Mummy Guilt

June 13, 2016

I had a bit of a hard time last week. Thankfully I seem to have come out of it now (hopefully permanently!) but I just couldn’t shake some huge feelings of guilt.

Primarily, guilt over not feeding Little M from the breast. On Tuesday hubby and I went to a mother and baby group especially for new mothers and there were ladies there (quite naturally, of course) with their boobs out feeding their babies. I was not prepared for how this would affect me. I cried and cried, both while I was there (how embarrassing; the family support worker was lovely) and when I got home.

My lovely friend has been brilliantly supportive via Whatsapp and when I mentioned how bad I felt she replied, ‘No! Mummy guilt not allowed!’

Unfortunately, this didn’t quite have the desired effect and instead I started thinking about all of the other things I feel guilty about…

As well as the breastfeeding thing, I also feel guilty about the way Little M was delivered. I hoped and hoped that she would turn and I could have a natural birth (given my medical history a vaginal breech delivery was strongly advised against) but she didn’t and I ended up having a caesarean.

I know this was out of my control to a great extent, but I have been feeling hugely guilty about not having a natural delivery. This has been compounded by other pregnant and new mummy friends telling each other how amazing their bodies are when their labour starts. Yes, I know, they are amazing, but all I can think is that my body is pretty crap as it couldn’t get my baby into the right position for birth.

I expressed this recently in a mummy bloggers group and received a brilliant response which really helped to snap me out of my funk – ‘Jules, M won’t care whether she came out of your tummy or your foof!’ This was exactly what I needed to hear as I had been so busy comparing myself to other mums that I’d lost sight of what’s really important – what Little M thinks. I’m pretty sure she won’t care. So why should I?

I’ve also seen some other lovely friends who are combination feeding their babies or solely formula feeding, and it’s really helped me to ‘normalise’ formula feeding. I know breast is best but being fed is most important and sooner or later my supply is not going to keep up with Little M’s demands and I’ll have to combination feed. And you know what? It won’t be the end of the world. I’ll just have to read this post again at the time to remind myself of that!

Unfortunately, all of this came to a head on Thursday when I saw the midwife. Furthermore it was the same midwife who had a less than impressive way with words when I had a bleed at around 22 weeks of my pregnancy and told me there was ‘no point’ in me going in to delivery suite. Nice. She took my tearfulness as a clear sign of PND and told my husband, ‘if she goes downhill you need to phone Medicom straight away’. Thanks. Cue me then worrying I had PND and that I’d stop loving Little M. More tears.

To be honest I think most of it stemmed from my fear of hubby returning to work. Well, he’s had two days back now and we’ve survived. Admittedly, I’ve had help from my mother in law and parents on both days, but today I felt that I could have managed by myself as I got Little M into a sling and tried baby wearing for the first time which meant I could get things done and feel close to her.

In positive news, Little M was weighed at the end of our midwife appointment (perhaps she should have been weighed at the start and I wouldn’t have felt so crap for the whole session!) and she’s recovered her birth weight plus a little extra, so all the pumping is having an effect. She’s really upped her intake in the last 24 hours too so I’m sure she’ll chunk up even more – I just need to keep pumping to try to meet her demands!

mummy guilt, new parent, breastfeeding, caesarean

22 responses to “Mummy Guilt”

  1. Lucy says:

    Wow. She sounds a crap midwife. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you are doing M proud. Hang in there. As said – she doesn’t care where she came out and both of you being safe is more important so try not to let other people bother you (I know it’s hard). The C-sec club is for the cool kids X

  2. Kate says:

    I think every mum finds something (or a few things!) to feel guilty about The thing to remember is that there isn’t a single person on this planet who could be a better mum to little M – you are her mother and she needs you. The hows, whys and logistics don’t mean anything to her – as long as you are there for her then she’s got everything she needs.

  3. Melissa says:

    Lovely, you’ve had ‘baby blues’ perfectly natural for a few weeks after. I couldn’t talk about my c section for several months this without welling up, I still feel the odd pang of guilt now BUT nowhere near like I did. You will feel better about it. And you’re right about little M, she won’t care. I was a C section baby and I adore my mum, she’s my best friend. One day M will be saying that about you xxxxx

  4. Geraldine says:

    Oh you are a great mom and you’re doing fantastic. The world guilty us into thinking we’re not doing right by them or we should be doing this or that but honestly you’re doing great #marvmondays

  5. Oh lovely, you have been putting yourself through the wringer recently. That mummy guilt is just the worst at making us feel really rubbish about things that in the grand scheme, we shouldnt feel guilty about. You got some great advice which I completely agree with and that is that it doesnt matter how little M was born, and neither does it matter how she was/is fed. I know in the moment that these things do feel significant and really matter to us because in the moment they are everything, but 2, almost 3 years down the line its never mattered to anyone how my daughter was born or how she was fed. When you’re going through it I know it feels overwhelming and a huge deal, but once you come out the other side (as it sounds like you are starting to) you’ll realise that the most important thing is how little M is doing now and it sounds like she is doing great. Give yourself a break lovely, youre doing a great job 🙂 Emily x #MarvMondays

    • Jules says:

      Thank you. Yes I feel much better now. Hopefully it will continue! You’re right, I’m sure it will pale into insignificance soon! x

  6. Mrs H says:

    Oh bless you lovely. Mummy guilt is a terrible thing. Because deep inside you know that how you feel isn’t logical but the feelings can be overwhelming. That midwife sounds awful. I hope you don’t have to see her again. You are doing an amazing job. Your body did an amazing job because it grew a wonderful baby and no matter how Little M was born they are now here because of your awesomeness. Be kind to yourself lovely. You are doing a great job and you have so many people here to support you. Hugs Lucy xxxx

    • Jules says:

      Thanks Lucy. That’s a really good way of thinking about it – Little M is perfect (at least in my eyes!) so my body obviously did something right! x

  7. You know what, you’ve done the best thing in writing down your feelings rather than suffer in silence. Everything is so overwhelming with a newborn, anything can drive you to tears and there’s no logic! It doesn’t matter how M was born or how you feed her, she’s growing and she loves you. And don’t worry, you’ll feel normal again very soon, I promise!

    • Jules says:

      I think it’s the lack of sleep; it magnifies all feelings! Thank you, I do feel better for writing it down, and that’s the whole point of a blog, isn’t it?

  8. Helena says:

    Awww everyone is different. We all experience pregnancy and labour differently. Do not be hard on yourself and if you want to see someone who is better with words seek them out. Breastfeeding is not for everyone and it should not be thrust on us. We are really lucky to live in a country where we can feed our babies both. #MarvMondays

  9. Oh I really feel for you reading this post. Mummy guilt is horrible when it grips but it’s wonderful to hear that you are finding ways to cope and find the positive – I love the idea of the baby sling – you go rock that being a mummy positively lovely – sounds like you’re doing a grand job #MarvMondays

    • Jules says:

      Thank you, that’s really kind. I think I’ve come out of the funk now, thankfully! Feeling much better this week.

  10. Kaye says:

    You poor thing, I know exactly what you mean. I was able to breastfeed with my first but due to a lack of support, I gave up after 6 or so weeks and then immediately regretted it. Seeing Mum’s breastfeeding well into the second year after that always got me sobbing and wishing I’d tried harder, but of course, it’s important to remember that things happen for a reason and we can only do our best. Thanks for linking up to #MarvMondays xo

  11. Lizzie firstooth says:

    Feeling guilty is a completely normal part of motherhood and something I think we all feel everyday. But you poor thing, I really feel for you, it’s not a sign of weakness it’s a sign of strength. You and your bubba are safe and well and the first few weeks are always a whirlwind of emotions, it’s a huge change having a baby. You’re doing a fab job, just remember to treat yourself, every single day and don’t feel guilty. You deserve lots of positive energy! xx #marvmondays

    • Jules says:

      Thank you, that’s very kind! Things are getting easier, I think I’m finding my way a little more each day and finding the pleasure in my gorgeous little girl xx

  12. Mummy guilt is awful and I’m sorry to say doesn’t go away, 4 years in I still feel guilty! At the moment it’s all about introducing another baby into our family! Normally it’s around work or blogging and not being attentive enough! It sounds like you gave some really supportive friends though and brilliant news she’s over birth weight – you did all that! Now that really is amazing xx

  13. Oops should have said #MarvMondays

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