Tag Archives: mom guilt

I’m OK, You’re OK

1 Feb

So I have to thank my friend Lisa Dvorak at Housewife Hon for inspiring me to write again. Well, maybe the competitive edge in me came out. Lisa stays home all day, every day with her 2 1/2 year old and 7 month old. Lisa is hands on in every sense of the word, and makes all of us fellow playgroup moms look bad by making fun crafts and then having time to blog about it. She has managed to post like 10 times already in January. Her most recent post is about cleaning toddler poop up from the carpet, on her hands and knees, WHILE SHE BREASTFED HER INFANT AT THE SAME TIME IN THE ERGO CARRIER. You read that correctly. I would have been sobbing in a corner on the phone to my mother or husband, baby screaming from hunger. But I digress….

Where to pick up? Seeing as how I have both my kids parked in front of Dora the Explorer, I estimate I have three minutes to write. So, uh, yeah I got pregnant, was sick for three months (If Kate Middleton was a 10, I was a 9), lost my job, moved to the suburbs in the middle of a Baltimore summer (AGAIN) and had my cutie pie Gus William on December 1st. Okay, so you’re caught up.

Well, I guess not quite. This blog started out as something to discuss fertility, and slowly walk you through my journey of having Beatrice. Then I got pregnant again (not through fertility… oops!) What many people don’t know is that I suffered Post Partum Depression very badly with Beatrice and somewhat again with Gus.

Maybe this is a post for another time, but if you’ve had PPD, or even a touch of baby blues, you and I are sympatico and we share the war wounds. If not, you are one of the lucky ones that my friends and I secretly make fun of, because newborns are like ZERO fun on a good day. Just kidding, hahaha, seriously though you were lucky and probably have a sunny outlook on life all the time. So I won’t get into how it felt, how I got help, etc. That’s an important story but, again, for another time.

When going back to my Doctor for a check up recently she asked me if I would accompany her on an upcoming psychiatry lecture to med students. She was going to be discussing Post Partum Depression and wanted someone who had experienced it to be there with her to talk to the group and answer questions. She said she knew I would be “brutally honest.” LOL. I was more than happy to do this! I feel like everything happens for a reason, and if I could possibly help one person who will eventually become a doctor go on to help another person, then it was worth it. I mean it was worth it to have my kids and all, but you know what I mean.

It was an auditorium full of med students and my doctor and I basically walked through my history… having Beatrice, taking her home and feeling full on as though my life was over as I knew it. Getting help, getting better, having another baby…

But I wish I had talked about one other thing.  As a doctor treating someone with PPD, I think its important for them to understand, contextually, what it means to be a parent today.  And that is, that we are wayyyyy too hard on ourselves.  From the minute a woman gets pregnant, she wants to do it better than her own mother and instantly starts making mental notes of what she knows she’ll NEVER do as a parent (wink, wink).  And when we give birth, we immediately feel we aren’t doing enough, should be doing something better, bigger, more spectacular.   We don’t spend enough time with them, they watch too much TV, we haven’t done the baby book yet,  they haven’t learned to swim or missed out on immersion Mandarin classes. Why do we do this to ourselves?   Where does all the guilt come from?

I couldn’t articulate this any better than the blogger, Pregnant Chicken.  She wrote about Why You’re Never Failing as a Mother and a good friend passed it along.   Honestly this article sums it up for me, and I want every pregnant woman to read it!

Its important, I believe, when trying to understand a new mom’s feeling of depression, to know that she has just been thrust into this new competitive world of parenting. She’s been preparing for motherhood her whole life, and now that she’s finding its terribly hard, she feels like a failure.  She sees all these other super moms around her (who are actually feeling the same insecurities, she’ll later go on to find).  The pressure to breastfeed (breastmilk is best!), feed organically, to co-sleep or not to co-sleep, to make sure your child doesn’t lay eyes on a television screen  more than 10 minutes a month…. this new mom feels the pressure, and feels guilt for not enjoying EVERY SINGLE MINUTE of her newborn child as everyone says she should.

They only make “Congratulations” cards for new moms, so that must mean I should be constantly feeling on cloud nine, right?  They don’t make cards that tell the truth: “You are about to fall in love like you never thought possible, but it may not happen for you right away and you are still a good mom if it doesn’t.  It is the hardest thing you’ll ever do, and you will not get much gratification for your efforts at first.  I am here if you need a hug.  Oh yeah, and you will sleep again, just not for a few months.”

Take it easy on yourself, Mom.  You are doing great.  And, what your child needs most–more than breastmilk, a natural birth, organic carrots or violin lessons– is a happy, healthy, semi well-rested mom.

Mom support line

12 Sep

Milk is delicious from a cup!

There should be a support line of some sort for moms when we need a quick pep talk. I don’t mean like a health-related, or nursing support line (thankfully those DO exist).

I mean when we’re having a moment of Mom guilt and need to hear from another mom that we’re doing the right thing, its not so bad, etc etc. I was really blindsided tonight. I am not one to feel much of the aforementioned Mom Guilt. MG eludes me in most cases. Doctor’s visits, shots, blood draws, sick baby, leaving for work, taking something away when its time for bed–none of it really ever gave me pause.  I hear other moms say how they cried when their baby had shots, or had to have their husbands there, and the feeling is just foreign to me.  I guess Beatrice should to get some credit here. She does fairly well with doctor visits.  But, really, I thought I was immune to the MG.  If you don’t feel bad when they are blood letting your child, when can you feel bad?

But tonight was our first night going bottle-less. We just switched to whole milk. That’s been going ok so far (save for a little, umm, plumbing tweak here and there). My doctor said we really could wait until as old as 18 months to be done with bottles, but I figured, hey, we don’t really need them now, they are a pain, she likes her sippy cups. Let’s just do it.  Yeah!  Let’s do it!

So tonight, instead of her bottle in the cozy dark in the rocky-rock with Mom or Dad, she got a quick story, a little snuggle time and BOOM, was plopped cold-hearted into the crib with nary a drop. Mind you, she wasn’t thirsty, she had three cups of milk today and some water.  I’m not THAT cruel.

But she wailed for like 30 minutes! I felt terrible. I took away yet another part of her being a baby and replaced it with something more grown up. (Oh, she’s still crying, I stand corrected). *sigh*

Was I being greedy? Should I have just been happy with the milk for another month and weaned the bottles more slowly? Would that have killed anyone?

..okay… its really not slowing down…. I’m taking a sip of beer. I guess I’ll give her another few minutes and make sure she hasn’t thrown herself out of the crib. *Double sigh*

Maybe this is a good sign.  I was beginning to wonder if I was just heartless, what with the absence of MG in my life.  So, maybe this is just a sign that I do have a little compassion.  #Silverlining?

I promised some backstory to how we came to have the lovely Beatrice in this post, but our bottle-less evening has changed my plans. More later.

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