Is this obsession healthy? that was the question running through my mind back in 1998 when I developed a case of Primary Maternal Preoccupation (PMP). I got another dose in 2000 and once again in 2005. Of course it was super irritating for everyone around me when I got it. It’s condition that doesn’t only affect your brain and emotion but it has the knock-on effect of irritating all your Facebook friends. And in fact, anyone who comes into contact with you. I was obsessed and preoccupied with my newborns – as you will be when you bring your baby into the world.
The defining characteristic of PMP is a complete loss of objectivity, a lack of insight and an obsession that verges on OCD relating to the tiny, new person in your life.
Let’s take a look at what that means in reality:
- Complete loss of objectivity – The belief that your baby is not only the most beautiful but also the brightest babe on the block.
- Lack of insight – The idea that everyone else also thinks your baby is the most important, special, beautiful and clever creature on the earth and would like nothing better than to hear how wonderful your baby is.
- Obsession with your baby – The complete preoccupation with anything to do with your baby – in the most minute detail – milliliters drunk, number and consistency of the stools, time of sleeps to the minute etc., etc., etc.
A healthy obsession
Now calling this PMP an ailment suggests dysfunction. However psychologists will tell you that there is nothing healthier for a mom of a newborn. This obsession and preoccupation with your baby is not only important for their survival but also critical for their emotional development. Your baby needs to feel like the center of your world.
So if you are suffering from PMP, not only are you in good company, but you are doing the best for your baby.
The good news is that it settles. By 6 months, PMP reduces and your baby will experience occasional ‘healthy neglect’ – 5 minutes when you make yourself tea or finish your shower before responding to their waking from a sleep. These little increments of separation move you and your baby to the next level and prepare them for a little independence.
For more about your baby’s social, emotional, cognitive and motor milestones, download the Parent Sense app to track milestones and get daily tips to optimise your baby’s development.