Parenting. Parenting is one of the most terrifying and vulnerable things you can do in this life. Don't get me wrong, it can certainly be one of the most rewarding as well, but there are a number of things about parenthood that no one can prepare you for. Things like sleep deprivation. As a new and breastfeeding mom, this was one of the number one difficulties I had with my first born. I didn't sleep well or often. Other things that people didn't even mention to me as an expecting mom were worrying all the time, not wanting to ask for help, self-doubt in your parenting abilities... the list goes on. However, there are even more serious aspects about parenthood that people do their best to avoid talking about when it comes to being a new parent.
Intrusive thoughts and general anxiety make this job much harder. Not everyone experiences these, but they're more common than you may think. We should be talking about them just as we talk about high blood pressure or gestational diabetes. Intrusive thoughts are unwanted, negative thoughts a parent may experience, often about harm to their baby. Some parents have thoughts of something bad happening to their baby like a car crash, so they may avoid traveling whenever they can. Others have thoughts about someone sexually abusing their baby, so the put on an extra layer of clothing and don't allow the baby to be alone with anyone other than themselves.
Intrusive thoughts alone are pretty common. They can also be a symptom and a perinatal mood and anxiety disorder (PMAD). If you are experiencing scary, unwanted thoughts, please know that you are not alone. I had these and still do on occasion. But they get better. If they are creating anxiety or changing your behaviors, please consider seeking a professional.
You are not alone!