“It’s A Boy!”

Backpacking Europe was a transformative experience. We exited the arrival gate, in Zurich, Switzerland, immersed in a foreign culture. We needed to check-in at our hostel, but were unfamiliar with public transportation and unable to speak the language. From Switzerland, to Germany, to Italy, to Spain, to France, to Belgium and to the Netherlands, we learned a lot. The sights, the people, and the food was extraordinary! Too soon, it was time to head home.

We settled into our new apartment, jobs and routines awaiting the arrival of our baby boy, Jacks. Being the perfectionist, that I am, I read ALL the books, did ALL the research and followed ALL the rules. I was ready! Haha, nothing could have prepared me for “first-time” parenting. Before we knew it, he was here! As I held him in my arms, on his birthday, I promised to keep him safe, guide and support him and, most importantly, love him, unconditionally.

The first few weeks were a blur! Parenting was unbelievably rewarding, but posed its challenges too. Sleep deprivation, baby blues and breastfeeding difficulties, just to name a few. Similar to other first-time moms, I spent most of my days worrying. Is he breathing? What was that noise he just made? Am I an adequate parent for him? Am I following the right sleep schedule? Is he meeting the appropriate milestones? The questions were endless. Unfortunately, this was a perfect breeding ground for my OCD. Suddenly, I was spending hours on the internet, everyday, “researching” the answers to these questions. I was repeatedly checking on him throughout the night to ensure he was breathing. I was ritually praying, every night for 15-20 minutes, to prevent bad things from happening to him or us, as his parents. Unbeknownst to me, I was experiencing Perinatal OCD.

I began to weave all of these new compulsions, to combat the obsessions, into my daily routines. At the time, I thought this was just me and I had to figure out how to live with it, for the sake of myself and my family. If only I knew then, what I know now, I would have advocated for myself more.


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