When it comes to motherhood, you experience many emotions. Mothers experience happiness, sadness, anger, defeat and many more. What’s even worse is that we often experience all of these emotions at once. I particularly struggled with guilt this past week.
I just got back from spending vacation with my family in Sea Grove, Florida. It was the first time that my husband and I had taken Emilia anywhere that wasn’t close by. She was absolutely perfect. She handled the car ride, being tossed around by her grandparents and cousins constantly, and her different surroundings like a champ. I couldn’t of been anymore proud of my baby girl. Unfortunately, my little girl just happened to be going thru a growth spurt. She is 4 months old and has obviously hit that time in her life where milk just doesn’t keep her full long so Emilia nursed. She nursed a lot.
Emilia nursed for what seemed like every 2 hours and sometimes in less intervals. She nursed on the beach, at the pool, at the restaurant where I ate with my family, in the car, literally everywhere. I was exhausted from breastfeeding. My nipples hurt. I felt like my boobs were hanging to the floor. I was stressed out from thinking about how much milk I had in me and if it was enough. It finally got to the point of me almost being mad at her because I just needed a break.
One particular night, I sat in my room nursing Emilia for what seemed to be the fiftieth time that day and I cried. I cried because I felt guilty. Why the guilt? I was angry at my child for simply needing more of me. I felt guilty because I just needed a break. I felt guilty for feeling all of the feelings that I had within me. Guilt overcame me and I began thinking of what terrible mother that I am because I desperately needed a break from doing something that I love for my baby and that provides her nourishment. In that moment, guilt was eating me alive.
Why do mothers carry the weight of the world on our shoulders? How come we feel the need to wear so many hats while wearing a smile on our face at the same time? Why is it that the moment that a mother isn’t wearing her “life is perfect” hat, she automatically feels like a failure?
Later that night, I kissed my baby girl goodnight and watched her sleep. It occurred to me that my baby doesn’t need me to be perfect for her. She will one day understand that everyone has their own breaking point (she will have hers too.) One day she will be nursing her baby girl, secretly begging for a break and I will be there to tell her that it’s ok to feel that way.
Embrace Your Mother Guilt
Guilt is neither helpful nor productive. You cannot run or hide from it. So what do you do? Embrace it. Be thankful that you feel guilt because guess what? If you feel the mother guilt then you feel love. I felt so much guilt for simply thinking of my own wants which is something I never do since I became a mother. Guilt was telling me that I am not allowed to think of myself and should only think of my daughter. Guilt makes me think that I am a bad mother if I think of my own needs, if everything is not perfect, or if I dare show anything but a smile on my face. However, guilt is showing me how much love I have in my heart for my daughter. I have so much love that I cannot even think of me. Guilt reminds me of the sacrifices I make for my Emilia. Guilt proves to me that I don’t have a selfish bone in my body.
So thank you guilt. Thank you for proving to me that I am a good mother. Thank you for showing me that even in times that I feel like I am failing, I am actually rocking this thing called motherhood.
I challenge all of you amazing mothers to embrace your guilt.You deserve it.