Dr. Brene Brown is a well-known researcher on shame and vulnerability. In The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are, Brown suggests that perfectionism isn’t a “you are or you aren’t” kind of thing, but rather is on a continuum and that we all possess tendencies of perfectionism on some level at certain times. I never in a million years would have ever described myself as a perfectionist (think: teenager whose room was so messy you couldn’t tell what color the carpet was), but through my own infertility therapy realized that much of the anxiety I was experiencing was stemming from feelings of shame that were rooted in…wait for it…perfectionism! Perfectionism in my case was less about being a neat-freak and super organized, and more about others’ perception of me and how I felt I “should” be.
The Gifts of Imperfection is a wonderful read for anyone, and in my opinion especially resonates with postpartum moms who are trying to figure out who they are in a culture that sometimes tells us how the perfect mother “should” be. Highly recommend!