Stop Blaming Pregnant Moms for Anything 'Wrong' With Their Kids

pregnant ladySigh. I hate to sound like a broken record, complaining about the same thing over and over and over again, but, well, when the same thing keeps happening over and over and over again, what choice do I have? I mean, really?

Today's repetitive offense? Yet another study suggesting that a mom's level of mental health during pregnancy is to blame for her child's behavioral issues. Well, you might be thinking, the more studies that point to such a connection, the more likely that it's true.

This is not at all the case. Why? Because any study that seeks to link prenatal mood as a cause to a specific effect should be considered completely frivolous to begin with. You won't get a clear picture from connecting these dots; at best, you'll get a scribbled mess ...


Because that's what every pregnant woman is, at some point or another: An emotionally scribbled mess.

Backing up, the study claims that kids display a tendency to become bullies very early on, at about age 1, and that aggressive babies are "much more likely to have mothers who were clinically depressed during their pregnancies" or who had their own history of conduct disorders. 

I agree that personality traits do manifest much earlier than most people realize -- looking back, I can see that my kids' most marked characteristics were with them from birth. It also makes sense, genetically, that some "conduct disorders" are inherited, or at least that the inclination toward disorderly conduct would be.

However, going on in utero digs to find the seeds of problem behavior is ridiculous, because nearly every pregnant woman experiences feelings of depression, often for long enough stretches that the term "clinical depression" can be applied. It's hormonal, it's to be expected, and it's hard enough to go through without having to worry that the sadness you can't control is also, by the way, going to turn your unborn child into a bully.

Not like that's going to make you feel more depressed or anything. Better cheer up, and fast!

I just feel like the whole motherhood trip, from pregnancy forward, would be a lot less, well, depressing if society wasn't hell-bent on guilt-tripping us for things beyond our control.

Do you think there's a link between prenatal depression and bullies?

Image via Menno Hordijk/Flickr

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