Are You Overly Obsessed With Protecting Your Baby?

We all want to protect our babies. That's a good thing too. Babies are meant to be loved, cared for...
We all want to protect our babies. That's a good thing too. Babies are meant to be loved, cared for and protected. However, some new mothers take protection into overdrive, becoming overly obsessed about all the many things that may go wrong. It's okay to be protective and concerned, but it's not entirely normal to be worried day and night that something bad may happen to your baby. According to a study published online in the Journal of Psychiatric Research postpartum obsessive compulsive disorder affects around 2% to 9% of new mothers, with symptoms ranging from mild to severe. This sort of OCD may drive women to take extreme steps in order to prevent their worst baby nightmares from happening. Some moms may endlessly wash their baby to keep away germs - to the point where the baby develops sores from all the scrubbing. Some moms may lose sleep over SIDS fears or even refuse to hold their baby out of fear of dropping him. Kiara Timpano, an assistant psychology professor at University of Miami in Florida, notes that postpartum depression tends to get more attention, postpartum OCD can also be harmful to mother and child, "It's a very normal part of parenting to want to try to protect and keep your children safe. What happens with OCD is that natural vigilance is turned up way too high. Not only do moms with OCD worry excessively, they become so distressed by their thoughts that they try to control them through ritualistic or repetitive behaviors" Researchers are unsure of what triggers this rush of worry and the related OCD behaviors, but do note that women who have experienced anxiety disorders or OCD before giving birth are more vulnerable. This is all very understandable. Having a baby is not only an enormous life changing transition accompanied by huge hormonal and other physiological changes, but we're programmed to protect our babies. Almost all moms worry some. For example, I went through the whole SIDS fear and also had it pretty firmly planted in my mind that my son's dad couldn't protect our baby as well as I could. This is normal stuff. That said, too much worry is exhausting and detrimental to your baby and partner as well. Yes, bad things may happen, but put it into perspective and know that usually, bad things won't happen. Statistically, your baby is more likely to be okay than in trouble. One good idea is to take a class that helps teach you the warning signs of OCD and techniques to deal with the symptoms. Researchers note that moms who were enrolled in a class like this, vs. a simple regular childbirth education class had less anxiety and developed better coping skills for dealing with their "intrusive thoughts." The study notes that if you're already experiencing OCD a cognitive behavioral therapy course may help you. Because some women also have depression along with postpartum OCD, antidepressants may also help as well. In any case, if you feel super overwhelmed with fear and worry for your baby, talk to your health care providers and let them know that you’re overwhelmed – they’ll be able to offer you suggestions on how to relax or get help if it's really an OCD issue.

Tags: baby worries depression in new moms infant care ocd mom too worried about baby

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