Childrearing

Tell Us Something We Don’t Know: New Motherhood Makes You OCD

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new mom stressToday in science that makes you go ‘Duh’: New research shows that giving birth to a tiny human being and becoming responsible for another life can make a woman develop obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD. If you don’t want to read the research, just ask any new mother exactly how many times she sneaks into her infant’s nursery to make sure her bundle of joy is still breathing.

This new study says that while approximately two to three percent of the population at large exhibits CD behavior, about 11% of new moms report obsessions and compulsions with keeping their new baby safe and sound. They sterilize bottles over and over again. They check the latches on the crib one more time, even though they know that it’s alright. They fret and they worry. They check and they re-check.

This specific study notes that it was mostly dealing with women who had a college degree and earned over $100,000 a year. It’s possible that the results would change for members of different socioeconomic groups. Though I think it’s fair to say that the majority of new parents feel a little stressed and lost, leading to some compulsive behavior. It is possible that highly educated parents have heard of more possibly terrifying things that could worry them.

I guess the good news for moms is that if you felt like you were alone or the odd ball out… You’re not! That constant stress is pretty normal. Waking up every hour to check that your child is breathing is more common than you can imagine. (And seriously exhausting.)

The good news is that in a couple of years, that stress and anxiety will likely dissipate. You’ll find that your little one is pretty resilient. And then, you can join the legions of moms past the infant stage who give that condescending smile to new moms talking about sterilizing their bottles four times in a row, “just to make sure.”

(Photo: Nikita Vishneveckiy/Shutterstock)