What you need to know about OCD and having kids
As a therapist, I have seen many individuals with OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) and anxiety struggle with the decision of whether or not to have children. For some, the fear of passing on their symptoms to their children is reason enough to reconsider. For others, the thought of managing OCD and having kids at the same time can seem impossible. If you are dealing with these fears and anxieties, I want you to know that you are not alone.
I get it, it was hard for me too
After I had my son, I experienced postpartum OCD and anxiety that forced me to reconsider my family plan. I ultimately made the decision that was best for myself and for my family, which was to not have another child. This decision shook me for years until I finally learned some tools to help me get through. And here I am, 5 years later, entirely at ease and peace with my decision. It is completely normal to have these concerns, and there are steps you can take to feel more empowered in your decision.
Understanding OCD can help
First, it is important to understand that OCD is a complex and multi-dimensional disorder. Environmental factors and life experiences also play a role. Therefore, just because you have OCD does not mean that your child will automatically develop OCD as well. You may even be protecting them against it, to some degree, by engaging in this work and trying to implement recovery strategies in your own life.
It is also important to remember that OCD is a manageable disorder. With the right treatment and support, individuals with OCD can lead fulfilling lives and be successful parents. Seeking treatment before having children or expanding your family can be incredibly helpful. This can include therapy, medication, or a combination of both.
You may just need support sometimes, we all do
When it comes to parenting with OCD, it is important to be aware of your triggers and stressors. Develop a plan with your therapist, ideally, to identify ways of reducing safety behaviors and rituals while also encouraging exposures that are challenging but manageable. It is also helpful to have a support system in place, whether that be a partner, family member, or therapist. Remember, it is okay to ask for help when you need it.
Find a network to learn from and lean on
If you are struggling with the decision of whether or not to have children due to your OCD, it can be helpful to talk to others who have gone through a similar experience. Online support groups can provide you with a community of individuals who understand what you are going through. Research overwhelmingly supports the fact that support groups are helpful for moms in particular and can help reduce things like re-hospitalization rates and increase quality of life.
You are not alone in this struggle
With that said, having OCD does not mean that you cannot have children or expand your family. With the right treatment, support, and self-care, individuals with OCD can lead successful and fulfilling lives as parents. It is important to remember that you are not alone and to seek help if you are struggling with these anxieties and fears.
I’m rooting you on SO dang hard.
PS: You can also check out my special bonus training on “When Having Kids is Scary” – CLICK HERE for an instant download and take a look at my other workshops while you’re at it.
I’m Jenna Overbaugh, a licensed therapist who’s been working with people who have OCD/anxiety since 2008. I am all about helping you get your life back so OCD and fear no longer keep you feeling so small. Follow along for tons of resources, guidance, and encouragement to do ALL THE HARD THINGS!
Website: www.jennaoverbaughlpc.com (free newsletter + workshops)
Disclaimer: Please note that the information/resources offered on this podcast is not, nor is it intended to be, therapy or a replacement for therapy. It does not constitute a client/therapist relationship. Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/jennaoverbaugh/support
In this episode, I'm joined by Hannah, OCD warrior and advocate as well as mom to 3 kids. We talk about her OCD symptoms that started after her third child that involved harm intrusive thoughts, difficulty trusting herself, and more. We also discuss …
- Her experience with exposure and response prevention (ERP)
- How she has made ERP a lifestyle as a stay at home mom with 3 kids
- Her advice and words of hope for others
🚧 Take the FREE quiz – ”What's Your OCD/Anxiety Recovery Roadblock?”: https://www.jennaoverbaughlpc.com/recovery-roadblock
👏 Get your free 40 minute video on ”5 Must Know Strategies for Handling Anxiety and Intrusive Thoughts”: https://jennaoverbaughlpc.com/strategies
💪 Overcome OCD/anxiety once and for all – with or without a therapist – with The OCD and Anxiety Recovery Blueprint: https://jennaoverbaughlpc.com/blueprint
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Copyright 2023 Jenna Overbaugh, LLC
Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/jennaoverbaugh/support
This post is for informational purposes only and may not be the best fit for you and your personal situation. It shall not be construed as mental health or medical advice. The information and education provided here is not intended or implied to supplement or replace professional advice of your own professional mental health or medical treatment, advice, and/or diagnosis. Always check with your own physician or medical or mental health professional before trying or implementing any information read here.
© 2023 Jenna Overbaugh, LLC