I developed Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder during pregnancy. It’s sadly ironic that I used to tease certain relatives for having the same condition because I didn’t understand it. I know more about it now that I wish I did.
It started with me worrying about the doors being locked. I checked once, then a few times, then several more before I could finally relax. This morphed into me checking to make sure the windows were locked as well, even those we hadn’t opened. I would check then check again.
Once Choo-choo was born, I became obsessed with germs. They were all bad and needed to die. However, I was also completely overwhelmed with how much I had to do being a new mom and still having to clean the house. I was then obsessed about destroying germs while also living in a messy house. I had many paralyzing panic attacks about this.
Then I started the hand washing. Scrub and rinse, scrub and rinse. Did my arm touch the faucet? Re-wash. Did my hand bump the inside of the sink? Wash again. It became so bad, my hands cracked and bled and my arms literally looked and felt like scales. I had lizard arms for at least a year.
The worst of all, though, are the fears I have about passing germs on to Choo-choo. I constantly washed both his hands and mine, though this is getting a little better. I also never kiss him. It breaks my heart to not be able to give my child kisses, but the frightening thoughts I have what could happen keep me from changing this.
Instead, Choo-choo and I developed our own special “kisses” that he now does to Diesel and even the grandparents. We press our cheeks together with kissy sounds then rub noses. It’s really cute when he asks for them because sometimes he won’t say a word. He will just put a finger on one cheek then on the other then on his nose.
It was so very difficult for me to let Choo-choo wash his hands by himself in the sink. We used to hold him up to the sink and wash for him. Now that he’s bigger, he wants to do it “all by myself.” Diesel’s family actually started it first, which never bothered me. Even if it did, there wasn’t much I could do about it. But when Diesel let Choo-choo wash his hands in our sink while standing on his little stepstool, I panicked.
I have now adjusted to it as well as I can hope for the moment. I clean the sink before Choo-choo’s every hand washing. Even when I know for certain the sink is clean, I cannot help but soap it down yet again.
Maybe I will be able to teach myself to relax enough to not worry so much. Hopefully. Until then, I take deep breaths and say to myself, “It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay.” If this helps, I know I’m good. If this doesn’t help, I clean or re-wash or do whatever I need to, indulging my OCD for the moment, knowing that it’s won this time but it won’t win every time.