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Scary Thoughts After You Have Had Your Baby

Scary Thoughts After You Have Had Your Baby


Over half of all new mums - when asked - say that they have scary thoughts. That means that the real percentage is most likely even higher.

What if I drop my baby?

I think my baby would be better off without me?

What if something falls on him whilst he's sleeping.

What if ........ add your own what if here?

It might help you to know that you are not alone if you have thoughts like this. Scary thoughts are also known as intrisuve thoughts. They are common for most new mums and dads.

These thoughts are anxiety driven. Anxiety can be a helpful emotion - it's what keeps you and you baby safe because it is a normal response to a potential threat. It is normal for you to react and respond to perceived danger with anxiety. This is what we call the fight or flight response. Historically, we needed to grab our babies and run away from danger. We don't need to do this to the same extent now but the thoughts remain because our human instincts haven't changed that much.

When these thoughts become more frequent, anxiety levels increase and you feel more and more uncomfortable inside your own head. They can be a symptom or postnatal depression or anxiety and you should always talk to someone about them. Start with your health visitor or GP. If they aren't listening to you properly, contact an organisation who definitiely will such as Acacia Family Support or  PANDAS.

Scary thoughts are negative and unwanted and pop up uninvited and unexpected. They can come at any stage of motherhood. They can be in thought form or visual. They can be passive - something will happen to my baby if - or active - I might do something to harm my baby. They do not mean that you are going mad.

You might never have experienced thoughts like this before. They might be part of ongoing mental health issues that you have sought help for in the past. If so, ask for that support again.

Scary thoughts do not make you a bad mother. They will make you think you are. You are not. It is upsetting to have them because this is not how you imaged you, as a mother, to be. You are not mad, bad or dangerous. You are a mum, doing her best and experiencing a common manifestation of anxiety. Having a baby is a worrying time. We all worry.

You must not feel guilty either. Having these thoughts does not make you a terrible mother. They are only thoughts. They are not reality. The fact that you are aware of them means that you care deeply about your baby. They also mean that you do need to talk to someone about them.

If these thoughts are completely out of character for you or you know that they are irrational then this is a sign of acute anxiety. This could relate back to something that happened during your pregnancy or birth experience. It could be that you feel completely overwhelmed and don't have the right support around you. Can you talk to your family and friends about this and ask for more support?

These other things might help:

  • remember that the thoughts are not who you are, they are a symptom of something else.
  • they are only thoughts, not reality.
  • distract yourself by saying that these thoughts are ok, nothing bad is happening and you won't feel this way forever.
  • keep your brain busy with other things; play music, go for a walk, cook, call a friend. 
  • acknowledge that things are hard at the moment but that they can and will change.
  • know that you are not alone.
  • this is how you are now, not who you will always be.
  • remember how loved you are and what a good mum you are. Positive affirmations every day help to re-train your brain.

Although it feels hard to talk about scary thoughts, this helps. No-one is going to judge you and no-one is going to take your baby away. I didn't speak up when I felt like this because I was so very frightened. This made my journey to recovery much more difficult. I know now that there are people who would have listened and understood.

Please reach out to someone and get the help you need as you deserve to feel better.


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What our mums say...

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Absolutely love her classes

I returned to Mandy's pregnancy yoga classes following my second pregnancy as I absolutely loved her classes first time round and made some solid friendships. 
Mandy creates such a welcoming and safe environment. She is passionate about ensuring mums and mums to be have a support network alongside the yoga which is so vital. Her classes provide opportunities for open discussion around pregnancy/childbirth/motherhood and no question is out of bounds!
Following the birth of my daughter, I went on to attend baby massage and baby yoga classes, both of which I can thoroughly recommend. Baby massage has given me some really helpful techniques to manage baby's trapped wind and has also helped me deepen the bond with my little ones. Baby yoga was surprisingly more relaxing than I expected! I have made some amazing friendships that have continued post classes. I would definitely recommend Mandy's classes. She is so honest and puts her heart and soul into her classes. 


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Mandy is such a positive influence

I went to Mandy's pregnancy yoga class for a block of 8 lessons. I enjoyed it so much that I kept going for another two blocks. You may think you're going for yoga, but it's so much more. Mandy is such a positive influence on how you feel about your pregnancy, birth and parenting. I gained friends, lost any fear of giving birth and am looking forward to joining one of her baby classes with my newborn.


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SO glad I'd found Mandy and her classes

I had previously been to a few different yoga classes and found them a bit intense and not what I was looking for. I heard about Mandy's prenatal yoga classes through a friend and it sounded just what I was looking for. From the first session I was SO glad I'd found Mandy and her classes. They are way more than a yoga class - meditation, breathing exercises, relaxation and a chance to chat to other expectant mums and soak in Mandy's wisdom. The jammie dodgers are a welcome bonus to the class too! Since lockdown the classes were via zoom and this worked really well and I still had the same sense of connection and relaxation I got from the in person class. Between classes I also did Mandy's yoga sessions on her website which really helped me stay relaxed and helped my aches and pains. I also made sure I regularly listened to her audio relaxations which helped me stay calm and grounded in those final weeks. Above all of this, Mandy has been a wonderful support and checked in with me after the birth of my daughter and during our hospital stay - Mandy really does go above and beyond and puts out some brilliant online content. I can't thank her enough!


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I did want to say thank you. Your classes are fantastic - you explain everything so clearly and know which achy bits to work on. It has made me think that I should find a ‘normal’ (ie not postnatal) yoga class post-lockdown, but finding the time will be a big challenge! I also think that what you do for mums is great and I hope that you will be able to start your classes in person again soon. If I come across any mums to be or new mums I will certainly recommend you, although Arlo was a late (and very happy) addition to our family and most of the mums I know have kids at school now. That’s been another positive for me actually - being able to connect with people going through the baby/pregnancy stage as otherwise it would have been very easy to neglect that side of my life with the demands of having other young children. One of the unforeseen bonuses of Mandy's classes was that my baby always slept for three hours afterwards!


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Mandy understands that babies have their own minds...

Mandy was extremely friendly and made me feel at ease so quickly. Which was fantastic as I was nervous being the youngest mum in the room. It was good to introduce everybody and nice for Mandy to explain she understands babies have their own minds so if we wanted to we could feed or change nappies just simply watch.

And she really meant it. 

Having tea and cake at the end of each session made you stay and engage with the mums.  I loved how Mandy explained all the benefits of the different massages e.g. winds/sinuses  Oh and one final thing I loved the goody bag! Couldn’t rate the class highly enough.


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Mandy really encourages everyone

I first attended Mandy’s pregnancy yoga classes when I was pregnant with my first baby, the yoga helped hugely with my pregnancy aches and pains but most of all the support and encouragement from both Mandy and the rest of the group was amazing. Mandy really encourages everyone to engage with each other which wasn’t something that I had experienced in other groups I attended, it meant that I felt safe in asking that daft question or verbalising my fears! I then went on to attend baby massage and postnatal yoga with my first baby and again the support and ability to engage with other new moms was fantastic! I have recently had my second baby and attended pregnancy yoga, whilst I had less concerns and worries about pregnancy and birth the classes gave me a dedicated hour to have just for me...which was so important and you don’t get much time to yourself when you are running around after a toddler! I am now attending postnatal yoga and although this is having to be done via zoom Mandy has continued to provide a safe environment and an opportunity to engage with other Moms! Thank you Mandy you help me keep my sanity!


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Every class provides a relaxed and friendly environment

I first attended baby massage classes when my son was 3 months old, and then went on to do mum and baby yoga, and I’m on my 4th block of classes now (my son is now 9 months old!) Every class provides a relaxed and friendly environment, great yoga for post pregnancy, focussing on pelvic floor exercises and breathing, and a general feel good hour where you can forget about the outside world. The cake and tea are a bonus at the end of the classes and I have met some really lovely moms through attending. Mandy has a special gift at teaching and she never fails to create a relaxed environment for the babies, who all seem fixated by her presence. I am so glad I found her classes as Wednesdays are my favourite days of the week! Cannot recommend enough.


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I feel empowered as a pregnant woman and as a future mum

I signed up to the class to get to meet local expectant mums with the side benefit of a nice stretch.  I did meet some lovely local mums and found it so helpful to have a space where you could talk about any issues and get advice or support. What really surprised me was how much I valued the yoga and stretching but mostly the breathing exercises. It gave me a toolkit of things to do during pregnancy and also in Labour and has made me feel excited for the birth! Mandy’s affirmations during the rest time have really spoken to me and made me feel empowered as a pregnant woman and as a future mum.

 The class was so beneficial to me, to have a space just for me to enjoy my pregnancy and learn about the things I can do in birth to help it be a positive event. Thank you!