Yes, mother’s guilt is not just a concept or a phrase…mother’s guilt is real, and all the other moms I know have at one point or another had to deal with it.
Starting even before having a baby, I feel that these days society tends to force women to try the home births, or to avoid the epidural…or breastfeed. I have had several midwives come to my hospital bed after I gave birth and squeeze my nipples (because I had no idea how to do it right the first time around….) to get the colostrum out so I could breastfeed a baby who wouldn’t latch on…
And don’t even get me started on those moms who are so anxious about giving birth that they need to have an ‘elective’ cesarian! They are just a whole other lever of ‘selfishness’ in the eyes of the society we live in…but they shouldn’t be! Its their body, their rules!
And the funny thing is, that even though we know all of this stuff in theory, when it comes to it…all we can think of as a new and naive mother is that dreaded guilt:…what have I done wrong? what if I am a bad mother? what if I have deprived my child of serious intelligence by letting them cry? what if I just spoiled my child by picking her up? what if she won’t love me as her mother if I return back to work?
STOP IT! You are well within your right to ask for anything you want, attend to your child however you want and have it your way!
I say – even though it’s hard, we do away with the guilt already and march on! Be selfish, pick up and cuddle that baby as much as you want. don’t breastfeed if you don’t want to – and go ahead – have that elective cesarian! And if you LOVE your job And want to go back to work, then do so – And do it GUILT FREE! Because at the end of the day it’s your body, your child and your life, and nobody else knows better! And if in the process we remember to tell ourselves that we’re doing a great job – that would be even better!