Postpartum OCD & Intrusive Thoughts: When The Wheels Come Off

Postpartum OCD & Intrusive Thoughts: When the Wheels Come Off

I haven’t had postpartum OCD since 2001/02. The further away you get from these experiences, I’m very happy to say, the easier it gets. I rarely if ever feel the heavy heart. I don’t look over my shoulder wondering when the hell is going to show up again. I still suffer from anxiety, but for me it’s a much lower level of hell than postpartum OCD.

Today, though, I read a post that brought me back. I felt immense sadness reading it, only because for a moment I could feel what it felt like in the midst of postpartum OCD. The fear. Those intrusive thoughts, which are one of the worst things your brain can serve up.

I never knew the wheels could fall off of my brain. It felt like I was swerving wildly through space and I couldn’t stop myself and I knew any minute I’d hit something sharp and lethal and my whole life would be over.

Jen at Tranquilmama has shared her own story of postpartum OCD this week: Horror Show in My Mind: Intrusive Thoughts. I wanted to link to it here, for those of you who may be looking to find someone else who has been through what you have. Or are right this moment. Please know that it may be a trigger for some of you.

Jen’s story has a happy ending. Mine did too. Postpartum OCD and the scary, awful intrusive thoughts that accompany it are temporary and treatable with professional help. You don’t have to accept living with these thoughts in your head.

If you’re wondering whether you have the symptoms of postpartum OCD or anxiety, click the link and scroll down to the second half of the post. You might also find these stories helpful:

The Endless What-Ifs of Postpartum Anxiety

Getting Postpartum Anxiety To Back Off

Does Having Scary Thoughts Mean You’ll Act on Them?

On What She Wishes Someone Had Told Her About Postpartum Anxiety

A Toolkit for Postpartum Anxiety & Panic Symptoms

A Therapist Shares Her Personal Experience with Postpartum OCD

Postpartum Anxiety & Intrusive Thoughts: One Mom’s Story

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. Thank you for being such a champion in bringing the reality and truth of intrusive thoughts to light. I suffered from severe PPD/A following the birth of my son 2 1/2 years ago. I sought help from my midwife and was put on a waiting list for an appt that would be about one months wait. Unfortunately I ended up hospitalized before ever making it to that appt. Even more tragicly, when I told my Dr about the intrusive thoughts I was experiencing, I was placed on a psychiatric hold and not allowed to have visits with my children. After 10 days in the hospital I was still not medicated but my insurance would no longer pay so I was sent home under the supervision of a relative and child protective services were notified. I temporarily lost custody of my children despite the fact that I had made it very clear that the thoughts were very scary to me, hence why I was seeking treatment, and I had no intention of harming myself nor my children. The paperwork that went to the court qouted the psychiatrist stating that they (the doctors) could not be sure that if I had more of the thoughts my children would be safe in my care. This was coming from a psychiatrist at a top ranking medical center/neuropsychiatric hospital! How very sad is that! Thankfuly my midwife refered me to therapist who specializes in PPD/A and my therapist testified on my behalf in court. I won custody of my children after a 4 month battle with a system that was reactionary and punitive. I pray no other Moms have to experience the ugly face of ignorance when trying to get treatment for a very treatable condition. I am still struggling in my recovery but am surrounded with the support of proffessionals, friends and family who “get it” and have been there for me no matter how dark and scary my thoughts have become. The stronger and healthier I become the less of a grip the intrusive thoughts have and the less overwhelmed I am by them the betterbI can mother ny children.

    • Thank you for sharing. I was looking for inspiring personal stories to help my sister who has OCD and had it managed until she gave birth 7 days ago. She luckily knew enough to get help and is in the hospital, but sadly her boyfriend/father of the child did not understand and was so scared by her intrusive thoughts he stated that he will not only not let her see her child, but will not let us her family see the child.


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