Postpartum Intrusive Thoughts: How To Overcome

Last Update on August 21, 2023 : Published on March 6, 2023
Postpartum Intrusive Thoughts

Postpartum is already a very difficult time for new parents. Imagine being troubled by intrusive thoughts that overtake your mind every time you think about your baby. Having a newborn take over your life and heart can be extremely overwhelming and exhausting.

You’re happy to have that little piece of your heart in your life; you’re so protective of them that you don’t want any harm to come to them. Now, the brain is notorious; it makes you think about all the things you’d never want to come true.

These intrusive thoughts often make you even more stressed and anxious about your baby’s safety and well-being. Postpartum intrusive thoughts are said to worsen postpartum depression and other postpartum conditions in mothers.

Today we’re going to learn about postpartum intrusive thoughts and how to stop postpartum intrusive thoughts.

Let’s get started…

What Are Intrusive Thoughts Postpartum?

Many new parents, especially mothers, have claimed that they have experienced postpartum intrusive thoughts. These intrusive thoughts only make the beginning of a new journey even more difficult than it already is.

Postpartum intrusive thoughts are those thoughts about your baby that cause a shiver through your spine. These thoughts are often terrifying because they are mostly about your baby being hurt.

For example, you’re standing on your balcony with your baby, and suddenly a thought pops up about your baby falling off the balcony. Or when you’re frying something, and what if hot oil drops on your baby or something awful happens to your baby?

Even writing about these thoughts gives me goosebumps; imagine a mother having to deal with such thoughts. Now, having postpartum intrusive thoughts doesn’t mean there is something wrong with you; it’s just your anxiety and worries playing with you.

Examples Of Postpartum Intrusive Thoughts

  • What if I drop my baby from the stairs?
  • What if I cut my baby with the kitchen knife?
  • What if I drown my baby while giving them a bath?
  • What if I forget my baby in the car?
  • What if I am not able to take good care of my baby?
  • What if I drop my baby from the balcony?
  • What if I suffocate my baby while sleeping?
  • What if my baby gets crushed under a truck?

What Causes Postpartum Intrusive Thoughts?

There is nothing that proves to be an exact cause of postpartum intrusive thoughts. Various experts and mental health professionals have been studying the postpartum period. They found the existence of postpartum intrusive thoughts but are unsure about what makes an individual experience such thoughts.

However, there is some evidence proving the cause of postpartum intrusive thoughts to be a personal history of anxiety or stress-related disorders. Experts also claim that psychological, environmental, and hormonal factors have a huge role to play when it comes to postpartum intrusive thoughts.

When a woman is already dealing with postpartum depression or has underlying anxiety, the chances of having intrusive thoughts increase. This is because you are already in a heightened state of mind which stimulates the fight or flight response making you feel even more anxious. Such a state of mind creates a perfect environment for developing intrusive thoughts.

Also read: Do Fathers Go Through Postpartum Depression Too?

How To Stop Postpartum Intrusive Thoughts?

It is important to know why you are experiencing postpartum intrusive thoughts. In most cases, they can occur because of some comorbid postpartum conditions like depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, etc.

In that case, you need to visit a mental health professional so that your postpartum conditions can be treated. Your doctor will examine your condition and either prescribe you clinical drugs like antidepressants, antianxiety or suggest you get psychotherapy.

The postpartum period is very sensitive, and postpartum intrusive thoughts can make this period hell for you. It is not certain for how long postpartum intrusive thoughts can last, from one month to 10 years; it depends on how you choose to handle these thoughts.

It’s important to get treated for your postpartum conditions because if your intrusive thoughts are a result of these conditions, they’ll automatically subside when these conditions are treated. However, there are a few things you can do on your own to stop postpartum intrusive thoughts;

  • Identify your intrusive thoughts: It’s important to know when your thoughts are genuine and which ones are intrusive. Learn to differentiate between the two and identify your intrusive thoughts.
  • Reassure for safety: Postpartum intrusive thoughts can make you anxious and worry about things that might not happen. To ease your anxiety, you can reassure that your baby is safe, check the locks, keep that baby away from danger, etc.
  • Talk to someone who makes you feel safe: It’s important to let your feelings, emotions, and thoughts out. Talk to someone you trust about your postpartum intrusive thoughts. It will surely help you.

A Healing Checklist can Help you Deal with Postpartum Intrusive Thoughts

That’s All Folks!

I hope you found this blog about postpartum intrusive thoughts helpful, interesting, and informative. Do share this blog with your friends and family, especially the new parent so that they are aware of what is happening to them and that it is normal and treatable.

Thanks for reading.

Take care and stay safe.

About The Author

Kirti Bhati
Kirti Bhati

I am an English literature (major) and psychology (minor) graduate from St. Bede’s College, Shimla. Postgraduate in Clinical psychology from IIS University, Jaipur. She has published a Research paper on Music therapy in the military population and Workplace stress in a national seminar conducted by Fortis hospital (gurugram) and international seminar conducted by St. Bede’s College, Shimla, Respectively. Authored a dissertation work on ‘effect of social media addiction on the mental and physical well-being in adolescents’ Currently working at calm sage as a writer.

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