Does anyone else suffer from mum guilt? Since Dylan has arrived I find myself feeling guilty for the littlest of things like wanting half an hour to myself for a soak in the bath or hoping he will have a nap in his cot so that I can make a cup of coffee with two hands!
Of course, there are the bigger things as well. I feel unbelievably guilty that I gave birth to him so early and wasn’t able to keep him safe for the whole 9 months that most babies get. I feel really angry that my body decided to make him come into the world before he was ready. It upsets me every time I think about those first few minutes after he was born when he was whisked off to the neonatal unit all alone. He must have felt so abandoned and scared. Luckily Mik was able to see him within half an hour but as I was rushed off for a general anaesthetic it was hours before I was able to visit him. I hate that he wasn’t able to spend his first hours and days having constant cuddles with mum and dad due to the incubator, and the fact that we had to leave him overnight for the first couple of weeks.
Then there is my breastfeeding guilt. I wrote here about our struggles with breastfeeding a few months ago. Right from the start I wanted to breastfeed but I’ve never quite managed to make enough milk to feed Dylan by myself. I’ve tried literally everything to increase my supply but it’s just not worked. Some days I feel guilty for not trying hard enough or pumping regularly enough, despite knowing that I’ve tried my hardest, but other days I feel guilty for trying to persevere with breastfeeding. Dylan has no problem taking formula from a bottle so maybe it would be better to switch permanently – at least then we would know he was getting enough?
Ultimately, I know I’m doing my best for Dylan and we’re doing the right thing – breastfeeding is the best feeling in the world and I know he likes it too as he will sit there happily even when there’s no milk left – but I’ve always got the guilt niggling at the back of my mind. What sort of mum can’t even feed her own child? It’s funny because I know that if anyone else told me they had been through the same thing, I would reassure them that they were doing an amazing job by giving their baby every drop of milk that they had, I just can’t seem to believe it about myself.
Dylan is already 6 months old. How has that happened? All the mum guilt in the world is worth the days I’m spending with him and his smiles and giggles make up for the sleepless nights and grizzly moments.