Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Mommy Guilt

I am forcing myself to sit and write.  To write through the blahs I feel and the distractions that exist elsewhere on the internet.

We had to take Natalie back to the doctor yesterday.  We've been battling an ear infection and lung congestion since Spring Break and have been through two rounds of antibiotics and numerous breathing treatments.  But honestly, if the doctor hadn't checked her ears awhile back we never would have known since she's a pretty agreeable child - even when sick.  She's had two rounds of steroid shots to try and knock out the ear infection and we're starting an allergy/asthma breathing medication today to see if we can combat the congestion and wheezing.  

And all of this makes me feel guilty.

Guilty that I didn't breastfeed her long enough and she didn't receive all the good antibodies she would need to fight off this ear infection and keep us out of the doctor's office.

Guilty that Craig and I chose to induce labor a week early in order to save my sanity but in the end perhaps we didn't allow her lungs adequate time to develop and this congestion is a result of that decision.

Those are some pretty heavy things that have been weighing on my heart lately.

And on the really bad nights, those two simple "mommy guilts" turn into full on panic - I made selfish decisions to quit breastfeeding and induce labor too early.  I am a selfish person.  Selfish people should not be mothers, which leads to the hardest one...

I shouldn't have become Natalie's mother.

And down the rabbit hole we go.

Craig has done his best to assure me that everything wrong in our little universe is not, despite how I might feel, ALL MY FAULT.  He has terrible, awful allergies and spends much of the first ten minutes after he wakes up in the mornings coughing and congested.  How we have done our best to combat her issues with the medical advice and prescriptions that have been given to us.  

But he doesn't quite understand the power of motherly guilt.  From the moment a woman finds out that she is pregnant, there is a barrage of information on how what to eat, how to sleep, what to buy and above all things DON'T EAT NUTS, FISH, SANDWICH MEAT AND NEVER CONSUME COFFEE OR ANY OTHER CAFFEINE.

And don't forget to swaddle, use cloth diapers, never put them down, scratch that - you MUST let them cry it out and self soothe, breastfeed for at least six months but still go back to work and provide for your family, absolutely no pacifiers....well maybe if they need comfort, make your own organic baby food but don't introduce it TOO early for fear of childhood obesity and don't forget to purchase only wooden toys that were made in the USA far from the reaches of China's lead poisoning.

Yikes.  The message that is put out there to pregnant and new mothers is that if you don't follow a specific course of parenting (and there are LOTS of choices out there!).......you obviously don't love your child and therefore your child is doomed.

And there are many women out there that receive that message, analyze it and brush it off like it ain't no big thing.  They find it so easy to say "to-may-to" while the other side is saying "to-mah-to" and that's that.  You have your opinion on childrearing and I have mine.  I'm going to raise my child the best way I see fit and not think another thing about it.

I am not this person.

For whatever reason, I feed into the hype.  Of COURSE I want to give my child the best start in life.  Of COURSE I want her to be healthy and connected to myself and her father.  Of COURSE I want her to be age-appropriately sensory and creatively stimulated.  As any mother that loves their child, why wouldn't I want those things for her?  I'm a data and facts driven person who doesn't always trust herself.  So if other people have research to back up their claims whereas I just have "my mother did things this way" then that causes a conundrum for me.

I don't really know where this post is going at this point in time.  I honestly did not set out for this to be a diatribe about my anxiety when it comes to parenting my daughter.  I'm not demeaning or denouncing any other woman's choices when making parenting decisions for their child.  I'm actually a little jealous of those women to whom decision making come easy.  Who actually don't sweat the small stuff.  Who can make their choice, see others making different choices and not continually question or beat themselves up over it.  

Ugh.  Enough whining already, right?!

Alright.  I'm shutting this down before I truly dig myself a hole that I can't climb out of.  I (tentatively) promise that the next post will something uplifting and incredibly inspiring.

1 comment:

Dana at StrawberryTart! said...

Hi! I am visiting from Kelly's Korner. I have a seven month old and still struggle with the breast feeding guilt - we lasted 2 1/2 months. I have one of those dream mother in-laws who breast fed all four sons until they were one - that makes me feel bad. I understand what you are going through and wish I had advice, but don't - sorry.