28.01.18

Sixteen weeks today.
Sixteen whole weeks since this little madam arrived.
Sixteen whole weeks of love.

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‘Mum Guilt.’

Urban dictionary define this as ‘guilt a mother feels anytime she takes time to do something for herself, outside of work, that does not involve her children.’

This is exactly the way I felt this weekend when we spent the first night away from Liv since she’s been born….
It wasn’t so long ago when I literally spent every night feed longing for a night away where I could sleep through the night without being disturbed by a whimpering baby/bed-hogging dog/loud as f*@k white noise toy….
My husband and I booked a hotel for the end of January a couple of months back. We thought that she’d be old enough by that time that we’d feel ok to leave her for a night.
Unfortunately, it was much later that I realised that Liv would be 32 by the time I felt ‘ready’ to leave her.
It was probably the best thing though, that we did have it booked as it gave us no choice – mainly because we’re skint and it was too much money to waste by not going.
We had a fantastic night where we ate well, shopped in peace and drank a fair bit. We even lasted until half 10 before we were snoring our heads off in our (too) quiet room!
It was the best feeling in the world picking her up the next
morning. She was so well looked after, I had no worries in that sense, I just missed her like crazy.
It’s so important for parents to have some ‘me time’ away from their children, a chance to relax and recharge – after all, you can’t pour from an empty cup. I also think it’s important for babies to get used to other people and not just being with mum and dad 24/7.
So, if this was my opinion, then where the hell was all this guilt coming from?!

I’d actually been having a pretty tough time with the whole guilt thing in general this last little while…..

From the everyday things such as when my husband offers to take her and do the early morning feed…..
I feel guilty because he’ll end up knackered for work the next day. Or when my mother in law offers to take her for a couple of hours so I can get things done….
I feel guilty because I feel like I should be managing to do everything despite having a baby around.

More seriously though, I mentioned in previous blogs about Liv and her reflux. It was suggested that she had CMPA and was put on prescription milk for that. It was like night and day when she started it, I genuinely could not believe the difference in her – she’d went from thrashing around, squealing after every feed to sitting there comfortably, bringing her wind up like one of those perfect TV babies you see.
Unfortunately, the old symptoms started to return after a while and I felt at a bit of a loss. Thankfully she had a hospital appointment the next day which cleared up a lot in our mind – the consultant explained to us that it’s par for the course for babies with true allergies to experience a return of symptoms on this particular formula as it still has milk proteins in it. A lot of babies can tolerate it as it’s so broken down but some babies just cant. Unfortunately Liv was one of those babies that couldn’t. We were prescribed a different formula, this time amino acid based so she shouldn’t experience any ill effects from it
I was happy that we had something else to try, that will hopefully be the end of her pain, but the amount of guilt I’ve felt with this whole situation is unbelievable….
Guilt that she goes through this and that I can’t do anything to help or take it away.
Guilt that we’ve trialed her on all this different medication and formulas that sometimes worsen her symptoms.
Even guilt that I’ve caused this somehow?

This spiralled into thoughts of how her prematurity has caused this and I feel guilty that my body couldn’t carry her until full term. Guilty that i somehow caused her early birth. Guilty that I never looked after myself and therefore her, well enough during my pregnancy….

In my rational mind, I know that i can’t be blamed for a lot (if any) of these things, but in my ‘mum’ mind, I’m guilty of it all.
Mum’s (and probably some dad’s) have a terrible habit of internalizing all their doubts/fears/worries/guilt relating to motherhood in fear of others seeing them as failures. This would never be the case – all of my mummy friends have come across problems at some point along the way and some have been brave enough to be vocal about it. I have never once seen them as ‘failures’ – instead, I see them as brilliant mums, wanting what’s best for their child. If we all started being a bit more forthcoming when we’re struggling then it might remove the stigma of it and make people realise that no mum is perfect, despite what you see. No one should feel guilty for struggling a little bit at times and absolutely no parent should feel like they’re alone during this journey.
After all, it takes a village to raise a baby…..

Fortunately, I have an amazing ‘village’ around me to remind me that I’m doing a good job and that I’m doing the best I can. This definitely helps alleviate the majority of the mums guilt that I experience and reminds me that there are a lot of things that i just shouldn’t feel guilty about. Which is pretty amazing.

And the one thing I refuse to feel guilty for? Demolishing a whole bag of share size sweeties in an hour.
Aint nobody got time to feel guilty for that…. 😉

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