This is something that is not talking about enough, or at all. It is something that many woman experience but feel worried or afraid to talk about. With every woman I work with I ask this question “are you having any scary thoughts?”
Many women are surprised at being asked the question. And many feel relieved when I tell them how common it is and it is just a scary thought and it is no cause for alarm. Scary thoughts are a result of anxiety. As moms, we worry about harm coming to our baby. We want to protect our babies and keep them safe. Scary thoughts occur when your brain takes that anxiety and you see a picture of your worst fear happening in your minds-eye – it is like a little video playing that you can see. And then you feel horrified and wonder what is wrong with you that you would have such a thought.
An example could be you are walking by the stairs with your baby and think, my gosh I need to be careful so I don’t fall down the stairs with the baby – and then you see yourself dropping the baby down the stairs. Another example could be you see a knife on the counter and think about needing to be safe with the knives, and then you see the baby being cut by the knife.
These scary thoughts are upsetting. And feel really bad. But they are just scary thoughts that are part of anxiety because you love your baby so much and want to do everything possible to keep them safe. Because you feel so bad and uncomfortable about having these scaring thoughts this is reassurance for you that you are not at risk of hurting your baby.
It is important to remind yourself it is just a scary thought to help so they don’t become more frequent or intense. If they are really upsetting and interfering in your day to day experience, talking with a therapist or your doctor is an important step to take.
You don’t need to suffer through this and help is available.