To the mother suffering from mom guilt let it go


Photo by Casey Mackenzie Photography


"Are you breastfeeding?" asked one of my friends who was over visiting me and my new baby. "No, not anymore", I answered quietly. The judgemental stare on her face said it all, she didn't have to say anything. "I tried though, it's really hard", I added. "I breastfed Sophia for the first year of her life" my friend said smugly. The feeling of guilt swept over me. Why does it matter how you feed your baby?  Or whether you had a c-section or an epidural, or countless other decisions we make as parents. And why do we feel so much guilt? Why are other moms so judgey?

I have to admit, I was one of those people. As a labor and delivery nurse, I thought I knew it all, knew what was best for moms and their babies.  A mom would whip out the bottle to feed her kid and I would secretly think "I wonder why she's not breastfeeding?".  Oh how becoming a mother changed all of that.  See when I became pregnant, I had this beautiful plan all laid out of how my birth would go and what kind of parent I would be. Boy was I naive.  The reality is nothing went as I thought it would. I ended up getting induced at 37 weeks and 2 days for preeclampsia, had every intervention under the sun to try and get me into labor, got an epidural and then was a crash c-section because Maxwell's heart rate dropped after my epidural.  After two weeks of breastfeeding, pumping and supplementing to try and help Maxwell regain his birth weight, I was utterly exhausted, anxious and becoming distant towards my baby. Breastfeeding was becoming unhealthy for me mentally.  After two weeks I made the painful decision to "take the easy way out" and formula feed.  Maxwell started gaining weight, was satisfied after feedings and I was able to enjoy being with my baby again.

Why are we as a society creating unrealistic expectations with sayings like "breast is best" that can lead moms to feel like failures?  As if the postpartum period with all of the changing hormones and new way of life isn't hard enough lets hold moms to this standard of being this "ideal, perfect" mother on top of everything else that she is going through.  And what makes other moms think that they know what's best and give them the right to throw shade at other moms for the decisions they make? It's hard being a mom in today's culture. We are criticized for every decision we make.
Had a c-section? She took the easy way out.
Had a natural medication free vaginal delivery? Who does she think she is a martyr or something?
Going back to work and sending your kids to daycare? Selfish
Stay at home mom? Slacker
Homeschool your kids? Wierdo.
Oh your kids go to public school? They're average.
Dress nice and look put together? She puts her own needs before her kids.
Wearing yoga pants and a baseball hat? Slob

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/183943966013654175/
Who the hell cares? 

The reality is, there is no right or wrong way to parent your kids.  We're all just winging this parenthood thing. You try it all and then see what sticks. You know what's best for you and your baby. Whether you breastfeed or formula feed, had a vaginal delivery or c-section, are a working mom or stay at home mom, the list goes on and on. It truly doesn't matter. Cut yourself some slack. These babies grow so fast, don't let comparison trip you up and steal you from relishing in the joys of motherhood.

The bottom line is my kid's no different than yours.

Sincerely,
this epiduralized, c-section, formula feeding, co-sleeping mama








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10 comments

  1. This was such a good post Nicolle!! I too felt judged by formula feeding the other day when asked how I weened?! But I stood tall and just said "I didn't have to"!!! But I agree, we need to uplift not condem!!

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    1. Thanks so much Jen! We should all support each other!

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  2. Oh breastfeeding guilt- it's the worst! I supplemented and switched to formula only at 3 months. My son is thriving and I continue to own my choices. So glad you wrote this post.

    Katie @ www.livehalffullblog.com

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    1. Thanks Katie! So glad to hear that your son is so happy and healthy!

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  3. Oh my Goddd, the guilt! As mom's, our #1 lesson is to just do what's best for us and baby and just disregard the side eye glances and the "suggestions". I heard all kind of criticism because I swaddle my babies at bedtime. Like, are you serious?!

    Ana Jacqueline
    www.anajacqueline.com

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  4. I absolutely love this! It's a shame that we are all so judgy when it comes to other people's parenting. I really need to work on letting all that stuff go!

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  6. No one told me that I would experience mommy guilt with my first child. It was really tough. Then I was like the Huggies commercial with my second one! LOL. I still felt it at times, but I learned that I am not like everyone and my kids are not like everyone's kids. Thanks for the reminder to let it go, because it likes to creep up every now and then. Thanks for sharing!

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  7. Yes I agree so much! Mom guilt shouldn't be a thing we should be supporting each other.

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  8. I struggle with mom guilt every day. Almost anything that is directly benefiting me makes me feel guilty. It's getting better because I have been reminding myself that if i don't take of myself, i won't be able to take care of my family.

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