know they are simply a very "unhelpful" symbol of how much I love my children and want them to be healthy and safe. I cannot allow myself to dwell on them.
    – Katherine

  20. I have been having intrusive thoughts for almost 4 years now, since after my first son was born. I knew I had PPD, but never sought treatment. After my second son was born, it was so, so much worse. Because of these intrusive thoughts, I was convinced I had gone crazy. I was terrified if I told someone the horrible things that were constantly playing out in my mind, they would take my children from me. I did go on antidepressants for over a year, but the thoughts never went away. I was scared to drive, when I would get into a car instantly the thoughts started. I "saw" horrible accidents and my children killed. So detailed and real I could feel it. I still have not been able to tell anyone about them. I have just recently started talking to my husband about it, after 4 years, but I can't bring myself to tell him what the thoughts are, or anything other than they are just bad 🙁

  21. I had intrusive thoughts several times a day, and nearly everytime I held my son. It was terrible and I was petrified. I did not tell anyone about them. But a friend knew I was struggling with birth issues and shared with me her experiences, including her intrusive thoughts. It helped me break the power they held over me. I still had them, but was able to recognize them quickly and knew that they didn't mean I wanted to do any of the things I saw. I'm extremely greatful for that gift.

  22. "However, this distress, as disturbing as it feels to you, provides reassurance that these thoughts are anxiety driven and not psychotic. In fact, your anxiety is an indication that you are aware of the difference between right and wrong."
    Thank you for sharing this post. The above quote was exactly what I needed to hear. It is refreshing to think of my anxiety as a sign of strength, if you will, instead of weakness.

  23. Thank you for posting this. More new moms need to know about it.

  24. Animarie Stydom says:

    Same here. Know somone who had gone for this treatment. Have not spoken to her for quite a while, but I think she is quite a bit better off now. Will try and get in contact with her and ask what her thought are. Will post back here again…

  25. Please please try ERT (exposure response therapy). I was on medication for several months with absolutely no improvement. I have been doing ERT for the past 6 months or so and it has helped tremendously! I had about a 50% reduction in symptoms the first couple of weeks, then I was only having anxiety once in a while, now almost never! I have read tons and tons about OCD, and I'm convinced that ERT isn't just the best approach – but the ONLY thing even close to a cure for OCD. It can even be done successfully at home, you can learn how through the book "Overcoming Obsessive Thoughts" which is written by psychologists. It also helps you to understand where your faulty thinking is causing you these problems. Tormenting Thoughts and Secret Rituals is another great book for that. ERT is not fun…at first you will feel worse, but short-term pain = long-term gain! Also, get more sleep even if you have to beg/borrow/steal from other adult family members to get it. I saw a poll that said sleep helps people with anxiety disorders in 100% of cases! It might even be that postpartum lack of sleep causes it. I felt about 10x worse when I did not get enough sleep, after 2 weeks of good nights I did sooo much better. You will be amazed. Your mind needs that sleep. 1 or 2 days will not be enough, get 2 weeks of good nights and see if you feel tons better.

  26. THANK YOU! It's great to hear other people's stories on the days when you feel like you are the only person going through this. Intrusive thoughts, anxiety and the constant flow of tears have taken from me valuable time with my two sweet boys. Good days and bad days come and go and I keep hoping to get better. It's been 18 months now and I'm still feeling severe anxiety and PPD. Every day is a struggle and I just strive to be the best mom I can be. It was hard telling my husband that I daydreamed of leaving our family, of crossing the line on the road or throwing my baby down the stairs. I too felt that he would surely commit me or call Child Services. But I was so lucky that when I finally confided in him he wrapped is arms around me and told me we would get through it. We are getting through it together one day at a time. My love goes out to all of you. Stay strong!

  27. Oh my goodness. I am so thankful I found this. I felt so evil and awful for having these thoughts about hurting my son. It made me physically sick to know that I was capable of these thoughts. I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder a few months ago which is what I think made this manifest itself. Just reading this and knowing there is help for me makes me feel so much better. Thank you thank you thank you!!!

  28. I’ve been suffering from it for about 3 weeks now n I hate it. I have scary thoughts about hurting my son several times a day n I can’t stop thinking about how evil n crazy I think I’ve got. My family n husband know n I’ve just started tablets n due to go to therapy soon. I look at my son n question do I love him coz surely if I feel this way I must not its horrible.
    I just want to feel better! I’m scared to b left alone with my son incase I hurt him these scary thoughts scare me so much n causes me to have an anxiety attack every time n I’m also loosing so much sleep because I worry I’m crazy n I feel I won’t let my son get to close to me xx

  29. My OCD is better now after taking medication, but I still have tiny obsessions that blow over after a couple of day to a week. I’ve been having one that isn’t really giving me anxiety, which is scaring me a lot.I’m having these thoughts that make me want to do stuff that have me so scared that I throw up, but sometimes I really like them. Ugh… maybe its because of my OCD that makes me want to believe that this isn’t part of my OCD.

  30. I am SO thankful I stumbled upon your site. I’ve been struggling with, what I now know as postpartum OCD, since the birth of my oldest whose now three. I’ve struggled with admitting that anything is wrong with me, but now I feel I have the strength to get help. Thank you for giving me the push I needed to get help and realize that I’m not alone.

  31. I started experiencing severe PPD symptoms 9 months postpartum. It was as if I stepped off a cliff. I felt like I was going crazy, for sure. This was right around Thanksgiving. I felt sad for no reason, anxiety of hurting myself and/or children, loss of appetite, insomnia, intrusive thoughts. It was complete h#ll. I immediately realized something was wrong and started doing research and found your website. I was determined to beat this, and still am. I started taking D3 and Omega 3 pills and exercising. I have met with my PCP who found I am Vitamin D deficient and met with a therapist. I am so happy to say it’s been 4 weeks since I’ve started these things and I feel SO much better. However I still have those horrific thoughts, except less frequently and causing me less anxiety now because I know those thoughts are not me. Today I reached out to the OBGyn that I saw while pregnant thinking she might have some additional insight that might help me make more sense of what is going on with me. To my dismay, she listened to me for all of 1 minute before she cut me off. She insisted I needed to be on antidepressants and that I have already received 100% of the benefits from my supplements. She went on and explained these thoughts were not normal. Obviously! My frustration? How can someone who hasn’t even listened to my whole story, be so sure of what it is that I need? I am not saying I would never take meds but at this point, I honestly don’t feel like I need them because I feel like I am getting better with what I am doing. I am not against meds, and know sometimes you NEED them. But unfortunately I know there are Dr’s out there who will give you a pill for just about anything. Any suggestions?

    • I am in Australia and there is limited education here. Thank God for this site!

    • Faith, it’s been six months since your post and I hope you have completely recovered. If you are still struggling, I would suggest getting in touch with a therapist who specializes in treating OCD. He or she might be better able to assess whether or not you need medication or whether some other type of therapy would be appropriate.

      I live with OCD all the time . . . it ramps up when I am pregnant. I am currently 33 weeks with my second child and I am so scared of how I will be postpartum. I’m not taking any meds right now and I still get the intrusive thoughts. They cause me a lot of anxiety . . . mostly I am afraid of getting postpartum psychosis. I read an article about a lady who had it and who killed herself last year. She tried taking her child with her but he survived. Her story scares me absolutely to death.

      After my first pregnancy, I really resisted taking antidepressants again because I was breastfeeding and thought it might hard my child. But this time . . . I think I am going to go on them right away. I want to be proactive and do what I can to avoid getting worse.

      Thanks for listening.


      • Ashoffman I am so happy to say I am so much better now. I eventually broke down to my OBGYN, and was referred to a women’s psych who was able to confirm I had PPD/OCD. I also started taking a low dose of Zoloft which helped so much. I have my moments, but they are not nearly as bad as they were. Mainly now I am constantly evaluating where I am in my recovery and freightened to death of my symptoms ever returning to the extreme of which they were. I pray to God that you and all of the ladies out there find solace that you are NOT alone, and you can/will get better. My thoughts are with you all. <3

  32. Hi all, I have suffered with the worst intrusive thoughts but in small chunks my whole life. Firstly I remember being 10 researching into death / deciding what I was going to believe in Christianity etc… Then my imagination went crazy, creative ways of dying, what happens after death, my brain was racing for answers etc… I was so frightened by myself i spent a year with this big black cloud over my head, frightens I was crazy! As soon as I told my Dad- he said ‘it’s nothing to worry about you just a very imaginative person’! It was lifted. I didn’t fear my thoughts, try and stop them (this only makes them worse I find) I embraced them. Think of a horror movie writer – (whoever came up with the idea of freddy crooger for instance) must have had some seriously intrusive thoughts! But he embraced them and used the in a creative way! If we weren’t being frightened by our our own minds we might find we could write some amazing novels! I realised later on when I experienced the same thing again that sleep and a simpler life was essential. I tried to arrange my wedding and work and do teacher training all at the same time – exhausted! a few years ago and literally the worst of the worst thoughts you could imagine would pray on me whilst trying to teach! I felt sick – literally. But I spoke to the wrong person (stupid ex boyfriend who made me feel worse like I was a weirdo). I met the love of my life, and I told him and bam! Gone! He said ‘it’s our actions that define us, not our thoughts ‘every one is capable of thinking everything’! As soon as I stopped feeling guilty they stopped coming- it’s like your trying so hard to not think about something, that you think about it! I’ve also since discussed this in a big group of friends who all happily admit that they have horrific imaginings sometimes- it’s totally normal. I have just had my first beautiful baby and I knew before the pregnancy, during and after that at some point I would fear my own head again. Every time something pops up I just say it ‘do you think a savage dog will come into the garden and eat my baby?’ ‘No babe’ or ‘eh I just has a horrible thought’ if you don’t want to say it that’s fine too. these ideas also prevent the worst from happening- we become so sensitive to our worst nightmares that our worst nightmares will never happen. I have had super anxious days- but the anxiety is my fear that there is something wrong with me that will prevent me being a good mum- I put huge amounts of pressure on myself to get all the jobs and more done- so probably post-Partom anx- but after reading all of your posts I’m not afraid. I’m normal and human, creative and gifted. I can accept my creative mind because it makes me me! Who knows one day I might write a horror novel- – it’s our sensitivity that makes the situation an issue. Anyone else wouldn’t think on the idea for a second. We are super sensitive because we’ve had little /no sleep and our hormones are mentalists! That’s it! Most confident, relaxed well slept, well eaten people would have a dark thoughts and laugh about them. Love your imaginations ladies- the reason they scare you is because you want and good honest true people. Also make sure your surrounded by people who understand creativity so you can talk openly about all of your feelings. I’d be interested to know if you were particular creative people in Other areas of life? Jobs etc

    I’m not sure a therapist or doctor would know me well enough to distinguish between my imagination and my conscious thoughts and actions- can anyone? I am the person who has been alive for 28 years And my past actions. Anyone who says they have never imagined themselves doing something bad, or dreamt something awful is lying, or very bland and boring- unimaginative.

    Your family can tell you how wonderful you are. Get lots of rest/ sleep fresh fruit and veg – embrace yourself and start being creative ! Stimulate you creative capacity in another way! Paint? Write poetry – whatever

    • I know this comment was months ago, but I’m so glad to see someone discussing this in the context of postpartum and at other times of life. I have had intrusive thoughts since my early twenties (about ten years now), but they got much worse over the past few years. I too felt crazy but didn’t have much luck finding solace on the web. About a year ago my anxiety escalated to a level where I was no longer able to cope with it on my own. It was then that I saw a therapist and shared with her my experience with intrusive thoughts. She was a life saver and helped to explain to me that it wasn’t that uncommon and didn’t mean I was a crazy monster! I spoke with my parents (and eventually my husband about it), and learned from them that I wasn’t the only one. While it was helpful to hear from my therapist that it was normal, it made a world of difference to hear it from those closest to me as well! Knowing you’re accepted and understood even in the moments where you don’t feel like that’s impossible is a blessing! While I now know that I’m not crazy, my anxiety and experiences with intrusive thoughts make me a little uneasy about being a mom. My husband and I want to have a baby, but reconciling this underlying fear of my own mind and my knowledge that there isn’t really anything “crazy” about me is a hard task!

  33. I’ve had anxiety since my early 20’s, now I’m in my 30’s and had my daughter a year ago. While I was pregnant I was so scared that I would fall into PPD. I started having intrusive thoughts 2 weeks postpartum and I was so scared to be alone with my daughter. I had consistent panic attacks and was anxious ALL.DAY.LONG. It really ate me up inside. I would call my fiance and have him come home from work. I would spend days/weeks at my moms house cause I knew I would have the daily help there. Eventually I got medication and started reading self help books. It helped for awhile and the just last week I had a panic attack because I had horrible intrusive thoughts…. now I’m feeling like I’m having a major set back and I’m back to where I started. I have to keep pushing fwd though. Everyday I try not to fight these bad thoughts, I just let them enter as I carry on with my day. I try to ignore them, it’s really hard to do, but I can’t let it stick, then I’ll obsess over them and I’ll just crumble all over again.

  34. I had my first child 8 yrs ago and I started feeling really anxious in my last trimester of pregnancy, within the first week after I have birth to him, I started having the ppocd signs, I was terrified and for a while I didn’t want to tell anyone for fear they would take my baby, I was told at a young age my chances on having a child we’re very slim and I was so angry and upset because having my son was the most glorious blessing, I was devastated to be a woman that always longed for the opportunity to become a mommy and this was happening, at first I was fearful that I could harm my child and it was so scary it was paralyzing, I knew I didn’t want to hurt my child, but being I had those intrusive thoughts I told myself it was a possibilty, I did everything I could to care for my child but felt I had to do it from a distance! I went to my 1st psychiatrist just for him to tell me I had postpartum psychosis I devasted me I told him my symptoms over and over because fear I was being mis diagnosed because I knew right from wrong I didn’t want to act on the intrusive thoughts they were just there and scary, he again said the same diagnoses, he
    Than treated me with medication for a person with postpartum phsychosis the whole time I knew it wasn’t the correct diagnoses but I had to do something I wanted to enjoy my child up close, to say the least the medication didn’t work like it should have I felt I needed a second opinion, and where I live it took almost a year to get one of those because there are only maybe 3 behavior clinics in my area. So I went off medication, while waiting to get into another doctor and I noticed the intrusive thoughts weren’t as frequent and so when getting into seeing the new doctor the first one said bipolar and I instantly asked for a different doctor I knew that wasn’t the case, than I was told ppd and at this point I said accept it this is what you have, deal with it…I still wasn’t convinced, us woman have that instinct to know when something is just right and this wasn’t settling with me right, so I than had my second child following my second miscarriage and again the fear in the last trimester came and day 3 after having her I was hit with the intrusive thoughts I was devastated, I just wanted to enjoy my baby because I loved doing the things a mommy does but unable to because of the fear, once again I was told ppd and they gave me meds but they didn’t seem to work all that well, this time I ended up in the hospital for 8 days, away from my family and I felt it was best because I obviously shouldn’t of had children so I thought, I just wanted to get better care for my baby and family without all the intrusive thoughts and fear and misdiagnoses, after having my child almost 8 years ago I researched my symptoms after it started and these options as far as ppocd were not in any google forum I could find all there was was ppd pps bipolar!! So here I am almost 9 yrs later because I still have the intrusive thoughts just not as often and as frequent, I became really depressed over the year because of the fact I couldnt except that I had ppd I knew it was something different and gave up do to just not being heard, I took whatever they gave me to see if it would help, but yet I still had them just not as frequent, I was at the point of giving up and I said let me google one more time and there it was this site as well as many more instantly pounds and pounds lifted off my shoulders, this was it this has been everything I’ve been going through it was the biggest relief and so emotional I cried and cried knowing I wasn’t alone knowing it ok and it can be treated, even the thought of possibly having another child because I knew I wasn’t a monster and that there treatment, I can’t express how thankful I was to have found these sites, I was excited to talk to my doctor and let him know I found it I knew what was wrong, so I made an appointment and explained everhthing and showed him and he said something I deffinately didn’t expect he said there’s no such thing, I said what do you mean? Are you hearing me and I told him again showed him all my research and he still said if it not on web md don’t believe it, you’ve had ppd ppocd is not a medical condition, instantly I was devasted here I was with all this information, knowing this is what I have and he says there is no such thing, instantly my shoulders felt the weight just sit on them again, he has put me on prozac since and I can feel a big difference, but I know I have what everyone here and all the other forums are talking about, I’m so frustrated and upset cause I feel I’m at square one again docs brushing it off and not taking the time to research or understand what I’m saying and going through!!!! I have tried to look for support groups for ppocd in my area, but
    There is nothing I just want to be heard and understood!! I feel like I’m stuck again I will keep researching for my area in hope to find someone
    That understands and has the knowledge that I now have from all these woman sharing there stories as well as the ppocd sites that I’ve been on I hope I will find a doctor that will listen and say yes that’s what you have lets treat it!!! Rather than them brushing it under the rug!!! I do want to say thank you, because these sites and forums saved my life!!!!

  35. liquidsunshine says:

    I had my son 3 months ago, and I love him very, very much. However, I noticed that I keep having intrusive thoughts, but it’s only during my period, and my period is so much worse now, than it was before I got pregnant. They started last month. I feel awful, physically and mentally. I am anxious, not hungry, and I am exhausted because I get up at 5am, and I don’t get home until 5pm, and then I have to decide to either make dinner, or do housework, try to spend actual quality time with my baby, and then go to sleep. I have 3 hours to take care of everything. My husband has a lot stuff he does at night outside of the home, so the responsibility falls to me. I do not want to keep having these thoughts and images in my head of harming my son. It doesn’t seem to happen when I am on my period. I am already taking a multivitamin and 4000u of Vitamin D, and my placenta capsules. I want to be normal again and a good mom.

    • liquidsunshine says:

      *it doesn’t seem to happen when I am NOT on my period.

    • liquidsunshine – Our cycles can make everything worse, that’s for sure. Have you reached out to your doctor or a mental health professional to talk about this? Intrusive thoughts, no matter what time of month they happen, can be indicative of a postpartum mood or anxiety disorder which requires treatment. You don’t have to keep suffering, there is help, and you will feel better again.

  36. Dear Kathrine,
    I am posting this same comment in a few places hoping to get some answers…
    you are a true inspiration to me and a source of strength. See I am dealing with a very though outburst of postpartum OCD and it takes every bit of my strength, but I continue to fight and will never give up! See here in Israel where I am from, we don’t have much open conversation about the subject and often women suffer in silence. I am seeing a very good CBT therapist and working very hard, but like you have described, have many setbacks that are devastating and it is really hard to believe sometimes that I will ever recover… and I miss my old self so much, and feel so bad for my family for going through this with me!
    I just wanted to know:
    1. what was the biggest contributor to your recovery?
    Was it the ERP (did you do ERP) ?
    The support of your loved ones?
    The time that past?
    The meds?
    Being busy with work?
    Accepting your illness and not feel so bad about it?

    2.What was the turning point?

    3.Do you think that I’ll ever feel strong enough to have another child?

    4.What did you tell yourself when you felt no hope?

    Other recovered from pp OCD moms are more than welcome to answer as well 
    I need all the support I can get; my soul is soooo tired from battling this monster!!! And I feel so alone…

    Thank you so much brave amazing women!

    • Diana – These are such great questions! I’m glad to hear your working hard with a therapist. You will overcome this. I would suggest you join Postpartum Progress’ online private forum to get some feedback from other moms on the questions you posed. You can join the forum here:

      • Becky thank you so much for your answer!
        I will definitely post the questions on the forum.
        I was wondering whether you had the pp OCD and can kindly answer some of the questions? 🙂

        Thanks again!

    • Dear Diana,
      I too suffered an intense bout with PPOCD and PPD. It was the most terrifying experience I’ve had to endure. The symptoms didn’t start until 9 months postpartum and went from bad to worse so quickly. I thought I was losing my mind– especially since I had never experienced mental illness before this. Every single waking moment was a struggle. Every single moment. I thought my old self was gone forever. I am happy to tell you, I am just about back to my ‘normal’ self. Please know you are not alone and things will get better. We are all rooting for you and anybody else who may be going through it.

      • Faith thank you so much for your answer as well!
        It really gives me hope!
        could you please give me a link to your full story if you posted it,
        and also maybe answer some of my questions above?

        Thank you, you are a hero!

  37. Just when I thought I was the most horrible mom in the world and felt so alone I finally found a name to what was happening to me. Doctor’s described as just anxiety disorder. But I know it was more than that the moment I was filled with guilt and just to avoid being near my child. It is bitter sweet to know that there are more moms out there with the same issue as mine. And im not alone. But it’s sad to know that when we are happiest in life with our new babies it’s clouded with intrusive thoughts but with therapy and maybe possibly medicine it will get easier and easier to understand it and not catastrophe it. I have been off medication for about a year now and I still have random ppocd moments they still scare me as much as the 1st time. I just wish it would all go away. My child is now 4 and loves me so much and think I’m the best mommy in the world just wish I saw it that way and remind myself that this is just all in my head. Smh.

    • Heather King says:

      I’m so glad you have found answers and feel less alone. If you continue to struggle with guilt (which I hope you can find freedom from, mama), maybe it would be best to see a counselor/therapist to work through it. I continue to do the same and my youngest is four as well. Since it can’t all just go away, sometimes we have to work toward acceptance of what was and is so we can move forward into that happiness we crave, and allow ourselves the grace to see ourselves through the unconditional eyes of these sweet kiddos we have. I’m sending you peace…

  38. I really would like to have another child but I am sooo afraid that my symptoms will come back just as bad as they used to be.

    • “you know I had postpardum really bad with my first daughter but I prayed on an daily basis constantly for it to go away and you know this present day I have 3 wonderful children and my postpardum depression did not occur sooo strong after the birth of my two youngest kids. But I will say it comes time to time but I just build enough courage and strength in my mind and the thought is gone \, but I have ocd really bad but I am slowly getting better. But reading daily the bible praying and eating right is the way to cure this disease.
      God bless you or savior Jesus Christ.

  39. How long does this harm ocd last. How do I get over these bad thoughts everyday all day long.. Please help

    • Dear Cindy, the good news are that It does go away, but it take a lot of work and time.
      Go to CBT therapist who specializes in OCD. These days you can get treatment via Skype.
      Go to a psychiatrist who is also really familiar with OCD, Or even PPOCD.
      Tell your husband, tell your mother- get them on board.
      Keep living your life as normally as you can. Go out to social events. Do not avoid your baby in any way!!! When the OCD rises it’s ugly head- you hug your child even more!!! Show the OCD who is the boss!!!
      I made it, Kathrine Stone made it, and lots of other moms!!! Just look at the worrier mom photo album and see those wonderful, brave, and amazing women:

      I had horrible POCD, and now I am ready for a second child.

      You will get there too!

      Check out also Mark’s Freeman’s videos on YouTube – Priceless!!

      And his site also:

      And here is a great thing someone wrote about Harm OCD:

      “The stronger the feeling of trust in your moral self (by knowing that you know what is right and wrong, and that intrusive thoughts do not make you a bad person but are an anxiety overreaction) the more you will automatically step out of the helpless role, and the intrusive thoughts will disappear more and more.

      Not only people with OCD have intrusive thoughts. The truth is: EVERYBODY has intrusive thoughts, even of such nature as you described. The only difference between people with OCD and people without OCD is: people with OCD give meaning to such thoughts, whereas people without OCD don’t!

      See, the thing is: if everyone has such thoughts (which is true), and other people don’t care about having them, but just let them pass through their mind and then move on to other things, yet you feel bad about them, this seems to show that you in fact care morally much more than others. Therefore, you are not a worse person than others; if anything, you are better because morally more aware.
      However, to want to be morally perfect and have the perfect mind is impossible! the thing is: no one is perfect. Imperfection does not mean one is bad, but that one is human. Learning, that is improving is philosophically speaking an essential part of living. We are not supposed to be perfect, we are supposed to be imperfect, so we can grow.

      Other people are not morally better than oneself. They are NOT the highest instance of moral judgement. They might be wrong in what they are thinking, too. Being wrong is human. You are a good person, you know what is right or wrong yourself. One does not need others to be assured in this. The more one takes back the responsibility (in a healthy measure) without being over-responsible to the point of guilt, the more one disables the system of intrusive thoughts. It seems to be that a certain imbalance is the key to it all: the more one focuses on others, on the outer world, the more one gets disconnected from oneself and loses touch with one’s own inner world, including trusting oneself with one’s own thoughts and feelings. By focusing more on oneself, one disables that imbalance and creates a healthy balance between one’s inner world and the outer world. One reclaims one’s reign over one’s own inner world, and over all its beauty and wealth and being flawed because it is natural, and because one is a human being. It is a beautiful feeling, full of self worth and pride.

      I want to assure you that that feeling of being overwhelmed by these attacks of guilt will dissolve into thin air, just be patient and loving to yourself, look at yourself with warmth and compassion, you have a tough time and you don’t deserve to be bashed more, but to be surrounded by love, care, understanding and compassion.

      You are not alone, there are so many people in the world dealing with this – the sensitive, good ones, those who give a damn, and who are incredible people because they care. If they care “too much”, it is, like I already said but can’t emphasize enough, time for them to care more about themselves, and less about other people’s judgement, perhaps. Caring a bit less about the outer world (judgement from outside, one’s relation to the outer world, doing everything “right” etc…), and creating a balance by focusing on what is good for yourself, and what makes you happy. The happiness of other people is not more important than yours.

      It can be a good thing to be a bit less perfectionistic, and such a relief and so freeing to let go of trying too hard, but instead granting oneself to be human and being proud of that wonderful heritage (because although sometimes they ***ed up big time, mankind came up with so many incredible, beautiful and exciting things as well), seeing the learning process of not being perfect in a philosophical way that has its own, quite heart-moving value, and generally being a bit more “pUnK”. Not caring quite so much does not make one a bad person; it means one takes good care of oneself, and it is fun. And one can be sensitive and caring without taking it too far. I got over all this, and so can you. I wish you all the best in the world, value yourself highly, separate yourself from those who don’t or put your foot down, and be happy!☺

  40. Zana Osmani says:

    Just when my son became 1 I started having intense incontrollable intrusive thoughts – though now I realize I started having them soon after my son was born, but was to scared to share them as I thought I was not supposed to feel that way. Now after a year that I started me treatment with meds I have finally been diagnosed with PPOCD and since have been working, mostly alone, on a cognitive behavior therapy…the crazy part now is that the anxiety is not so present when the obsessive thoughts come and I’m so afraid of not having anxiety as I do not feel protected – anybody help, need more insight

    • Heather King says:

      Zana, I think what you are describing is that your therapy is working. You anxiety is less, which is so good for you. That means your anxiety is not there giving the thoughts so much power. Try to embrace the goodness of this and keep moving forward. I’m so glad you are on the right track after all this time. I’m sending you peace.

      If you would like to talk more with other mamas who have shared your experience, we have a private forum –

      • Zana Osmani says:

        Thank you – I’m making progress and soon will be checking with a psychiatry in the UK . I’m much more relaxed but still lack motivation to start the day – but I’m trying for my son and my husband

  41. This2ShallPass says:

    I am 34 weeks pregnant with my 3rd child. I suffered from PPD with my 1st child. I was recently hospitalized in a psych ward for 8 days. I was having intrusive thoughts and was being told that I would harm my children. I had to go to court and be put on a 90 day hold in order to get out of the hospital and reunite with my family. I was forced to take psychotropic medications which gave me extreme anxiety for the safety of my unborn child. The hospital contacted CPS and I was not allowed to be alone with my children for over a month. I recently began a partial hospitalization program that has diagnosed me with anxiety and OCD. This program has been extremely helpful and they have reassured CPS that I am not a danger to my children. CPS is just now starting to lift some of their protective measures and I couldn’t be more relieved. I was so worried that I would lose my children. There is an extreme lack of education for medical professionals about this mental illness. I feel like this baby I am carrying has become a pharmaceutical test subject. It’s sad that the people asking for help are being told that they are monsters.

    • Hi my name is sheila sorry i had the same thoughts after i had my son i went to the doctor no one listen they put me on meds that made it worst i stop taking them wanted to heal my body natural. I started juiceing dark berries every morning cod liver oil coconut oil capsules all these are good for the brain. I take mult vitamin super b complex daily.I started feeling better after 2 weeks .I figure out my brain was lacking something and i needed to take charge of my own health. My son is 22mth now and we are all doing fine I wish u the bestof luck Google brain foods.

      • This2ShallPass says:

        Hi Sheila. Thank you for your response. Unfortunately, I have to take the medications that I am being prescribed or I will be committed. This is due to the 90 day hold that I am on. I was recently prescribed another medication that has made me totally trip out. I feel totally numb and sedated. Once the baby is born and the 90 day hold is up, I will definitely look into my diet. For now, my unborn baby and I remain test subjects.

        • Hello 2ShallPass,

          I’m currently at home with my 6 week old baby girl. I’m having intrusive thoughts and it’s scary. You are not alone in this. I want you to know that. I wish I could reach out and hug you.

          It feels good to know that there are other women going through what we are going through.

          I do agree with you the education is not good and the type of therapy and rehabilitation is also disheartening.

          I hate the thoughts what I hate even more is feeling alone. Being scared to tell anyone I don’t want to be separated from my little one. I really just want support.
          It’s a battle going through this but I agree with your name this will pass.

          I just leave the room or change what I’m doing when a thought appears. It helps. But I feel guilty afterwards.

          I wish there was more awareness out there.
          Wishing you well and stay strong Mama. You are in control. I keep telling myself that.

          Congrats on the little.

  42. So glad I found this website. These comments have really helped me. I really need to seek out help f oi r my thoughts but I’m so scared of them taking my boy away:-(

    • Heather King says:

      Hello mama,

      It might make you feel more confident about asking for help if you see someone who specializes in postpartum mental health. There are psychiatrists and therapists that know a lot about perinatal mood disorders and they will understand that what you are experiencing are Intrusive Thoughts and they are not desires. Professionals who specialize know that you are not a danger to your baby because they understand this illness. There are many professionals that may not be considered specialists, but they too understand it. If you have a doctor you trust, you can start there, and you don’t have to tell them specific details about your scary thoughts. You can just give them general information like you are struggling with symptoms of Postpartum Anxiety and OCD. Getting help would be such a relief, mama. I’m sending you peace!!

  43. This has helped me more than anything! Thankyou so much xx

  44. So beautiful! Ive been praying everyday

  45. This was such a helpful post. Thankyou x

  46. Thankyou so much for not just this post but all those who commented below. As i lay here next to my beautiful 4 week old daughter i feel so much better about myself as her mummy. I have always wanted to be a mum. I waited years to get pregnant. My pregnancy was smooth sailing. But my labor and birth was extremely traumatic and i was so extremly sleep deprived and exhausted from everything i went through. About 6 days after i gave birth i had a bad day and went to bed so anxious and upset. I woke up into an intrusive thought. It was so scary i started shaking and dry reaching. I woke my partner up and brokedown in tears explaining what had happened and what i had thought. I had no idea what was happening to me. I felt brokrm and crazy. My partner tried her best to understand and comfort me but the guilt i felt was so extreme i made her take our baby and i locked myself away. That day i rang panda and the mental health team in my town. I saw a gp and was told all about post natal depression, post traumatic stress disorder and ocd. I was written a script for medication and a referral to a physciatrist. I didn’t take the medication because my intrusive thoughts told me id go crazy on them. A week later i saw a physciatrist. We sat and spoke about my whole life and everything i was feeling. For the first time in my life i felt like i was listened to and that everything i had been through was validated and that i could finally get the help i had needed for so long. I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, panic attacks, mild post natal depression, and ocd. Which had started as a young teen but i never got help for. I also realized i had been dealing with intrusive thoughts from my anxiety disorder for many many years and that’s when everything kind of fell into place for me. It was like the curtains opened and i could see my mental illness and all its forms. The ocd, the obsessive cleaning, the guilt, the obsessive thoughts, everything i had ignored for so long. It was huge to have a diagnosis but heavy also. I was again written a script for medication which i could not bring myself to take. And a referral to a long term physciatrist specializing in behavior therapy. I will never forget the feeling i got when that physciatrist looked me in the eyes and apologized for what i had been through. Its been 2 weeks since my appointment and im still waiting for the other physciatrist appointment. My anxiety is still so extreme. Worrying constantly that my baby isn’t ok. I hold her just to make sure shes breathing. I check her temperature and.constantly think somethings not right. Night times the worst. My intrusive thoughts have been a daily occurrence but ive managed to get through them and bring myself back to reality. That was until tonight. I worried so much about having the intrusivethoughts i started having them. I tried talking to my partner which made them worse as she’s still struggling to make sense of it all and asked if id ever kill her. I just felt so crazy and guilty. Even though I have never even thought of harming her. So then i started thinking what if which then started to involve my baby to. It just made me feel like a crazy horrible monster. I couldn’t calm myself down. My partner fell asleep and my baby was stirring in her basinett and i just felt like i was never going to be happy or ok. I picked my phone up and started Googling information. Which eventually led me to this site. With each comment i read my mind become stronger and my inner voice louder. And i finally have stopped the intrusive thought cloud. I know i need sleep, a better diet and a huge amount more water intake. So that is my plan for tomorrow. Thankyou again to everyone who commented. Love to you all xx

  47. When I had my baby boy,everything was fine,I became tired and sleep deprived,shortly after I lost my mum in law,and I became alone,I was bathing my baby one day and the intrusive thoughts came,I felt really bad like a bad mum and I prayed to God to have him,I felt bad I could have such thought and guilty.i became anxious and sad,am thankful with the help of prayers and meditating on Gods word and affirming who I am in Christ am getting far much better

  48. Oh my god I cried when I read this, I’m not alone I feel such a relief!!! Thank you thank you thank you


  1. […] 3) Scary Thoughts – Most people think they’re in full control of their thoughts. I know I had no idea whatsoever that your mind could think a thought you didn’t want it to. Then I got introduced to intrusive thoughts, which are scary thoughts that enter your mind that you don’t want and that are very upsetting but that continue to plague you.  Often they start with the phrase “what if,” as in what if I did this terrible thing or what if that awful thing happened?  It’s like walking around having mini-nightmares all the time. Intrusive thoughts are a sign of postpartum anxiety and OCD, and NO, they do not mean you’ve turned into some horrible monster. For more on this, you might like Does Having Scary Thoughts Mean You’ll Act on Them? […]

  2. […] not.” I would say. What kind of monster would want to hurt their baby. I didn’t tell her that I thought about hurting my baby all the time. Every time I encountered a certain situation I would imagine that something awful […]