The Myth of the Superwoman

As a naturopathic doctor who specializes in women’s health, I am privileged to see incredible women every day. What I have been seeing lately is that women, especially mothers, whether they are working mothers or stay at home mothers feel this overwhelming need to “do it all”. Women are home with their child or children all day, doing unpaid, underappreciated labor, cooking, cleaning, chauffeuring. They are working full time and still coming home and taking on the bulk of the domestic chores and child-rearing, and then I see them in my office and they are worn out. They feel like they “should” be able to do all this and feel great about it. That “other women can handle it, why can’t they?”

As a working mother myself, I get it. Where did this idea come from? How did we get to this place where this was not just the goal, but the self-imposed expectation that this is normal? I am here to tell you that it isn’t. Up until this last century, for all of human evolution, women were supported by a larger family unit and social structure. We had lots of hands to lighten the load, and yes there were working women 100 years ago as well. The development of the nuclear family has in many ways been extremely detrimental for women’s mental health. New mothers are isolated and stressed and even those women who can afford to hire extra help feel guilty for doing so.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Asking for help isn’t weakness. Let’s rely on each other more. Hire extra help if you can afford it. If you can’t, get together with another mom and child-share. Give each other a break.

New mothers are also most likely to skip needed medical appointments for themselves, so if this is you, please take care of yourself. Give us a call, come in and get your blood work done to see if it is just the overwhelming, crushing weight of the myth of the superwoman or if you’re also anemic, low in vitamin D, hypothyroid, or have adrenal fatigue. I’ll be here.