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The Trauma of Parenthood

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June 30, 2014

This article originally appeared in The New York Times on June 27, 2014.

By Eli J. Finkel

Everyone knows that being the parent of an infant is hard. There’s the sleeplessness, the screaming fits to tend to, the loss of autonomy, the social isolation and the sheer monotony of it.

Everyone also knows that there is only one socially acceptable response to this predicament: a dogged insistence that the adoration you feel for your child makes all the sacrifices worthwhile. It’s “the toughest job you’ll ever love.” The only valid excuse for feeling sad or despondent is a postpartum hormonal crash. What other justification could there be for greeting your bundle of joy with despair?