Every time her husband left the house, Shoshana Bennett, Ph.D., a California-based mother, perinatal psychologist and author, felt frozen by fear. She didn't know how she and her newborn baby would survive until he got home.
"Every time I looked at my beautiful baby, I would envision harming her in some way, and it would horrify me that as her mother, I would be thinking and also picturing these awful things," she said.
New images of her daughter getting strangled by the vacuum cord, or getting her hand caught in the garbage disposal, or being cooked in the microwave, or being thrown into the fireplace all flooded Bennett's mind every 30 seconds. But these events never happened, nor did she want them to happen.
"I was the safest mother on the block but didn't realize it," she said.
Bennett had panic attacks, felt nauseous and couldn't sleep. She figured she wasn't meant to be a mom. It got to a point where she felt suicidal.
While she didn't know it at the time due to a lack of medical providers and conversations about the condition, Bennett was struggling with postpartum obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
While postpartum OCD