When did I start having mommy guilt??? Right when I found out I was pregnant. The first pregnancy test that came positive had me smiling all day and all week. It was as if I was on cloud nine and everything around me was beautiful. I started eating properly, taking my pre-natal vitamins and everything I could do to take care of the little life inside. But, a week later, I had a miscarriage. It was very early in the pregnancy and if not for the home pregnancy tests, I wouldn’t have known about the pregnancy. But, even after the doctor said this was very normal and I could not have done anything to prevent it, I felt guilty. I thought somehow I must have caused it. I did not take care of my precious baby. This thought lingered with me when I got pregnant again. The first 3 months, I was very cautious. Every small change got me thinking about the worst thing that can happen. Everything was fine and I had a beautiful baby boy via C-Section. It was an emergency C-Section and I was not very happy about it but when the doctor told me it would be better for the baby, I was okay with it. Thus, I started giving preference to my baby.
Every mom goes through these mommy guilt moments. Every decision we make now involves the baby. For me it all started in the hospital itself. Breastfeeding did not go well and we had to feed him formula to get his blood sugar levels up. I felt so bad about not able to feed my son. Then, when we came back home, I pumped milk sometimes and had S or my mom feed Sarath so that I can get some rest. It took me a while to be okay with it. When ever I was a couple of minutes late to feed him or change his diaper or pick him up when he cried – all moments of guilt.
When it was time to start solid foods, there were so many people giving me advice. I followed doctor’s advice and my mommy instincts and ignored some advice from my mom and mother-in-law all the while feeling guilty about it. After all they have more experience than me but, here I am trying to do it all in my own way. But, I fought my guilt and stayed on course and now my son had good food habits all because of me!
Then when I started applying for jobs, I always wondered if I was doing the right thing. But, when I couldn’t find the right job, I started working from home and taking care of him. That wasn’t so easy either. I felt twice as guilty – I was not giving my 100% to my son or to my work.
Then I seriously decided to join him in a day care part time so that I can concentrate on my work while he can play in the day care. That was the only no-guilt decision that I made. Then came the day when he did not want to leave me to go to day care. My heart just broke that day. I wondered if I was doing the right thing. Now, a week later that same kid does not want to come back from the day care.
Those are some of the major guilt moments. In the day-to-day life there are many more like making him watch TV or asking him to play by himself so that I can get some very important work done, giving him unhealthy snacks, feeding him junk food sometimes, getting frustrated in the middle of the night when he wouldn’t fall asleep for three to four hours, trying to get some ‘me” time and many many more…..
With all those moments of guilt, I also learn’t that life is not easy. There is no reason to feel guilty about the many decisions we take. As moms we got to face them and just hope we are doing the right thing. But, as I think more about it, I feel all these moments of guilt are because of the many expectations we set for ourselves and the ones society sets for us. We want to meet them all and be the perfect mom. What we forget is that we are already the best moms to our kids. No matter what our kids will love us we will the perfect moms to our kids. No matter how many times I have been angry with my mother, I still think she is the best mom ever! Just like every mother has the perfect baby, every kid has the perfect mother. So, let us all shed our guilt and enjoy motherhood.
This post was written for the Fight that Mommy Guilt contest.