There’s no “right” way to be a mother.
I see it a lot and if you’re a mom, I’m almost 100% certain you’ve faced this yourself. Mom Guilt. Regardless of what its trigger was (or is), there’s been at least one time in the duration of your motherhood that you’ve felt guilty. Just last night, I felt guilty because I didn’t give the baby unlimited time at the boob. It was 2am and I was exhausted. I just wanted sleep and I figured he had eaten enough as he was drifting in and out of sleep and thus active and passive nursing. He started to snooze and as I pulled him off of the breast, he tried to start nursing again but instead of letting him continue, I gave him his pacifier instead. As I laid him down in his crib, I felt an instant pang of guilt.
What if he’s still hungry? I thought as I crawled into my bed. I didn’t dare put him back on the boob though. I knew he’d start suckling again and I just needed to sleep. I put myself first and felt terrible about it… but why? I knew he was fed and that he was most likely nursing for comfort at that point. Rationally, I knew he’d be just fine, but I felt so guilty.
Why are we as mothers so willing to put blame on ourselves when we’re trying the best we can? Being a mom – a parent in general, is hard. There’s no need to add to the pressure by making ourselves feel like terrible caregivers or to doubt ourselves.
I see a lot of moms who struggle with doing what feels right to them. You may be one of them. I know I am. Some moms feel terrible about their inability or their lack of desire to nurse their children. They feel wracked with guilt over choosing to pump instead because latching hurts. Some feel horrible about the decision to give formula instead of breastmilk. Some feel attacked for their decisions when it comes to cloth diapering vs. using disposables or following a BLW approach vs. going the traditional route. There’s always something that moms are being attacked for whether by outside forces or themselves.
Social media makes it so much worse. Mothers get ripped to shreds over their stances on things both controversial and not. These moms aren’t facing the opinion of one or two that oppose them either, they’re getting hundreds of replies that make them feel as if their decision is not a valid one. Regardless of whether I agree with your stance or not, I know you’re trying to do what is best for your child. Sometimes we just have differences.
We’re all just doing the best we can. We’re all choosing to care for our little ones in the way that we feel most confident in. We’re trying.
Cut us some slack.