Guilt feelings as a new mum
There are so many things I was not prepared for when having our daughter last year, but the main thing no one EVER told me about, was how guilty I would feel about…. life!
Nothing can prepare you for the person you would become when your child arrives into this world. It’s tough to explain. It’s like you completely change, but you don’t change at all… Does that make sense? Let me try and explain it better… I have an idea in my head of what I want to be, and the type of person I want to be for my child… But, with that said, I have never done this before, and I have no manual on how to handle things I have never been confronted with before. I am still the same Melissa I was before, but I would like to be more responsible and to be the best role model for my child I could possibly be. I built up all these expectations in my head of what a mum should be like, and it makes me feel very guilty when I mess that up.
My first feeling of immense guilt happened the day after Savannah was born. We were still in the hospital, and she was cluster feeding for around 9 hours. At that point it was just colostrum, and she was getting extremely hungry, and I was getting extremely emotional and I felt totally helpless. Our midwife advised us to give her one bottle of formula, just so she could stop crying and for her to be fed. I was kicking up such a fuss because I did not want her to have formula. Anyway, so when we got home that evening, my husband convinced me it would be okay , and that I should give her some formula. I gave her a tiny bottle, and put her back on my breast. The fact that I gave her formula tore me apart, and I was feeling like the worst mother for giving my child anything but my breast!
As time went on, I would feel guilty about needing to shower, because that meant I had to leave her alone for a while. I felt guilty about needing alone time, and not wanting her with me. I felt guilty about not taking her out enough, not playing enough educational games with her, not being inventive enough with her food, not having the patience I needed to deal with difficult situations, giving her Calpol when she was teething, instead of chamomile… I felt guilty for sometimes missing my “old life”, I felt guilty for not always being happy…The list goes on and on!! Why on earth is it that no one EVER told me about this guilt as a new parent? Why does society sugar coat parenthood so much?
I am at the point now where I do realize, that whatever I do, I am doing the best that I can. My daughter is my top priority, but so is my husband, and I should be as well. In order for me to be a better mother, I need to take care of myself, and my UNSELFISH (yes, unselfish) needs. There’s nothing wrong with taking much needed time out for yourself, looking after yourself, having some alone time etc. YOU NEED IT! Your life should not end once you have a child. You can still enjoy yourself, and do the things you love, without feeling guilty. This is much easier said than done…but it’s good to remind ourselves of this once in a while.