Do you strive for the best and are not satisfied until perfection?
Yes, you know who you are!
Today let’s talk about why it's important to let go of that
perfectionism in motherhood.
Your life was in perfect order before your delivery. You
had it all together. You knew what to expect and planned on everything!
But…babies cannot do what you are expecting them to do. The balance you
have maintained in your life may not remain after the delivery of your
baby. If you have perfectionism you may find this time challenging.
Perfectionism traits have increased in the last 50 years!
What is perfectionism?
Perfectionism is often defined as the need to be or appear to be
Well, you may think...I just have high standards-....what’s wrong with that?
Yes, at low levels perfectionism is considered to be a positive attribute
and adaptive…some may call these high achievers.
But perfectionism at high levels is characterized by the
setting of high or unrealistic standards with extreme self-critical
evaluations and can lead to more harm than good.
Not sure if you are a perfectionist? Let’s find out.
If you checked off any of these boxes, you may be a perfectionist.
Being aware of your perfectionism tendency is important
because with the changes of motherhood this can leave you feeling stressed,
anxious and disappointed.
TRUE! Pregnancy, delivery and postpartum period comes
with its unique stressors. Suddenly your life that was in control takes a
U-turn. In this chaos, your perfectionism could lead to postpartum
depression. Self-criticism and concerns over mistakes are a major problem in
this type of personality trait that can lead to postpartum depression or
anxiety. Remember 1 out of 5 women experience postpartum
In a study that compared women with postpartum depression and women without
they found that 34% reported perfectionist traits in the group who
had postpartum depression and only 11% reported perfection traits
in the group who did not have postpartum depression.
The odds of having postpartum depression were highest if you had high
perfectionism and especially if you were very concerned about mistakes.
Takeaway is that if you have high standards and expectations, are
more concerned over mistakes, and have increased doubt you are more likely
to suffer from postpartum depression.
What causes these perfectionist tendencies?
Many factors can lead to whether perfectionism develops. A few include:
Rigid, high parental expectations
Highly critical, shaming, or abusive parents
Excessive praise for your achievements
Low self-esteem or feeling inadequate
Believing your self-worth is determined by your achievements
Efforts to feel in control
Cultural and societal expectations
Basically, perfectionism traits are all learned behaviors that can be
The perfect mother does not exist…despite what you
may see on social media, television and movies. This societal expectation
adds fuel to the flame and it plays a big role in why mothers don’t seek
support and help when they need it.
You don’t have to keep it together or pretend you have it
Motherhood, especially the first year, is messy, stressful and tiring.
Motherhood can also be fun, joyous, and adventurous!
Just give yourself grace when you make mistakes.
Now stay to yourself: “I’m doing my best and that’s all I can ask
Acceptance! Try to manage the best you can but don’t
push yourself more than your capabilities. Every new mother passes through
this situation. You don’t have to exhaust yourself. It will affect your
relationship with your child as well as your husband. All you have to do is
take a deep breath, release all the stress and pressure you have built
inside yourself and live the moment. These moments will not come again.
Other steps you can take to lessen your perfectionism:
Awareness: just being aware of your thoughts and behaviors is the
first BIG part.
Understanding what your core driver toward perfectionism is
See the big picture
Set realistic, reachable goals
Break up overwhelming tasks into small steps if you find yourself
Acknowledge that everyone makes mistakes
Recognize mistakes can present learning opportunities
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT ) and mindfulness techniques are
effective at helping to lesson perfectionism tendencies.
You are imperfectly perfect! And that’s okay! We are all
a work in progress in this life journey and mistakes are our opportunities
to learn and grow. Especially important to realize this as you grow into
your role of motherhood!
If you realize you have some perfectionist tendencies, be aware of how it
can impact your emotional wellness and be proactive to address this. Talk
to a mental health specialist if you need more directed support.
As always you can make a consultation with MaternalWell pregnancy and
postpartum mental health specialists or for any general questions reach out
to our text support.