Becoming a parent is full of contradictions: It's a time in life when loveand meaning and joy crash headlong into worry and exhaustion, so much so thatsome new parents struggle to maintain their own identity. A new study out of theNetherlands suggests that this is especially true for mothers.
The researchers found a consistent pattern: Women experienced declines inself-esteem during their pregnancies, and then increases in the six monthsafterwards. But then their self-esteem declined once again, and continuedfalling. By three years into their child's life, it was still lower than theiroriginal "baseline.
Because they didn't keep collecting data, researchers don't know if the diplasted even longer, but they do know it wasn't permanent: Women who completedthe survey again for a subsequent child had returned to their baseline by thetime the process began anew.
The researchers noted several possible reasons for a decline in self-esteemduring pregnancy, including physical changes to the body, rampant hormones,stress over the baby's development, and concerns about the future.