Being a perfectionist, especially while pregnant, anxiety too, how to let go? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 05-09-2013, 05:48 PM - Thread Starter
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I definitely am a perfectionist, have been my whole life. But now that I am pregnant, it is to the point of mental illness I would say, and I think maybe I can get a hold of it, I just really need some advice and support. I can't stick with any of my decisions, change my mind so many times, and I am driving my husband nuts! I have bought 3 couches in the past year (sold the ones I decided weren't working on craigslist) and still am not totally satisfied with the one we have, to the point that I spend all day obsessing over which way the chaise should flip. Yes, I have back issues and the flow of the room is important, but I need to let go of perfection, and it really seems like I "can't." I try to, and I want to (desperately).....but then I try to let it go, and something about the couch (or whatever) will just grate at me, to the point I'm convinced it needs to change (granted, in some cases the changes do make switching out a diaper bag that isn't working)....and then (with something like the couch) my anxiety gets really bad, I loose sleep, my breathing gets shallow, I cave and make another change, thinking it will make me happy. With the big things, I really go nuts obsessing over whether or not what we have will work, etc etc. Things I don't care as much about, it's easier to make the decision.


I wanted to add that it's not a "selfishness" thing per se, like "buy buy buy/shopaholic"....maybe it is selfish in a way, because I focus on "my" worries, but it's not like I am trying to make something perfect to impress others or for my own vanity. It is moreso just fear that I made the wrong decision and I'm not gonna be happy with what I just chose, because it won't work for our family's everyday life, or it's not what the baby really needs, or it will be a hassle to maintain, or it will leak phthalates into the air, etc. I could care less about superficiality. Wanted to add that.


I just don't know how to deal. I don't know how to accept something that is 80% good, and leave it be. Of course it has been a nightmare picking things out for the baby. I will be a first time mom, and I think I am nesting to the extreme with the house. But then beyond the house, seeking perfection with everything. First time mom jitters to the extreme. This onesie has a zipper that might irritate his skin, it needs to go back. This mattress puffs up a little when pressure is applied, and the cover wrinkles some, let's order another brand and return the least favorite. On, and on, and on.


I think I just don't know how I'll deal as a mom, and so being a perfectionist is how I attempt to exert some kind of control and manage that stress.


I just want to hear from anyone who can relate even a do you not let things bother you?


There are some changes we've made in the past year that needed to be made.....but now I'm just going nuts and not enjoying the last few weeks of my pregnancy.....just obsessing over everything. How do I let go? I keep thinking if I can just get more done, then I can relax, but of course not enough is getting will never be done to my liking, and there are only 3 weeks left! Advice?

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#2 of 4 Old 05-09-2013, 09:24 PM
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Congratulations on your pregnancy! smile.gif


I think one of the hardest things is to be feeling something, for example, the anxiety you described, and wanting to change the feeling, and then feeling like not only that you can't change it, but that it's getting worse. hug2.gif I'm not sure how you felt after the post, but I hoped it helped to write. I think saying what you're feeling, sharing your experience, talking about it, is huge. As for suggestions, here are a few thoughts off of the top of my head:


--Are there any moments when you can let go? If so, can you think about those moments and see if there are any qualities about those moments that help with that feeling of letting? For me, talking a walk is great when I'm worried and some of the things about a walk that help me are moving my body, getting fresh air, getting a change of scenery/perspective. So even when I can't take a walk, I try to pull in those qualities (movement, fresh, changing scenery). I like to start with what's already worked well for me in the past.


--Another technique I like is asking "what if?" Using an example from your post, you mentioned that a concern about getting the right things and I think that's an understandable worry. Applying the "what if" idea: what if you choose something and it turns out that you're not happy with what I chose because it doesn't work for our family's everyday life or it's not what the baby really needs? What will you do? If you can answer that, perhaps each time the worry comes you, you can remind yourself with a smile "I have a plan of what do if it turns out that this item doesn't work!"


--Have you considered counseling? Depression and/or anxiety during pregnancy (often called perinatal or antenatal depression or anxiety) isn't always talked about as commonly as postpartum depression, but most definitely occurs. I just did a quick google search and found articles saying depression and/or anxiety affects 10-20% of pregnant women. Also, anxiety can be sign of depression. A counselor or other care provider can be very helpful in figuring what would be most helpful to you and to supporting you through the process. if you're seeing a midwife or ob, s/he might be able to recommend someone who specializes in working with women during pregnancy. Also, you might want to search this forum for "prepartum depression" or "prepartum anxiety." I just searched and several threads came up.


Wishing you all the best today and in the days ahead.

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#3 of 4 Old 05-12-2013, 06:48 PM
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I thin kit can help to accept that there is always something wrong with everyone and everything- I mean even if we get things all lined up neat, something else will break. This is the nature of life. So try to take it with a little lightness, sense of humor.


As for the baby, you will probably find that when you have the baby they take up so much time and energy that you won't have extra space in your mind to obsess about the things you used to- in a way this is a good thing!!


I think just try to keep cultivating inner peace, read inspirational writings such as Thic Nhat Han (spelling) and other teachers who teach of inner peace.


And don't worry too much if you make mistakes, we all do!


I was never as perfectionist as you describe but I used to spend time worrying about silly things like taking 20 minutes at a restaurant to decide if I want the steak or fish. And it really just doesn't matter! And when I became a Mom three years ago I really found that all of a sudden my focus became aobut my child and all that other stuff didn't matter as much, so it was helpful to me.


I thin generally just try to accept that life is by nature imperfect, andthat the best we can do is to try to create peace form the inside out. I am sure there are a lot of people who can give you specifics about how to deal with anxiety and that sort of thing. I try to read lots of inspirational reminders to help me remember how to try to be peaceful inside.


Be well!

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#4 of 4 Old 05-13-2013, 02:40 AM
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I think it sounds like you have some OCD going on. I recommend seeing a doctor and getting some therapy.

It's complicated.
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