Free shipping on all orders over $75🎄

My first child was born 3 weeks after my 23rd birthday. He was perfect and the joy I felt when I first held him in my arms made my heart swell. I knew instantly that I would do anything for him and that I would do whatever it took to give him the best life possible. In that moment I never would have imagined the thoughts that would soon enter my mind.

The first few months were hard as a single mom. A new career, not enough money and definitely not enough sleep created long days, but nothing that I couldn’t handle. Until one day, they started.

At first they were quick thoughts that came out of nowhere. I was scared and I was ashamed. Soon, these intrusive thoughts I was having started to take over my days. I would be giving him a bath, laughing and smiling, when suddenly I would have a crippling fear that I would drown him. What if I did? I certainly didn’t want to, but what if it happened?

I would be making dinner, singing away to the radio, when images of cutting him entered my mind. I had to put away knives and scissors and move things out of easy reach. I was terrified that I would hurt him, or worse. It’s difficult to write that even today, 10 years later.

These thoughts and images started to impact every part of my day. One morning I found myself at the top of the stairs of my apartment complex, crying and clutching my son because I was terrified I would throw him down. I couldn’t face it, I was paralyzed with fear. I went back into my apartment and called in sick to work. I couldn’t risk hurting him and I didn’t trust myself to even carry him to my car.

I had never heard of other people having this issue and I was afraid of speaking up. It become a dark secret that started to eat away at my soul. What if they took him away from me? What if people found out the truth? I knew that these thoughts were horrible and I felt so much shame for them entering my mind. I was terrified of hurting him but I was also terrified of leaving him; of not being there to protect him. I fell down into a hole of depression, with each week getting worse than the previous.

Then one day I hit my breaking point. I found myself on the floor of my living room, sobbing uncontrollably. I couldn’t live like that anymore. I didn’t want to face another thought, another crying spell, another day spending all of my energy just trying to make it through. I need rest, sleep, peace – I need it to end.

That was that day that I planned to kill myself. I just couldn’t do it anymore. I went through each scenario trying to determine which method would be best. I looked over at my son on the floor next to me; screaming along with my audible cries. What would happen to him once I was gone? Would he be sent out of state to live with a father he didn’t know? Would he be taken care of? What type of life would he be left to live?

In that moment, I decided that he would have to leave this world with me. I couldn’t, wouldn’t, leave him to an unknown fate.

I can’t tell you how it feels to look back on a day and to say, “that was the day I planned to kill myself and my infant son.” My heart breaks and tears still fall when I realize what could have happened. But, thankfully, that day instead became my turning point.

I suddenly felt the fog lift. I had immediate, complete clarity and I was shocked at the thoughts that were circulating in my mind. I crawled to the phone book, found the number of a suicide hotline and made the call.

That is the day that turned my life around. I found a doctor, I got on medication, I moved in with my mom and my life once again was filled with joy. I went from utter hopelessness to joy in a matter of months.

Until this happened, I had never heard of postpartum OCD. I knew what postpartum depression was, but intrusive thoughts were never part of the description. In truth, it took a while for me to even reveal these thoughts to my therapist. I felt so much shame that it was easier to only confess the depression. Once I learned more about postpartum OCD and postpartum depression, I felt a weight lift. I wasn’t alone, I wasn’t going to hurt my child, he wasn’t going to be taken away, and I would move past this.

I’ve kept this story hidden from nearly everyone, but I know that the only way to help others is to have these types of difficult conversations. I had never heard about postpartum OCD because no one around me had ever talked about it. If I had known what is was, if I would have been able to recognize the signs, I likely never would have had that day on my living room floor. I am well aware of what could have happened and I will be eternally thankful for the unexplained gift of clarity that was given to me. A gift that I pray is given to others.

Postpartum OCD is estimated to affect 3-5% of woman. Research has shown that mothers with postpartum OCD are aware of the bizarre nature of their thoughts and are at an extremely low risk of acting on them. For more information visit:

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Amy Bellows

Amy Bellows, Ph.D. is a freelance writer living in the Midwest with her husband and their 3 children. She currently juggles the roles of wife, mom, step-mom, and a full-time corporate career while squeezing in writing between hockey practices and late night feedings. You can find her at or on Twitter.

As Long as It Beats, a Grieving Heart Lives with the Pain of Loss

In: Grief, Loss
Woman walking through brown field with hand outstreatched

Life churns forward in a somewhat continued and steady momentum that I find I must consistently adjust my pace to keep up with. There isn’t tolerance in life for the way grief seems to ache for pause. In the silence of this space, my body feels crushed under the weight. I sit alone with my thoughts often. I’ve made peace with the solitude that surges in the aftermath of death. Maybe not peace. Perhaps it’s surrender. After all, which one of us doesn’t fall prey to the helplessness of mortality? I can no longer count on one hand those I’ve...

Keep Reading

6 Things You Can Do Now to Help Kids Remember Their Grandparents

In: Grief, Living, Loss, Motherhood
Grandfather dances with granddaughter in kitchen

A month ago, my mom unexpectedly passed away. She was a vibrant 62-year-old grandma to my 4-year-old son who regularly exercised and ate healthy. Sure, she had some health scares—breast cancer and two previous brain aneurysms that had been operated on successfully—but we never expected her to never come home after her second surgery on a brain aneurysm. It has been devastating, to say the least, and as I comb through pictures and videos, I have gathered some tips for other parents of young kids to do right now in case the unexpected happens, and you’re left scrambling to never...

Keep Reading

I’m Not Ready for Life Without My Mom

In: Grief, Loss
Woman sad sitting by a window looking out

I’m not ready. Not ready for time to just keep trudging forward without her. Four years have gone by, and I still think about her every day. When that awful third day of October rules around every year it’s like a tidal wave comes and sweeps me up tossing me this way and that. The rest of the year I can bob up and down with the occasional waves of grief. But the week before October 3rd the waves pick up, and I can’t see over the crest of one before the next is already upon me. I find myself...

Keep Reading

Since She Left

In: Grief, Loss
Older, color photo of mother and young daughter blowing out birthday candles

It’s been 14 years since she left. It’s like a lifetime ago and yesterday at the same time. The loss of my mother was indescribable. We never had a traditional relationship. As I grew older, our roles were very much reversed, but even still, missing one’s mother (for lack of a better word) is hard . . . plain and simple. Sometimes I wonder, what is it exactly that I miss? Of course, I miss talking to her. I miss how she drove me crazy. I miss her baking. I miss hearing about her newest needlepoint. I miss when she...

Keep Reading

I Carried You for Just 17 Weeks but I’ll Hold You in My Heart Forever

In: Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Ultrasound image of baby in second trimester

September 11 will be a date that is forever etched in my heart, not only because of its historical significance but because it’s the day I saw your lifeless little body on the ultrasound screen. I couldn’t hold back the sobs. My chest suddenly felt heavier than a ton of bricks. I’ve been here before. I’ve had losses, but none this late. I didn’t feel their movements or hear so many strong heartbeats at my checkups. Your siblings felt you move and squealed with utter excitement. I want to wake from this nightmare, but it seems it’s my new reality....

Keep Reading

To the Woman Longing to Become a Mother

In: Faith, Grief, Motherhood
Woman looking at pregnancy test with hand on her head and sad expression

To the woman who is struggling with infertility. To the woman who is staring at another pregnancy test with your flashlight or holding it up in the light, praying so hard that there will be even the faintest line. To the woman whose period showed up right on time. To the woman who is just ready to quit. I don’t know the details of your story. I don’t know what doctors have told you. I don’t know how long you have been trying. I don’t know how many tears you have shed. I don’t know if you have lost a...

Keep Reading

I Was There to Walk My Mother to Heaven

In: Faith, Grief, Loss
Hand holding older woman's hand

I prayed to see my momma die. Please don’t click away yet or judge me harshly after five seconds. I prayed to see, to experience, to be in the room, to be a part of every last millisecond of my momma’s final days, final hours, and final moments here on Earth. You see, as a wife of a military man, I have always lived away from my family. I have missed many birthdays, celebrations, dinners, and important things. But my heart couldn’t miss this important moment. I live 12 hours away from the room in the house where my momma...

Keep Reading

To the Loss Mom Whose Tears Keep Her Company Tonight

In: Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Sad woman sitting up in bed with head in hands

Three pregnancies in one year. Three first trimesters. Three moments of celebration . . . until they turned to moments of sorrow. I’m sure every woman who experiences pregnancy loss has the thought, “I never thought this would happen to me.” I truly never thought this would happen to me. I have two healthy boys—conceived easily, uncomplicated pregnancies, by-the-book deliveries. We even thought we were done having kids . . . until the pregnancy test was positive. That’s when my heart opened up to more children, and I realized I ached to carry more life. Raise more littles. Nurse more babies....

Keep Reading

Cowgirls Don’t Cry Unless the Horse They Loved Is Gone

In: Grief, Kids, Loss
Little girls Toy Story Jessie costume, color photo

The knee of my pants is wet and dirty. My yellow ring lays by the sink—it’s been my favorite ring for months. I bought it to match Bigfoot’s halter and the sunflowers by his pasture. Bigfoot is my daughter’s pony, and I loved him the most. The afternoon is so sunny. His hooves make the same calming rhythm I’ve come to love as I walk him out back. A strong wind blows through the barn. A stall labeled “Bigfoot,” adorned with a sunflower, hangs open and I feel sick. I kneel down by his side as he munches the grass....

Keep Reading

Supporting the Grievers in the Aftermath of Suicide

In: Grief, Living, Loss
Two people walking down tunnel with arms around each other

She was a devoted mother of two boys with her husband of 26 years.  With him, she owned a metallurgy company, ran a household, and in her spare time, produced tons of crafts by hand, most of which she sold. When her younger son was diagnosed with autism, she read everything she could find on the subject, volunteered, advocated for the autism community, and developed programs for autistic children. She spoke at the National Autism Conference and was co-authoring a book to help parents navigate an autism diagnosis. We marveled at her energy and enthusiasm. She was at every family...

Keep Reading