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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Mommy Guilt

All of us Mommies feel guilty at one time or another when it comes to how we parent or something we did as a parent. We feel guilty about the way we birthed, the way we feed our children, the way we teach our children, the way we discipline our children. Why do we feel guilty? Because we question ourselves on if what we did was right and we compare ourselves to other moms and wonder if what we're doing is wrong and what they're doing is right.

For a long time I felt guilty about switching Lincoln over from breastmilk to formula. I exclusively breastfed for the first 3 months of Lincoln's life. Then one day he wanted to nurse every hour and I just couldn't produce milk fast enough for him. So, Gabe and I went to the store and got formula and started supplementing one to two meals a day with formula. By the time Lincoln was six months old he refused the breast and only wanted the bottle. I was sad about this because I enjoyed getting to bond with him while breastfeeding. But I was also relieved because I no longer had to worry about when and if he would bite me when his teeth came in and I no longer had to watch a clock and sit and wonder how much longer this sweet child would be nursing. I also know now that if I had been more relaxed and more educated about breastfeeding then I would have most likely had an easier time with it. But I wasn't and so I fed him the way I felt was right and he is now a healthy 3-year-old little boy that eats solid food. It took me over a year to realize that what I did wasn't wrong. My child needed food and nutrients and he wasn't getting enough from me. I did what I saw as the right thing to do so that my child would grow and be healthy and happy. I don't feel guilty about that anymore.

I know that there are women out there that feel guilty about the way they gave birth. I also know that many of these woman gave birth in a hospital and probably had unnecessary c-sections. Please do not feel guilty about how you brought a child into this world. When I made the choice to give birth to Lincoln at a birth center, with a midwife, all natural, and a water birth that is something that I had been exposed to as a child. My mother gave birth to my brother at home with the help of a midwife and without drugs. However, before I got pregnant I told Gabe that I wanted to have my baby at the hospital and I wanted to have a c-section. I had no desire to go through the pain of pushing a child out the natural way. But after doing some research I found that a c-section was actually harder because it's major surgery that you have to recover from. I know that not every woman is fully educated about where and how she is going to give birth. I'm sure that many women say they are going to go to a hospital, because that's what seems normal. But things maybe don't always go the way a woman expected them to go when she has her baby in the hospital. Please don't feel guilty about this and don't feel like you made a mistake. You made the choice that you felt comfortable and safe with and what you knew. We all bring our children into the world in different ways and when it comes to birth sometimes you can't make it go the way you expected or wanted.

If you feel guilty about something to did as a parent, don't. There are no mistakes, nothing is wrong, nothing is right. Everything is a learning experience. That's how we should look at it. We shouldn't feel guilty because we birthed differently then our friends did or because we breastfed or didn't breastfeed. We shouldn't feel guilty because we let them watch way to much TV one day or because we let them eat junk food too late one night. It's all about learning what works and what doesn't work for you and your family. I don't know any Mommy that hasn't dealt with feeling guilty about at least one choice they made as a parent. We are constantly learning as parents what works and what doesn't and we're teaching our children at the same time. When our children grow up and if they choose to become parents they will use tools that they learned as a child that they felt worked and they will discard those that they felt didn't work. I know that's what Gabe and I do. We both use methods that our parents used that we feel work and if they don't work for us then we find our own way.

To quote the character of Terry Bellefleur on True Blood (one of my favorite shows): "Guilt is a useless emotion." It's true. Where does guilt get us? Nowhere really. We feel bad about a decision we made and feeling guilty about it only makes us feel worse. Feeling guilty is not going to solve anything. What will solve something is learning from the choice you made. If you felt it was right then it's something you'll probably do again and if you felt it was wrong then you will find a new way to go about solving it. 

If you're feeling guilty about something, please stop. It's not solving anything, you're only making yourself feel sad and worse about the choice you made. Learn from it, figure out why it made you feel guilty and tell yourself that you'll figure out a way of doing what you did in a way that won't make you feel guilty. Parenthood is a learning experience for us all, please remember that.

Blogly Question(s):

Do you have Mommy Guilt? What about? Why do feel guilty?

If you are feeling guilty about anything and need a place to vent or a place for support I highly recommend checking out Scary Mommy . You can use their confession that's completely anonymous and there are boards there on so many different topics. There are also tons of resources and she writes a great blog. So if you're feeling stressed, guilty or whatever and just don't know who to turn to I really recommend checking out the site.

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