‘Super-mums’ who are too preoccupied with being the perfect parent may be more likely to suffer from depression, researchers say.
Mothers who feel pressured to calm their crying babies or misbehaving offspring in public could be putting themselves under undue stress, leaving them more susceptible to mental health problems.
The University of Michigan study revealed some mothers are too concerned about whether other people think they are a good enough mother. This can lead to them feeling unable to ask for help when needed.
‘Kids are supposed to be perfect and well behaved, and if that’s not the case it negatively reflects on you as a parent through public perception,’ said Dr Thomason, a research fellow at the University of Michigan.
The study asked 113 women to complete a questionnaire on depression and how competent they felt as a mother. They were asked whether they agreed or disagreed with statements including ‘I should do everything for my baby myself’, ‘other mothers have fewer parenting difficulties than I do’ and ‘I feel guilty when I put my needs before the needs of my baby’.
The study found women who were too concerned about whether other people thought they were a ‘good’ mother could be more likely to become depressed. Women who realise being a parent isn’t always straight forward were more willing to ask for help.
‘If the baby is the misbehaving, it doesn’t make you a bad mother,’ Dr Thomason added. ‘It’s a matter of developing strategies, but they can be challenging.’ A recent study also revealed depression is more common in first-time mothers when her child reaches the age of four than during the year after giving birth. Research carried out in Australia found almost one in three first-time mothers reported depressive symptoms at least once between pregnancy and four years after giving birth.
Source: Daily Mail