I don’t think any parent in this world is completely satisfied with their way of child rearing. Like every parent, I do my hardest to provide the best care for Em. With plethora of child rearing opinions we see and hear from others, I always end up second guessing myself on how I’m doing as a mother. Sometimes, we just need to shut the door on those judgments and opinions and be okay with the choices we make on how to raise our children.
Of course, it took me a while to come to terms with my own mommy guilt. And to be completely honest, I still have moments when I feel like I should have done more. For example, breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is such a hot topic. It was one of the hardest mommy guilt I had to overcome. I never second guessed on being able to breastfeed when I was pregnant, we all know breastfeeding is what’s best for the baby. I looked forward to being able to breastfeed and having those special moments shared between just me and Em. However, I didn’t get to have those special moments for as long as I had hoped. When Em was born, she latched on almost immediately the first time we tried nursing. It was absolutely amazing, and I still vividly remember that first time. I felt like I was doing what I’m supposed to be doing as a mom, providing for my baby. Then with her surgery and stay in NICU, we had to bottle feed her for a while since she couldn’t feed on demand. We had to regulate her breast milk intake until her intestines were working properly. I pumped every 3 hours to feed her breast milk. When she came home from the hospital, she had a really hard time latching on. We went to see a lactation specialist, used the nipple shield, and it just wasn’t working. Em was cranky at feeding because she wasn’t getting enough and as fast as she would with bottles. Even with pumping, my supply eventually decreased. I tried Fenugreek pills, lactation cookies, drank tons of water and Gatorade, but I guess it was inevitable that my supply dried up since I wasn’t being consistent with nursing. After almost 3 months of feeding her breast milk, I decided to let it go, and we transitioned to exclusive formula feeding. It took me a while to be okay with this decision. But with the support around me, I eventually came to terms with it because all that mattered was that she was being fed. She was happy and full, and most importantly, I was still doing my job as a mother being able to provide her with food. It may not be in the form of breast feeding and breast milk, but she was growing and healthy, and that’s all that mattered.
Speaking of still being able to provide for her in other ways like buying formula (stupidly expensive), another mommy guilt I felt was being a full time working mom. While pregnant with Em, I always knew I’d return to work after my maternity leave. I didn’t think twice on it because I loved my job and the career I had. What didn’t occur to me is how I’d really feel once I had Em. I’m sure a lot of it had to do with being vulnerable from all the outrageous hormones in my body from giving birth, but I was SUPER emotional about going back to work. 3 months of maternity leave was way too short and the thought of leaving a helpless baby in someone else’s care was heartbreaking! It was ESPECIALLY tough when Em cried for me when I had to leave her with her nanny for the first week back to work. Rightfully, she was probably scared, it was a complete stranger both to her and me to trust! Although, I’m lucky to be able to work from home where I could still check-in on her when necessary, it was still extremely tough to be away from her 8 hours a day. And to be honest, at 6 months postpartum, I still feel the guilt of being a full time working mother. She spends most of her wake time with her nanny and not me. A part of me wish that I could be a stay-at-home mom, but I know that’s not the reality right now, and I have to make the best out of our situation. I’m just super glad to have found a nanny I can trust, and Em definitely likes her a lot which is a relief. The struggle of juggling work, being a woman, a mom and a wife is real. My home is never nearly as clean as I would like it to be, and I feel like I’m always a hot mess. But at the same time, I’m grateful to be able to contribute financially to our family. Because that means Em and our future children can grow up without feeling the financial burden.
Though there are a lot of things in our ideal world we wish could transfer to our real world, you make the best out of your current situation. I think the most important thing is to be content with what you currently have. Despite the mom guilt I feel sometimes, I truly love who I am at this time in my life – a full time working career woman, mom and wife. 🙂