I was thinking today about how OCD returned with a vengence when I was expecting Theo. I was delighted to be pregnant having worried that I’d left it all a bit late but everything was fine and dandy and it was physically a very easy 9 months – never sick or unwell. Mentally much tougher though – gradually realising that OCD had crept back.
Towards the end I went to an appointment with one of the midwives and she told me I should ask my GP about the eczema on my hands – this was of course dry and sore hands from excessive washing. I didn’t say anything to her but must’ve spoken to my GP as he arranged for a Community Psychiatric Nurse to call round. I had spent a lot of time during pregnancy repeatedly scouring books to reassure myself that I was doing the right things,particularly where food was concerned. I was working on Saturdays at the little bookshop in Kew Village and couldn’t bring myself to use the loo there so used to hang on until my lunch break- drive to my mum’s and go there.
By the end of the pregnancy I was restricting quite a lot of things in my diet. Theo arrived 2 weeks early after a hideously long labour with the use of all the obstetric cutlery drawer. We stayed in hospital for almost a week as he was taken to Special Care because of the trying birth and then developed jaundice and was put under a lamp. Strangely during the trauma of the birth I felt quite calm about the outcome – I wasn’t frightened that something might go wrong – as with most things,the anticipation of disaster is worse than the reality.
When we got home again the CPN visited and drove me mad with inane questions (‘how is your mood’ ?) – I was still in my dressing gown and in tears because I couldn’t cope with getting everything done properly – my routine was completely skewed and the added anxiety of making up bottles and sterilising was all too much. Many bottles were made and thrown away because I didn’t think I’d done them right or somehow contaminated them ( sadly breastfeeding was a complete disaster- not really supported in this at hospital along with the pressure of trying to get fluids into the baby to get rid of the jaundice)
My GP, the very wonderful Dr Pearson, was so kind and visited every day – he was also great when one day I’d walked in dog poo while taking Theo out in his pram and was stuck outside my front door not knowing what to do first – it sounds very silly,but I rang the surgery and asked to see him because I couldn’t deal with this anxiety.