Hi, my name is Carolina Robbins and I’m a licensed clinical social worker, perinatal mental health counselor and EMDR certified therapist. I have over 19 years experience working within social services, psychiatric hospitals, treatment centers, managed care companies, and private practice.
Recently, I co founded anchor perinatal wellness, an intensive outpatient program in Raleigh for pregnant or postpartum people experiencing a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder. I’m privileged to have co founded APWU with two other brilliant and amazing women, Veronica Kemeny and Roxanne Rosenberg.
Together, we are creating a system of care in North Carolina addressing the one in five women that may be experiencing a mental health episode during the perinatal period.
Today, I’m here to provide some basic information about intrusive thoughts that may occur during the perinatal period. The perinatal period is defined as the time from conception to 12 months postpartum, some research extends the postpartum period beyond 12 months.
Intrusive thoughts are repetitive thoughts or images that a person may be experiencing of them causing harm to themselves or their babies. Their thoughts are very distressing, frightening and upsetting and typically go against the beliefs and values that a person experiencing them has about themselves. These thoughts create shame and fear and often make people feel like they have to keep the intrusive thoughts a secret.
An example of an intrusive thought may be of a mother walking down the stairs with her baby, and a frightful image of them dropping the baby down the stairs or pushing their baby down the stairs. The intrusive thought briefly pops in and out of their mind and then causes tremendous distress. And it may leave that person feeling how could I even think that thought I would never want to cause harm to my baby.
After having intrusive thoughts it may cause avoidance behaviors and caring for their children in fear of the thoughts or images becoming true. Many mothers keep these thoughts private in fear consequences such as having child protective services involved. They are not delusional and have very low risk of being acted upon.
It’s important if you know someone experiencing these symptoms, to have them appropriately evaluated by perinatal mental health specialists to get them the help they need. To help find a perinatal train provider in your area, you can visit http://www.postpartum.net and use the provider directory to find a specialist or you can call the maternal mental health Hotline at 1-833-852-6262.
Carolina Robbins is a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) with a certification in perinatal mental health (PMH-C). She is one of the founders of Anchor Perinatal Wellness, a new perinatal mental health resource in Raleigh. She became EMDRIA certified in 2022 and integrates EMDR often into her perinatal work in addition to other therapy approaches. Carolina was born and raised in South Florida, fluently speaks Spanish and moved to the Triangle in 2018. She lives locally with her husband and two children. In her downtime, she enjoys the outdoors, cooking, reading and spending time with friends and family.
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