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What are Intrusive thoughts?


Would you like to hear something that affects so many new mothers, that still isn’t really spoken about? 

Intrusive thoughts. 

They’re the distressing, weird, senseless, unwanted thoughts, images or urges that suddenly pop into your mind. They can be pretty scary when they first pop into your head. In my role as a health visitor, I’ve spoken to absolutely loads of new mums who have experienced them, so I know how common they are. Yet after my first daughter was born, and I had them, it was STILL scary! 

They can consist of:

Doubts: What if I hit my baby’s head on the stairs? 

Images: Suddenly imagining dropping the baby. 

Impulses: The urge to run away or crash your car. 

Thoughts: Thinking that the baby’s milk is contaminated, or that everything needs to be disinfected once more. 

Research has shown that up to 100% of mums had worrying thoughts about their baby being harmed, and 50% had worrying thoughts about themselves harming their baby in some way. 

These thoughts tend to decrease naturally over time, but they can be more common when new parents are under stress and have little support. 

So, if you’re experiencing them, what can help?

-Firstly knowing that they are common and meaningless. 

-Remember that you are not your thoughts- you are the one observing your thoughts. 

-Get them out of your head- talk to your partner, friend, family member, or health visitor. 

-Write them down if you prefer. 

-Remember that having a thought, is not the same as doing something. When an intrusive thought happens, tell yourself ‘That was interesting’ and try to move on from it. 

 

Sometimes intrusive thoughts can be a symptom of other mental health problems which need professional treatment, such as: 

-Depression

-Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

-Postnatal psychosis

If these thoughts are occurring more frequently, causing you distress, or affecting your ability to look after your baby, contact your Health Visitor, GP, or other health professional as soon as possible. Sending hugs x


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