13 Nov Mum guilt- what no one told me.
So why didn’t anyone tell me about Mum guilt?! Not one person held back in telling me what was coming my way when we found out we were having a baby. In fact, everyone was quite eager to give me possible scenarios. Mostly scary scenarios.
You all told me about pregnancy possibilities. Oh the aches and pains you’ll have. Oh sleep now because you won’t when the baby gets here. Oh he is going to be a BIG baby (aka you look like a house). Then there was the delivery scenarios. Grimacing as they recounted what would probably happen in the delivery room. The tears. The humiliation. The agony. The endurance. I would hear long stories about this with a very short tack on at the end, “but it will be worth it when you hold the baby”. I have zero horror stories from my delivery. I was lucky so don’t panic just yet guys, all those possibilities, are just that. Not for certain and don’t happen to everyone.
Then came the stories about after baby is born. Oh you’ll never sleep again. Your pelvic floor will be ruined. The horror stories about breastfeeding and that a baby won’t latch and you’ll end up in agony with Mastitis. Again, that didn’t happen. It might for some. Heck it might for us if we have another baby. But with Ted, it didn’t happen.
So you lined me up for nearly every possible painful, dreadful, lingering possibility. But you never mentioned Mum guilt.
You never told me that within seconds of holding this little blob that some clock would start ticking. And it hasn’t stopped since. And that has been my biggest shock…
After we had you, I was told I should rest. This is when it started. I lay on the bed and couldn’t properly see you in your little crib. I didn’t like that. I was told I should get some sleep that night while you were sleepy. Closed my eyes, but that clock didn’t like it. I remember thinking “what is this!!” Then it hit me. I feel guilty that I’m not the one holding you or looking after you. And so it began…
Over the last year I can list every possible guilt pang I’ve felt. I feel stupid even admitting to some. Like that one time I went to the supermarket around week 3 on my own, and genuinely felt like a rotten Mum for leaving you. I went to the SUPERMARKET. A five minute drive away!! My hubby is soo hands on and a wonderful dad, but I remember almost asking him if it would be okay to go and apologising when I got back because I was longer than the five minutes I called out as I ran out the door. I still do this. I apologise for taking too long if I do something on my own. My husband? He laughs and says what are you worrying about, take your time! And I know he means it, so why do I still feel guilty when I leave you?! Because of that bloody mum clock…
I’ve felt awful for going to work and leaving you. I’ve felt bad for going for a shower and leaving you. I had to work late in the evening once and missed your bedtime, I swear, I almost cried. We have had one proper date night in the last year, and honestly, I soo enjoyed it, but wow did I feel bad for going. I once nearly let you fall off the change table, I was petrified I’d just qualified for worst mother ever. I once enjoyed a day at work, simply for the break, cue the guilt for that one too. I didn’t sign you up for playgroup/music group/social group at six weeks old? Genuinely felt like I was letting you down, but I needed to work on getting myself out of the house first little guy.
So here is what I have figured out. Here are the two cents that no one told me. Will I feel bad when I have to do things without you? Absolutely. Do I sometimes still HAVE TO do these things without you because of a commitment or simply my own sanity. Absolutely! Do I sometimes just need to use an easy option to make the day a little less full on? Yep. Am I in the final three for the worst mother ever? Bloody hope not. Fourteen months in, does this feeling go? Nope, but you certainly learn how to work with it. Is feeling any of the above “normal”? Oh you bet it is. Welcome to the very crazy club, mamma.
I think we just need to tell ourselves. Jez you’re giving this whole thing a pretty good crack. You’re main aim will always be to make sure he or she is safe and healthy and happy. Maybe that’s enough. Maybe leaving the little one to go and accomplish something doesn’t make you THAT bad after all. Maybe you don’t have to be perfect and at his or her side 100% of the time. So maybe if I’m just genuinely trying, I probably shouldn’t feel guilty for the other things. And to the mums who might not feel any/all of the above, that’s okay too. I think this mother thing hits everyone in such different ways that there is no formula that’s fits all. But maybe it’s okay to share a wee bit and hope it may be familiar to at least one other person. I guess then you know you’re not on the wrong road, you’re just in the same maze as everyone else with those same beautiful wee buggers at the centre.
About the Author
First time mum to a little guy called Ted (#adventuresofted). Figuring it all out as we go along. No one can be prepared for this wonderful, scary mumventure!