I am a relatively new mom (Hudson is 5 months old); and although I’m new in the game, I have both witnessed and been a victim of the dreaded “mom guilt.” It drives me bananas! It is time for us moms to put our foot down and say, “Let me do what I feel is best for myself and my child!”
Below are five things that I have been made to feel guilty about—because of other people as well as myself.
Formula. I had it drummed up in my head that I was going to breastfeed Hudson for the first 6 months of his life. I had this image of myself producing liters of the liquid gold a day. I partially blame the doula Kevin and I had hired to do a private Lamaze class when I was 31 weeks pregnant. She was very opinionated on the subject, and repeatedly expressed that she exclusively breastfed her three children for the first 6 months until introducing solids. Like, okay lady that’s great for you, but there are many other women who can’t breastfeed at all, and shouldn’t be made to feel inadequate. Because fed is best! I recently heard from a Mother who was made to feel bad about not producing enough milk and was too embarrassed to tell anyone. And do you know who made her feel bad?! Other moms! So let’s stop all this judgment about formula vs. breastfeeding. Every woman has her own reasons for choosing what she feeds her child. It’s not for you to judge.
Naps. I can’t nap because I feel so guilty. I literally just lay there unable to sleep because I feel bad. I think about the giant load of laundry needing to be folded and put away. Or I think, Why isn’t Kevin tired? He’s been up longer than I have. Maybe he wants to nap instead. My advice is to take a 20 minute nap! It’s all you need to get a quick boost in energy. There’s no need to feel guilty about it! Everyone tells you to sleep when the baby sleeps. Heed their advice!
Taking care of yourself. I’ve been able to continue getting my nails done every three weeks and get out for a few runs a week—but there are a couple personal tasks I have moved aside. It’s natural for moms to forget about their own needs and to put all of their energy into their littles. Setting time aside to get a haircut, or a facial, gets put off. I’m confident that most of our husbands, boyfriends, or partners would be more than happy to babysit in order to give us time for ourselves. It’s not them making us feel guilty about looking after ourselves—it’s us! We need to remember that our health and self-confidence will help us to be the best mom we can be for our littles. So stop putting off that Brazilian!
Diet. As if there’s not already enough self-imposed pressure to get back into our pre-pregnancy jeans! But then there’s the added pressure of not eating anything that will make the baby feel gassy and uncomfortable. Of course, this only applies if you’re breastfeeding. Have you seen the list of things you shouldn’t eat while breastfeeding?! It ranges from chocolate to many kinds of vegetables. It’s almost impossible to eat out when breastfeeding because most restaurant dishes are spicy, garlic-y, or contain dairy, which is definitely on the list of no-no’s. There have been several occasions where Hudson was noticeably gassy and uncomfortable, and in response, someone asked me what I had eaten that day. For starters, it’s a little weird to ask me to give a detailed report on exactly everything I have ingested. Secondly, it seems like they’re seeking to blame me for my uncomfortable child. Let’s stop asking questions that make moms feel bad for eating a healthy meal. There’s no guaranteed method of pinpointing exactly why a baby may be gassy. There are many things that could actually be the culprit. In my case, it could have been the encapsulated placenta I was ingesting every day. Let’s just deal with the issue at hand, and not seek to blame anyone! Tip: I found grip water to work wonders!
Wine (alcohol). I can’t lie. The day I found out I was pregnant was the beginning of the countdown to the next glass of wine. Abstaining from alcohol for 9 months was enough for me. Some people (mostly men) will say, “You’ve already waited 9 months, what’s another 6?” Well, you obviously don’t know what you’re talking about. It wasn’t just the wine I couldn’t have; it was the whole social interaction of friends and wine. When a person (who will not be named) questions my choice of having a glass of wine while breastfeeding, it causes guilt and doubt. It makes me feel like I have to explain myself with the research I have already done, in order to convince YOU that what I am doing to MY BODY is okay. It is MY DECISION! If you decide to drink while breastfeeding, that is a perfectly valid choice. Do not feel guilty! A public health nurse told me that if you’re okay to drive, you’re okay to breastfeed. I also read a great article explaining that a doctor would much rather see women enjoy a glass of wine and continue to breastfeed, rather than quit breastfeeding altogether in order to enjoy that coveted glass of wine.
So there you have it. The top 5 things I have felt guilty about. You may agree or have another topic all together. I would love to hear about the things you have been guilty about. Feel free to post in the comments!