Mummy Guilt – a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some wrong – whether real or imagined – stemming from one’s position as a mother. (Mama Nate’s definition)
Synonyms of “guilt” include: error, failing, fault and regret.
In the 18 months that I’ve been Mama Nate, I’ve experienced ‘mummy guilt’ about a number of things.
Below is a list of some of the main areas I’ve experienced it. (There are others but I’m keeping this brief.)
Whilst pregnant I had decided that I was going to try and breastfeed. The ‘breast is best’ brigade were out in force so the worry started from then.
When The Boy was born and my milk came through, nothing prepared me for the pain. I pressed on regardless and somehow he latched on. During the first month, my mummy guilt was very strong. I was upset that it was so painful and I remember thinking how will I last the day let alone manage to breastfeed exclusively for six months.
Then the guilt would worsen when I thought of moving to formula. The pressure to breastfeed is intense but some babies and mums just can’t do it. I think mums should be encouraged to know that it’s not the end of the world if they can’t breastfeed for any reason.
Thankfully, things got better and The Boy thrived on my milk alone. Then mummy guilt came back when I decided to stop breastfeeding at 8 months. I was going back to work and I didn’t want to be expressing. Different people told me different ages that I should be stopping. However, I did what was best for my situation and reasoned that I had tried for longer than I initially thought possible.
2. Working full time
I work full time but I am not my own boss (yet).
Returning to work from maternity leave was probably one of the hardest things for me to do. The mummy guilt was in FULL FORCE. I didn’t want to leave my son. It was as simple as that. I had never imagined myself as a stay-at-home and I knew I was going to return to work someday, but I just wasn’t ready. I was anxious about missing milestones and how Nate would cope without me.
The reality was he coped just fine and I didn’t miss out on too much.
Thanks to technology, I received picture and video updates and was able to video call during my lunch breaks.
I had the support of Papa Nate, my mum and sisters and they helped me see that I shouldn’t feel guilty for going back to work before my son had turned one.
3. Shopping for myself
We all know that babies are expensive. It was like I had a button in my head that was activated the moment I found out I was pregnant. Everything I saw was about babies. Though I knew I wanted to be fashionable (or at least decent looking) during my pregnancy, every time I thought about shopping, I felt guilty. I’d think of what I could use that equivalent amount on – nappies, wipes, clothes etc.
The mummy guilt got worse when Nate arrived as everything seemed like a luxury to me. It wasn’t even as if I was feeling guilty because I wanted to save money, it was more a feeling of “now you have a child you have to spend all your money on him”.
I’m pleased to say that those feelings have passed. Mummies need treats, and they need basics too!! And so do daddies. 😉
Now I enjoy guilt-free (online) shopping for both Nate and I.