Written by Amanda Kungle.
Amanda shares her story of postpartum OCD.
I survived a living nightmare. What was that nightmare, you ask? Pregnancy and becoming a mother…
Yes, one of life’s greatest blessings almost put me in the grave; not due to medical complications during pregnancy and delivery – to mental illness.
For the majority of my life, I have dealt with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). I got it under control enough and became pregnant with my first child. I was stuck in a weird place at work; I had just told them I was going to be looking for a job elsewhere and shortly after, I became pregnant.
As the months went by, I got intense morning (all day) sickness and things felt even more awkward at work. My hormones started to skyrocket and my OCD did too – so much so, that I couldn’t even drive to work anymore.
The hormones continued to increase and OCD continued to devour me. Then, she finally came. I was a first-time mommy and I was excited! Then the hormonal shift took me on a downward spiral (a deep darkness and intense anxiety).
I found a therapist that specializes in OCD. I had an intense breakdown and we decided I should try medication. It took a while, but Fluoxetine (think Prozac) and continuous therapy session and I felt great. I felt strong enough to try for another child – I just didn’t want to do it on medication.
Hello Baby #2
I conceived my second and my heart was full! Then those damn hormones kicked into high gear and I lost myself. I could barely function with morning sickness for the first half of my pregnancy… When I got better, the OCD got worse.
I begged to be induced at 38 weeks because I was losing my mind. The doctor said yes and the next day my water broke (thanks baby boy). He came into this world and completed our family.
Then I went back on my meds the same day. This time though, they couldn’t work fast enough. I had some extreme abdominal pain and hives from who knows what. I had gone to the doctors and the hospital. I didn’t get much help and on top of that. I couldn’t sleep.
Then I finally broke.
Something was sooo not right with me. I went to my mom’s and cried on the floor with my face in the carpet. We called the OB’s office and the doctor on call told me to go to the hospital – they have a good program there.
At the hospital, they asked me if I felt I would harm myself or someone else. I told them I was on the cusp of suicide and at that moment, everything changed. They had me take my clothes off, put on a gown, and be followed around by a police officer while tests were done.
They decided to admit me (I was pink-slipped) and I had no choice in the matter. I didn’t get much help, but I also didn’t kill myself in those couple days. I was given more meds and sent home. My son was only 9 days old at this point.
A few days later, I felt out of my mind even more – scared to death – like I was completely losing myself. It was a state of mind. It took days, medication, and a phone call to a friend in my support group that had been through the same thing, for me to get better.
For months, I deeply craved putting an end to my life – I didn’t want my soul to be tortured any longer. Good postpartum care is hard to find in my area. With the help of my therapist and PCP, I was put on 80 mg of Fluoxetine – which took several months to kick in.
But, I made it.
I wake up every day. I get to experience life with my family. The support of family, friends, a great therapist, and a support group as well as a high dose of medication got me to a manageable and good place.
You are not alone – in your joys and even in your suffering.
We can help each other by being honest about the challenges that come with pregnancy and motherhood.
Keep it 💯 and you’ll liberate other mom’s too!