Are you struggling with the thousands of decisions and logistics that go into feeding your baby? Did you ever feel guilt about not wanting to breastfeed because it hurt too much? Or guilt about not being able to make enough milk? Do you feel guilty every time you walk past your pump and think, "I should pump or else I'm not going to keep making milk for my little one" but then thirteen thousand other things come between you and the pump and another 6 hours go by? Maybe you feel guilty that it seems everyone else can get their shit together and somehow manage the massive responsibility of keeping small humans alive with their boobs and you don't seem to be able to do it.
Guilt. Everyone talks about it, we've all felt it and most moms know guilt way too personally. But what is it? One definition I found online is from the Oxford Dictionary and it says guilt is "the fact of having committed a specified or implied offense or crime." Or from Merrian Webster: feelings of deserving blame especially for imagined offenses or from a sense of inadequacy. I think most of us tend to think of it as more of a feeling in relation to our ideas of what we thing we are supposed to do. But those pesky feelings are tricky! A therapist once told me that feelings aren't facts. Feelings are simply messengers to help us get past the emotionality of something to the actual issue. But when we give those feelings more power than they deserve, we can get stuck.
When you are struggling to breastfeed because of pain have you committed an offense or are you inadequate?!? No, it can really hurt, dang it! If you are taking care of a small person all day with their twenty thousand feeds and diaper changes and crying and finding it difficult to pee yourself, feed yourself, wash the sleeps out of our eyes, ( LET ALONE PUMP!), are you inadequate because there's not enough time in the day?!? Hell no! Your value has NOTHING to do with the number of hours in the day. When your goal was to exclusively breastfeed and you are offering formula and you feel guilty about it, have you committed a crime? No! YOU ARE FEEDING YOUR BABY!!! You've simply deviated from what you thought you were going to do.
Course correction is necessary in life. Its what keeps us safe and helps us continue moving forward. It's not the end of the world when we end up doing things differently than the way we envisioned. It may feel like we have failed, like we aren't good enough or that we didn't try hard enough but feelings rarely are facts. The truth is that if you didn't care you wouldn't even be feeling these things (think psychopaths!). The fact that you care and are allowing yourself to feel all the things means you are cutting yourself some slack. Feel the feelings but then STOP. Sift through and allow the actual STORY to unfold. Ask yourself, "Is what I am doing today helping me get my needs met for rest, connection, peace of mind, a little breathing room, etc? How am I being a great (or even a totally good-enough!) mom to my little one RIGHT NOW?"
Life is too hard, parenthood is too hard, BABIES are too hard, it can all be too hard. There is NO ROOM for unnecessary guilt. The next time you find guilt knocking on your new mom heart, tell guilt "thank you for reminding me of my original goal, and today I am doing _____ because it is working for me now and goals are constantly changing."
What decisions were made harder for you because of guilt? Were you able to move past the guilt to allow other feelings and thoughts to take priority? How so? Share your #milkwellbewell experiences in the comments or on social media so other new parents like you can feel the #milkwelllactation community. Post your photos of how you feed well (bottle, pump, human milk, formula milk, at breast supplementer etc with #howimilkwell and/or #milkwellorbust.
Jen loves helping moms feel well, babies get fed well, and teaching through humor.
Established clients log in:
© Oxytocin Enterprises LLC 2020