There are so many emotions you experience when you have a baby, but I think the biggest one is guilt.
There is so much pressure on new mums, with regards to how they choose to look after their babies, and everyone seems to want to share their so called advice and opinion.
This starts right after labour. It may sound silly, but I found when I was pregnant I was looking forward to Aria’s arrival so much, I didn’t really think about the reality of how much our lives would change once she was here.
A prime example of this is breast feeding. As Aria was a forceps delivery and had to be taken to special care when she was born, I didn’t get the chance to breast feed straight away. From the start Aria had trouble latching on (most likely due to her delivery and the fact she was uncomfortable) and the first three weeks were a real struggle. After one horrendous night of attempting to get her to feed for three hours, we finally decided to put her on the bottle. This was not an easy decision as I felt like I was failing her, and I would be judged – by family, health visitors and even strangers – for not sticking with it.
I now realise how ridiculous this was as, not only did it save my sanity as I knew how much Aria was having, she seemed much happier and more content.
For the first three weeks Aria had the best possible start and for us, putting her on the bottle made so much sense.
Of course, breast feeding isn’t the only thing I’ve felt guilty about in the last three months. If Aria cries when we’re out, for some bizarre reason I feel guilty. This isn’t made any easier when complete strangers offer their opinion such as – “Is she hungry?” No, I am not starving my child!
If she’s asleep on me and I have to put her down to, god forbid, go to the loo, I feel guilty if she gets upset! If we’re out and we go ten minutes past her feed time, I feel guilty. If she cries in the night and I don’t wake, meaning my husband gets up to feed her, I feel guilty. The list is endless!
I now realise, this is probably going to continue for the next eighteen years (or more!) if I don’t give myself a break. And to be honest, as mums (and dads) that is what we all need to do to stay sane.
There isn’t a text book way to parent. You’re going to make mistakes. The important thing is to move on and not feel guilty, because even if you do put a nappy on backwards (in the early weeks!) your baby doesn’t care and won’t remember. As long as you give them your love, everything else will take care of itself.
Thanks for reading.