Mom guilt is real. And it kicks in right away. I didn’t think I’d have to worry about it until my kid was a little older and I would have to tell him “no”.
I was wrong. Day ONE I felt guilty about my labor + delivery + how Parker was brought into the world (vaginally, but it was pretty scary) – I felt that I “failed”. And to be completely honest, after Parker was born and I was laying there alone (I didn’t get to hold him for almost an hour), I felt a bit numb. I was in so much pain because of this little person. All the joy that I thought I would feel – the best and happiest day of my life … it wasn’t there.
How awful is that? I was so mad at myself that I felt this way. He didn’t ask to be born and was this beautiful sweet little innocent miracle that I chose to come into this world … clearly, I’m still working through this and was nervous even sharing this because I feel like it makes me a bad mom and that’s exactly how I felt as I was laying there while my OB was taking care of me and the NICU peds were taking care of Parker. That being said, I’m sharing because…
I want anyone who has felt this way to know that you are not alone and you are not a bad mom.
Our bodies just went through crazy change for 9 months and then a huge trauma of birthing a baby (and if it was anything like mine, a loooooong process).
As time has gone on, I’ve felt guilty about giving him bottles and not exclusively the breast, guilty about letting him cry to learn how to sleep, guilty about wanting time to myself to just get work done, guilty about taking a nap while my wife watches him because I feel like I should be there all the time.
When we struggled with breastfeeding, I felt like a huge failure – I SO wanted to exclusively breastfeed him for at least 6 months, and ideally, the first year, since it’s the best thing for him. But it wasn’t just about me – it was about what Parker needed. And since it required the two of us, by calling myself a failure was I also saying that he was too??? Fortunately, breastfeeding has been working out for us (check out my post on the truth about breastfeeding here – it’s HARD).
What I’ve learned is that mom guilt is really self-judgment.
It has everything to do with me and nothing to do with my son. I was calling myself a “failure” – no one else was. I was questioning and doubting my abilities – and by doing that, I’m actually not trusting myself or my son to figure things out. And I noticed that by projecting my feelings onto my son that I’m not really learning HIS feelings + emotions. Does that mean I can just turn off a switch? No. But I can now remind myself when I’m feeling these things that Parker is his own person with his own thoughts + emotions, and before I was Mommy, I was Gena, and my son needs to learn independence and witness that I have things that are just for me.
As long as you are doing your best, you are doing an amazing job. That’s all we can ask of ourselves – to do our best in each moment. Remember, some moments are going to be much easier than others but try not to be too hard on yourself for the moments that are difficult (sleep training, teething, etc.). And with these sweet little humans, the good moments always outweigh the harder ones!