The two lines may have just appeared on the pregnancy test and mammy guilt can rear its bitchy head. I know for me, with the impending arrival of Rebecca being somewhat of a shock, that the guilt was immediate. I worried that I was being selfish for bringing a baby into what was at the time chaos for our family. Then I felt the slightly less trivial “oops I had a few too many drinks last night”.
I worried throughout my pregnancy that because I was so ill, I wasn’t sending the right nutrients to help this little bundle grow. My consultant advised me to eat whatever I could keep down, so I produced a 7.1 pound baby full of Coca Cola and prawn crackers. So now every time Rebecca is hyper (which is a lot) I worry it’s because I drank so much Coke!! This is obviously ridiculous, but that’s mammy guilt for you. It can be totally irrational and unwarranted.
It may be slightly unfair of me to title this blog “mammy guilt” as I’m sure plenty of daddies experience the guilt also. I just feel us women tend to be harder on ourselves compared to our male counterparts, and being a mammy I can only speak from a woman’s perspective.
As I’ve mentioned before I had an elective section and this will always be the case for me due to reasons totally out of my control. Do I struggle with this? Absolutely. Any woman who has had a C section will hate those awful phrases like “too posh to push”. There is no “easy way out” when it comes to bringing a baby into this world. Us ladies feeling guilty about how we give birth needs to end. If the baby comes out of your nostril, or is carried to your arms on the back of a unicorn, you are amazing! You just brought a human into the world. I know so many mothers have a beautiful idea of how they want the birth of their child to be, and for some lucky mothers this idea becomes a reality. However, I feel that the majority of women have something not quite go the way they planned and then subsequently feel guilty about it. The safe arrival of your baby, and your safety are the main aims. Hopefully by the time you get the epic tea and toast, you’ll be feeling so happy that no matter what happened, you have a fabulous smelling, squishy person to be amazed by.
Rebecca is now four years old and I reckon I get at least two rounds of mammy guilt each day and somedays maybe twenty. However, I heard someone say recently “If you worry about the decisions you make for your child’s welfare, then you’re obviously already a great parent” I couldn’t agree with this more, we stress and doubt so much, because we care so much. We question how we choose to feed them, how they sleep, how they play. In reality, the important thing is that they simply eat, sleep and play.
I assume this mammy guilt never goes away, but instead changes, and perhaps the things we feel guilty about change over time too. As Parents we need to support each other, judge less and maybe try give the occasional reassuring “I’ve been there nod”. Consider this next time you see a mother trying to drag her child off the floor in Lidl, because no doubt she’ll get into the car and feel guilty in some way for what just happened.
Remember Guilt is just a wasted emotion and wine is always an option!
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