WATCH | The 'scary thoughts' women who suffer severe post-natal depression have

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A young mother has bravely confessed to having post-natal depression so severe that, consumed by irrational anxiety, she feared her toddler might kill her baby, that strangers would snatch her from her pram, or that she would harm her own children.

She says she has spoken out because it hurt her to think about others going through the same thing, as you will see in the video above.

She's not alone in having these intrusive thoughts

Post-natal depression (PND) also known as postpartum depression (PPD) affects 40% of mothers in South Africa after the birth of their baby. Symptoms include insomnia, feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, inadequacy, despair and a fear of losing control. 

Must see: Maternal Mental Health: A Parent24/7 podcast series

In a book titled 'Good Moms Have Scary Thoughts' mothers share their "scary thoughts" and anyone who has suffered from PPD will recognise many of them: 

  • I struggle daily with letting the kids out of my sight, literally. I am consumed with who, where, what may or may not be happening while I am out of eyesight.
  • I thought if I bathed the baby on my own, there was a good chance that I’d leave her in there, and walk away.
  • The very first thought I had happened in the hospital a day after my son was born. Someone had brought a onesie in for him and my first scary thought was that it would be the last thing he ever wore.
  • What if Child Protective Service comes and steals my children because I am an unfit mom? Eventually it got so bad that I thought, what if I go away and never come back?
  • No one else could take care of the baby, if anyone tried, they were going to hurt him, everyone became the danger.
  • I think most of us have those thoughts of “omg I’m going to die and my baby will never know me.” It’s so, so scary.

Also read: How do you know if a mother is a danger to her children? Here are 8 signs

    The list of thoughts is long and exhausting, but also sadly very relatable to so many mothers. 

    If you find yourself having intrusive thoughts, reach out for help immediately. You are not alone, and help is available. 

    The stigma around this type of depression is slowly being erased, as more and more people speak out, including celebrities like Grammy Award winner Adele and tennis champ Serena Williams.

    Even South Africa's Helen Zille, Melanie Bala and Aisha Baker have struggled with this issue.

    Help is available 

    Consult a psychologist or psychiatrist who’ll make a diagnosis and recommend treatment. A psychiatrist can also prescribe medication if necessary.

    Join a support group. It can be therapeutic to talk about your experiences and meet other moms with the same issues.

    Consult organisations that distribute information about PND and make people aware of the condition. The better informed you are the easier it is to handle.

    Find immediate support by visiting: 

    The South African Depression and Anxiety Group ( or calling their Mental Health Line 011 234 4837. 

    Find a therapist near you on

    Share your experience of PPD with us, and we could publish your story. Anonymous contributions are always welcome.


    Share your stories and questions with us via email at Anonymous contributions are welcome.

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