There is no real right time to dive into a conversation about intrusive thoughts when it comes to becoming a new mother and finding a so called ‘Your Best’ balancing act of healing You and giving to your child. For some new Moms these negative, crippling and even sometime horrifying thoughts don’t even rear their ugly faces. For other new moms they are daily, nagging and so repetitive that they can sometimes feel overwhelmingly real.
I feel like this topic, these feelings are ‘Motherhoods Dirty Little Secret’ that so many new moms sweep under the rug or desperately try to hide in fear of judgment.
Well, I want to talk about it. I went through it deeply and very hidden. I was very lucky to have my Mom as my sounding board, and for that I am grateful.
My daughter is 3 years old. I love her to bits. I can hand on heart say her screams, her tantrums, her snotty nose and demand for Peppa Pig are all just perfection in my eyes. To be fair, I thought she was perfect from the moment she was delivered and placed in my arms. I knew then and there she was going to rock my world in the most crazy, inspiring, pushed beyond my limits way and I was there for all of it.
Even to rewind back further, when we found out we were expecting I knew this was going to be the biggest challenge of our lives. Navigating work, schedules, how to feed, change a diaper…hell, even figuring out what age a child can stand in one of those bouncy things. I knew this was going to be confetti thrown into the air each day and we would figure it out.
What I didn’t really know, prepare for or even fully understand is that my own emotions were the one thing that were tossed the highest in the air like confetti. I had no tools at the given moment of how to suppress the feelings – or was I meant to suppress the feelings? I had daily, uninvited , sometimes out of control thoughts that made me feel insecure, paranoid and helpless as a mom. My thoughts were sometimes violent. I’m sorry if this scares you but I was scared. I never spoke up about it then as I didn’t want to be seen as ‘crazy’ or a bad mother.
After finding the right support to lean on and talk openly about it… my very own Mom. I was able to reflect back on moments that cut me so deeply as they were stuck inside me. My intrusive thoughts took to the top layer of my postpartum depression.
If you are suffering in silence and feel you can’t find the right voice at the moment due to your intrusive thoughts I can only promise you that it takes one person to lean on or you may need an army…but you need a sounding board. It is a part of your heeling process and perhaps your grieving process from unrelated to baby trauma that is built up inside.
Intrusive thoughts can be a result of childhood trauma, adult trauma, birth trauma, PTSD, NICU admission, and post natal depression. This is what I have learned through my journey. I am not a health care professional. I asked for guidance, I leaned on my Mom and I surrendered to the bottled up feelings and allowed the flood gates to open up so I could find some sort of relief. That was freeing! I had no idea how much that was needed.
I can share that my intrusive thoughts were thoughts. I knew they were never real, they lasted 1-3 minutes a few times a day. At first, I shook them off like I was shaking away an old etch-a-sketch drawing. My thoughts were about hurting Me because I didn’t think I was doing good enough or being enough. This is deep old etched trauma of mine from my childhood and early adulthood. It’s sadly an internal tattoo that I never wanted and now work hard to remove.
As I have said, I am not a health care provider. I am a Mom and I have experienced this and I want to gently share that if you are having intrusive thoughts, You are not alone, and you can get through this.
Part of childbirth recovery is restoring your body by learning how to breathe again. When I would have intrusive thoughts, my breathe instantly became shallow and stuck in my throat. I sat down, placed my hands on what used to be my hard pregnant belly and calmed myself with deep inhalations and exhalations. At first, it was so hard as I was so disconnected with my body but I found if intrusive thoughts were going to come at me daily I could find calmness in my breath to ease the pain. It helped! It grounded me. I found myself less jittery and in-tune with myself. If your thoughts are leading you to fear the staircase in your home or fall off of something. Stay away. Sit, breathe and ground your self. Feet firmly planted on the floor and take in something positive in the space you are sitting in.
You need to remember, and at the time I was constantly reminding myself… Your hormones have plummeted even further after having a child. Your internals have shifted all over the place and will take time to go back. You have 1000% changed. Take that in, You have 1000% changed and that is incredible. You brought a new life into the world and now have to care for. Its overwhelming and it’s ok to be overwhelmed. Try your best to not bottle up. Share how you are feeling. Write it down, lean on your person. You deserve to heal too! You deserve to find your best self through the process of finding your best self as a new mother. It takes time. It takes a lot of self love and never should you ever feel that you are alone.
Ashley is a mom, founder of the Bizzimumzi podcast, and Define London fitness studio. She is a former Broadway performer and celebrity trainer. Through Bizzimumzi Ashley has created a welcoming community to share the highs and lows of parenting, and inspire others to feel empowered in their journey. Ashely believes the most perfect picture of parenting is simply when you are trying your best. Bizzimumzi is a safe space that helps parents to inspire, educate and support each other to be the best parent they can be.
Contact Ashley: firstname.lastname@example.org