Dropping the Guilt

Five years ago I dropped the Guilt.  I stopped judging myself.  I stopped criticizing myself.  And others.  I stopped blaming myself for sleepless nights, deviations from a strict feeding schedule and shabby weight gain.  Five years ago, I let go of rigidity, pressure and stress.  I embraced the sleepless nights.  I welcomed the midnight feedings and relished in all day (and night) cuddles.  I gave up trying desperately to be the pre-baby person I used to be.  I began being a Mama.  Which is really kind of ridiculous considering I already had been for nearly three years prior…

I had planned for a natural delivery with my oldest but he apparently had a bad sense of direction and when he refused to point his head north, we ended up with a c-section with 6 days notice.  The first blow to Mama’s self esteem.  His means of entrance into this world was also the birth of Guilt.  Deep, self-loathing, ugly Guilt.  Poor latching issues, coupled with slow weight gain, compounded by a steady stream of well-meaning guests seemed like good places to point blame in the those early months of stress; however, I could only credit them with supporting roles.   I looked at the plastic faces of mothers smiling with their eyes closed as they held half-naked babies on the diaper package.  I kind of hated them.  How could they be so happy with this?  Why don’t I feel like that?

I was kind of a crappy Mama to my sweet first child.  I certainly could have been worse- there was no neglect, no shortage of snuggles, playtime or love.  But I could have been happier.  I could have done it better.  I could have lived in the moment instead of thinking ahead to the next.  And judging myself every step of the way.  Coulda, woulda, shoulda.

I had missed the boat on happiness and I would be damned if I was going to do it again.  Call it a new outlook, confidence, or chance.  Call it rebounding from a devastating miscarriage.  Call it relief from a stressful, agonizing pregnancy.  Call it what you want but something inside me clicked.  With the birth of my second child, I really became a Mama.  I started to enjoy being a Mama.  I stopped fighting the warmth of cuddling a baby while the whole world happened around.  I threw out the schedules (and the books), let go of the nightly bath routine (seriously, what was my hang-up with that?) and kicked that ugly bitch called Guilt to the curb.  And now, I am a better Mama.

Five years ago, my Mooch was born.  I honestly had never known a greater feeling.  He taught me to be a softer, more patient Mama to my oldest and prepared me for the insanity of my youngest (and holy shit, insanity is a gross understatement).  I am inspired by his love for life and his willingness to welcome changes; his openness to unconditional love.

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His fifth birthday also marks the death of Mama Guilt.  The Guilt still makes plenty of guest appearances, haunting me at the first sign of insecurity; lurking, waiting for weakness.  When Guilt rears up, ready to pounce, I carefully, diligently fold her back up, put the lid on her box and place her back up on the top shelf of the closet and close the door.  I put her away.  In the dark.  Where I never want to be again.

This year, as I wish my sweet Mooch a delightful fifth birthday, I also celebrate the death of Mama Guilt.  Peace Mamas.

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2 thoughts on “Dropping the Guilt

  1. I am so happy you commented on my blog because now I am reading yours and loving it! I am really struggling with guilt these days. I didn’t have it with my first… but with two I feel like I can never love them both enough and it’s eating away at me. If my toddler is watching cartoons because I need to breastfeed I feel guilty, if my infant is in her bouncy chair because I need to play I feel guilty…I really have to start letting go of this and start enjoying the moment. Thanks for this post.

    • I felt such guilt about these things. However, I have adopted a new mantra: Resilient parent have resilient children. Breathe. You are a really good Mama, a gift to your children. Your feelings of guilt (however unnecessary) are indications that you are a dedicated mother. Take some of the pressure of yourself, send out that check to PBS and pour yourself a glass of vino. You deserve it 🙂 Thanks for reading my blog! I thoroughly enjoy yours as well. Peace, Mama!

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