‘Mum Guilt’ and Why It’s Time to Wave Goodbye
I have been reading Rebecca Schillers’ – No Guilt pregnancy plan this week and it’s inspired me to write this post
Let’s talk about Mum guilt then – The struggle is real!
Or even ‘Mum to be guilt’. This feeling can start in pregnancy, I know it did for me.
What about that festival I went to when I didn’t know I was pregnant?
What if that means I’ve damaged my baby?
Should I really have had that coffee? And what about the prosecco at the wedding last week?
Am I eating well enough? The morning sickness means all I want to eat is white bread. Can my baby get all that they need from Warburtons toastie?
Does this resonate with anyone?
Suddenly we are responsible for a whole other persons’ life and as exciting is that is and you want to be a mama sooooo much. It can feel like a burden at times.
After the baby is born we feel under a lot of pressure to be a good Mum. If not a perfect one. What even is that anyway?!
I had 2 definitive issues triggers when I came to my own Mum guilt
First of all – Breastfeeding or lack of. I struggled with breastfeeding after a hospital visit with my little one at 5 days old, where the hospital introduced a bottle and sadly there was no going back!
I expressed milk tirelessly him but I couldn’t make enough milk to satisfy the hungry beast and we had to top up with formula.
I was devastated at the time. I really wanted to breastfeed and although I knew I was doing a great job of keeping up my pumping routine and feeding him and sterilising all the kit every blooming time. In my eyes, I wasn’t doing enough for him… I wasn’t good enough. Take these feelings and times them by 100 when I see another Mum breastfeeding and times them by 1000 when I was in the same room as a breastfeeding mum and I was bottle feeding. Guilt, sadness and grieving for the loss of something instinctive, maternal and natural.
Secondly came sleep training. I knew I didn’t want my baby to cry it out. That was my choice and you can make yours. This is a judgement free zone.
For every article that you read that is pro-sleep training, You will find one that contests you will have to find your own truth and a truth that works with your life and family values.
After a few months old and lots of night wakings we sought help from a sleep consultant and worked on another kind of sleep training. It wasn’t cry it out but it was called controlled crying. It still seemed pretty harsh from where I was standing but in a haze of sleep deprivation and helplessness I agreed to try it
For a couple weeks, I let my baby cry for a couple of minutes at a time without holding him. For me, It was AWFUL, I instinctively wanted to hold him close and soothe him. I had to fight against every bone in my body to do what the consultant said.
The results were short-lived and after the next sleep regression. I knew that I was not going to do it again.
Even though this was a very short period of time in my sons’ life, I would constantly feel guilty, worry about this and wonder if it has had some kind of lasting effect on him.
Mum guilt likes to pop up every now and again after a 2 hour TV marathon or when he only wants to eat toast and butter or every meal or when he plays with my phone or we forget to brush his teeth (AKA we are humans, not robots)
More recently I was really struggling to keep up with my workload with a part-time job AND a business and feeling frustrated. I had the option to increase the days at nursery for my little one but guilt was stopping me from doing so, so for weeks I was treading water and working every other moment.
As my partner rightly pointed out to me, I was in a loose/loose situation here. Keep on going as I was and feel frustrated and unfulfilled OR do what I wanted to do in my heart but feel guilty every day for doing so Shit either way right?
I had to work on reframing this situation as there was no way I could win. I chose to let that guilt go and increase his days at nursery and you know what, I put myself first and the world did not implode! I have a happy me, a happy boy who LOVES going to nursery and practically dances there and a thriving business.
Also, I chose to take complete ownership of my decision, no one had me in a headlock or anything. Its something I have chosen to if I don’t like it, I can do one of two things. Change my mind OR change my MINDSET.
So, I’ve decided It’s time to put Mum guilt to bed, admittedly It’s a work in progress but I think it’s something worth working towards.
Who’s with me!?