Peta's story

I thought February 26th 2011 was the worst day of my life, at 11.5 weeks pregnant I lost my baby, I remember laying on the bed at the hospital waiting for someone to do my ultrasound, it felt like the bed had no mattress, just cold hard steel, it's like my thoughts were preparing me for the onslaught.......there is no heart beat!

What followed that day in hospital is what nightmares are made of and I now know that’s where my story began.

After this I become obsessed with getting pregnant again and I was by April. I was so happy but also so anxious that something bad was going to happen, the whole way through my pregnancy at every little twitch, poke or cramp I thought: it’s happening again. The anxiety was crippling. But then on Jan 16 2012 we welcomed our beautiful baby girl Leila and I was the happiest person on earth. 2 days later it all came crashing down. YES ONLY 2 days, the first 2 days were perfect, she was perfect, good sleeper, good eater, not whingey at all. On the 3rd night I had her up on the hospital bed just staring at her perfection when suddenly it’s like a switch went off in my head and everything turned to horror.

It started with one simple thought but they didn’t stop, the thought of harming or harm coming to my child, I started crying and didn’t stop. I knew my thoughts were wrong and I knew I would never harm my baby so how could I be having these horrible thoughts. The next 24 hours were terrible I kept it hidden from all my visitors and put on a happy face until my husband came in that afternoon. I totally broke down, that night I told a nurse how I was feeling which at the time felt like the worst thing I could have done. I was made to feel horrible and had nurses staring at me, judging me, I even caught them whispering about me at the nurses station, they made me feel like the crazy lady in room 47.

A psychiatrist came and saw me and put me on some medication which turned out to be wrongly prescribed, it’s like they had never seen this before, I couldn’t get out of the hospital fast enough and thought once I got home I would be ok, I was so wrong!

These obsessive thoughts consumed my mind 24/7, dancing around my head like a ballerina never stopping for breath.

The next week I was scared to be left alone with my baby and had thoughts of just ending my misery, thoughts of just jumping off the cliff we lived on down to the ocean below into the calming waves, anything to get away from the torment within my mind. I truly believed that my family and new baby would be better off without me. But I didn’t really want to go, I wanted everything to be perfect, the way it ‘supposed’ to be. I would hide knives and objects in the house that I thought could harm Leila, my thoughts continued to grow and get more outrageous by the minute.

After another week had past I was a complete mess, I was crying all day every day, was exhausted yet couldn’t sleep and at this point thought I was going crazy. With advice from my family I ended up admitting myself into the mother baby unit at Saint John of god psychiatric hospital in Sydney, they saved my life!! Within hours of being there I was diagnosed with post natal OCD, something I had never heard of, I mean I'd heard of regular OCD but never post natal OCD. It was explained to me that I wasn’t going crazy as I thought I was, and that I had no control over these hideous thoughts. I finally had some answers and could see a tiny flicker of light at the end of a very dark tunnel. I read everything I could about my condition and it helped me understand my illness for what it was.

I was never going to harm my beautiful baby girl, I knew that these thoughts were wrong, I just didn’t know why I was having them.

11 days I was there working with the best team of post natal doctors and psychiatrists in Australia, they got me on the right medication, I had intense counselling and left with the knowledge that everything was going to be ok. I came home with a referral to a fantastic psychologist, I’m now off my medications and doing well, they did explain me to me that my rare post natal OCD is something that will never truly leave me for good but have given me the tools and knowledge I need to fight, I can only imagine the horror if I didn’t “just speak up” Post natal OCD can quickly turn into psychosis, it's so important to seek help promptly.

‘JUST SPEAK UP” YOU ARE NOT WEAK YOU ARE BRAVE! The sooner you ask for help the sooner you can feel better.

Thank you


Sam Frost