You may be wondering, what does healing look like? I'm glad you asked! I knew I was healing when...I was able to complain about my children again. I know, so weird, but very true. When I was in the middle of OCD, I never spoke to my children in any sort of raised voice. I was very careful to always control my emotions around them (to ensure I didn't "snap"). I wouldn't say anything bad about them because in my mind, we were so lucky to have made it through another day! Part of my (and many other mom's) OCD was feeling like I couldn't complain about my children, because to me that meant I didn't love them and wished they were gone.
Now, please don't be upset. I don't sit around complaining about my children all the time. I obviously love them, I spent an entire year completely obsessed with them, but sometimes mama's gotta vent! I share my everyday frustrations, but keep my attitude about it light. Waking up to my son quizzing me about Pokémon while the 2 year old is ripping off his diaper and the baby just spit up in my hair is just a Monday for me. I post about it on Facebook and I'm not looking for anything other than another mom to say "been there" and just like that, I'll go and make breakfast that no one likes.
It is so weird, but when I realized I was okay having normal emotions and frustrations again, I also began to long for a third baby. The thought of going through OCD again scared the crap out of me, but I'd always wanted 3 children. Recovering meant me being able to have the strength to try again. Getting better was a journey, I was constantly trying to "rush through" it. I wanted to be better ASAP, but that's not how it worked. It took time, but once I regained my strength and personality, the need to "complete" my family came back.
I know some of you are in the trenches right now thinking "HELLL, NO!" I get that. I just want to show that the option is out there and it's the choice we made. Now, having another baby wasn't just a walk in the park. I had to put precautions in place. I changed medications to make sure I was taking ones that would be safe during pregnancy and throughout breastfeeding. I also kept up with my weekly therapy appointments (which at some point changed to a "need to go" basis). My friends and family also knew to keep their eyes peeled in case anything went wrong.
Since this is a safe space, I'll also share the fact that it kind of sucked going through a pregnancy after such a traumatic prior experience. For a solid year and a half, I felt like everyone in my life was handling me with "kid gloves." I felt like I had to ask for permission to have another baby and people weren't sure that I would be able to handle it. That was hard. That sucked. I felt like my friends weren't as excited when I got pregnant this time because they were scared for me. I literally had to tell them they couldn't share their worries about it with me. I needed them to support me and have faith in my ability to take control of my mental health if needed.
|Ella at Christmas|
Statistically, I was more likely to struggle again postpartum so I definitely kept my eyes peeled, it just never happened. I had high anxiety for about 4 days (not OCD) and I made the appropriate calls right away to get it taken care of. When postpartum anxiety happened to me the first time, I was completely uneducated about it and had no idea what to do. This time I had tons of resources to lean on in case I needed it.
I'm amazingly blessed, but I want to make one more thing clear: I've healed, but I still think weird shit sometimes. I know, *gasp*! So, healing doesn't mean you will never have another bad thought, it means you can file it into the "STFU" department of your brain and let it go. (I'm not trying to use offensive language, but honestly, I got to a point with OCD where I had to get mad at it. Getting mad and making it "back off" was the only way I could conquer it.)
I hope this has given women hope that more babies after postpartum OCD, anxiety, and depression IS possible. It takes work, but by this point you're used to fighting for what's important to you!
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