Ann’s story (Hertfordshire)
After my daughter’s birth I suffered from severe antenatal obsessive compulsive disorder [OCD] and lived with a crippling fear that something terrible was going to happen to her.
At a time when I should have been enjoying being a new mum, I was gripped by panic and couldn’t even watch the news. I was so worried that my daughter would be the next Baby Peter or Madeleine McCann.
But my doctor didn’t even know maternal OCD existed. At that time, the stress of the situation was severely affecting my husband and parents as well, but none of us knew who else we could turn to.
I realised I wasn’t alone
Not being diagnosed properly meant I had to suffer for longer. It wasn’t until I started a cognitive behavioural therapy course that I slowly started to feel myself again.
I soon realised that I wasn’t alone. Being able to speak to someone who understood what I was going through was a real helping hand.
Need more awareness, better support
Because of my experience, I definitely believe better awareness of maternal OCD is needed. It would also help to have detailed literature available that explains the condition and highlights the symptoms people need to look out for. Advice and support should be readily available and accessible.
I’m positive that investing in maternal OCD education will help to achieve this and change people’s lives. I can’t express enough how important this is to so many people. But the sad thing is people will only realise this when it happens to them or someone close to them.