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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Mother guilt

This is a slightly different post to the usual but it's something which has been on my mind and something which has caught me off guard recently - the worry and guilt that goes with having children. The worry I can deal with but the guilt is driving me crazy.

It started with the guilt I experienced when I ate prawns in the early days of pregnancy.

And then the guilt felt when I couldn't breastfeed Robbie and he cried endlessly out of hunger. He lost more than 10% of his body weight in hospital and I felt like a failure for not being able to provide for my son.

And now there are the twangs of guilt I feel when I can't settle Robbie during the day and he ends up sleeping for no more than 1 hour at a time. Usually 30 minute cat naps.

And the guilt I felt when I was sick recently and my in-laws (bless them!) looked after Robbie for the day so I can get some much needed rest.

Next week is my 30th birthday. I've organised a night out with friends and although I probably won't be out for longer than 2-3 hours I'm already starting to feel guilty about leaving Robbie even though I'm leaving him in the best of care with my parents.

In search for some help I've been reading a lot on this topic and talked with lots of people. Some are mothers and others aren't.

One thing I've found is that people are quick to comment on what a mother should be doing with well-meaning comments such as "He might be cold. Maybe you should wrap him in something warmer." or "He might be hungry. Maybe you should feed him". But people don't usually take the time to compliment a mother on what a great job she is doing.

I received a compliment yesterday from a mum who told me that I am a great mother to Robbie. That comment meant more to me than what she will probably realise.

So if you are reading this and know a new or not so new mum - please - take the time to tell her what a great job she is doing. I'm sure she will appreciate it!

Oh and same goes for the dads too, of course!







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