It started from the very first day my daughter, Rylee, was born. Nursing. No one prepares you for the act of nursing. All you hear is how much better it is for the baby. Breast is best right people? I was not ready for nursing. I was not ready for the feeling of failure so early on. I was definitely not ready for the pain of nursing.
She was waking every hour to nurse and it’s exhausting and painful. Mom guilt. What was I doing wrong?
Then the public health nurse tells me she’s not peeing enough which means she’s probably not getting enough to eat. Oh my goodness! I’m starving my child. Mom guilt.
Then I started letting her nurse as long as she wanted to, 45 minutes to an hour of pulling and sucking on raw nipples. Me sitting there reminding myself breast is best while tears run down my face from the guilt or the pain or maybe both.
I also had a caesarean section so my husband had to do a lot of the stuff around home. I should be helping more with house work and cooking. I should be able to handle the baby, the cooking and house work. That’s what moms do. What happens when he goes back to work? Mom guilt.
The pediatrician recommended supplementing with formula and offered ways to increase my milk supply. Formula?!? It’s like a curse word to new moms. What happened to breast is best?!? What are all the other mommas going to think?!? My normal , sane self would say who cares but…Mom guilt. Then the most amazing thing happens and she sleeps for 3 hours and I sleep for 3 hours and the tears stop (for both of us). It’s incredible what a few solid hours of sleep can do for a new mom.
We got into a routine for a couple of weeks. Nursing and supplementing and pretty soon with the help of a lot of nipple cream, the pain subsided. My milk supply increased. Rylee slept longer and longer, 8 hours a night by 5 weeks. I was rested. Then we ran into our allergy problems. Mom guilt.
Fast forwards to today. Eight months after the first mom guilt episode. Allergies are gone, Rylee nurses once a day, in the morning, after 12 hours of sleeping then formula feeds the rest of the day and I’m ok with that. I’ve come to realize you have to do what’s best for you and your baby. All moms and all babies are different.
Is the mom guilt gone? I’d like to think I’ve matured enough, I’ve realized I’m not perfect and there is no perfect when it comes to being a mom.
Date night was yesterday. It was nice getting out with the husband. Just the two of us, watching our sports team win a game. Did I think about Rylee the whole time? Yes. Did I check my phone multiple times through the night? Yes. Did I scroll through her pictures a couple times that night? Yes. Did I text my mom (the babysitter) twice? Yes. Did I feel guilty for not being there to put her to bed? Yes. Mom guilt.
Maybe the maturity comes in realizing that mom guilt is probably going to be there many more times during my life. Realizing that I have to take time for me. Realizing that massages and hair appointments are still ok. Nights out with the husband are important. A messy house and dirty laundry will still be there tomorrow.
Taking care of me is good for her.
Do you guys feel the mom guilt? What do you do to deal with it? What things trigger the mom guilt for you?