Kill the baby . Begging, pleading, terrified. Don’t go to work, don’t leave me alone. I think I’m going to kill the baby.
To my firstborn:
I had a very difficult pregnancy with you: I was poorly, we nearly lost you a few times, work treated me terribly and you arrived spectacularly with an equally difficult premature birth.
In the maternity ward after the birth midwives were helpfully advising all new mums to look for signs they wanted to harm the baby, daddies were told to check for those signs in the mummies too. This was useful, general advice it seems.
The same time a lady gave me a magazine where the mum wanted to kill her child and it was taken away from her. I was petrified. What if I get PND and harm you!
I was exhausted.
You were ill for a long while after you came home. I kept going to the Dr who said it was me, I had PND, I was imagining it – I wasn’t. You were finally admitted to hospital after 12 long weeks of being very poorly, constantly sick and no sleep. I was exhausted.
Finally home from hospital; I held you – I loved you so much it hurt. It was a normal day.
Suddenly overcome by intense fear; I was going to smash your head in on the floor – I didn’t want to but it felt like an urge that I would.
All these people telling me I must have PND, well now I must. Everything became a danger, I felt like I would drop, stab, suffocate you, my precious baby.
I got help straight away. I knew it wasn’t right.
Counselling uncovered how my experiences being brought up in domestic violence had manifested in me as over protection towards you, so much so I even classed myself as a danger. I had ‘Pure O’
I went back to work when you were 7 months -it was too soon. Left in nursery I started to fear other people would harm you; the nursery worker, your daddy. You can’t talk about these things with other people, how could I explain – I should have been signed off sick but I carried on incompetence with fear. There was no support at home. Daddy worked long hours, the family rarely came. Work was a toxic environment. I was exhausted, physically and emotionally.
My salvation was an online community of mums who’d experience similar and they accepted me -it’s more common than you think!
8 years on and I can write about it now, here, anonymous (whilst crying) but I still can’t talk about it. I can’t bring myself to. It’s something you will never know about me, you’ll just know that I hug and kiss you (probably too often) and love you more than anything.
‘It’ has diminished but I’m always fearful ‘it’ will return.
Looking back I think much of this could have been avoided with simple things: not having to fight your employer for your rights, more tact from healthcare workers, doctors taking new mums worries seriously and not just neurotic. I was suffering severe exhaustion and I’m certain more physical support and longer maternity leave would have helped immeasurably. OCD is often a symptom and addressing the often simple causes could be a big step to make sure this happens less often.
Categories: The Wall