Being seven months pregnant, Renae waddles into my office. A word of mouth recommendation directed her to my office. Her body language speaks of alarming confusion.
Being only her second counseling session, again she sizes me up. "Can I trust you?" She enunciates each word.
"Yes" I reply.
"I mean if I tell you something awful you can't tell my husband, my family, or my church, and you can't write it in my file."
Intently, I gaze into her panicky eyes. "Renae I'm bound by the limits of confidentiality but I'll do whatever I can to help your situation. Let's talk about it and figure it out together."
Sighing, she stares intently at me for several seconds. I make it a point to close her file and stick it in my top desk drawer. Remaining silent, my eyes prompt her to continue.
"I'm just going to say it." She takes an intense gulp of air and begins to tell her story. "I'm crazy. I think my baby is the anti-Christ. I mean my thoughts say it to me, but I know it's not true, but this feeling won't go away and I don't know what to do. What is wrong with me? Please don't tell my husband. I don't want to be locked up in a hospital for crazy people. Please help me."
Putting on my calmest voice and speaking with purposeful confidence, I begin to address her fears. Her tears of relief ebb and flow throughout the session. Our therapeutic alliance is strengthened. Together, we prepare for her journey into unknown territory.
Two months later, a healthy infant is born and after three months of breast-feeding,
and the transition to bottle-feeding, medication is prescribed by a psychiatrist. The intrusive thoughts dissipate. Renae chooses not to reveal her episode of obsessive and ruminating thoughts to her family. It is her decision to make.
On her last visit to counseling, Renae gives me a picture of her angelic baby.
Melissa writes about the God and human connection and condition.
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