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Perfectionism and Parenting Don't Mix

the perfect motherNews flash: if you’re committed to personal perfection, parenting is going to be a rough ride.

Science has once again caught up with conventional wisdom. Motherlode shares a study that shows pregnant women who expect perfection from themselves are more prone to postpartum depression.

From the original report on the study:

Postpartum depression occurred substantially more often among women who had demanded perfection of themselves while pregnant than among those who had cited few or no signs of perfectionism. This association held after accounting for pregnant women’s feelings that others demanded perfection of them and for any depression symptoms that had been present during pregnancy.

Parenting isn’t perfect. Kids are full of the unexpected, and no one can be perfectly prepared for what they’ll lob at you. You’re going to lose things that are important to you as a mom: the baby’s socks, your temper, your personal time.

The moms in my circle of friends all seem to know that the more ready you are to roll with those punches, the happier you’ll be as a parent. It’s nice to see a scientific study that has our backs for once.

On the other hand, for pregnant women with perfectionist streaks, it can’t be exactly comforting to think that their own personalities predispose them to post-partum depression. What’s the message there? “You’re doing it wrong. Relax, or else!”

Not very soothing.

How have you taken the challenges of parenting in stride? Are you aiming for “perfect”, or is “good” enough for you?

Photo: x-ray-delta-one

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