September 09, 2009

Guilt and Doubt: The Twin Party Poopers of Motherhood

Note (Sept. 10):  I do feel some amount of guilt about these things, but don't worry, I sleep just fine at night.  This is more about me venting about the way new mothers are made to feel even more doubtful and more guilty by all of the well-meant advice and books we subject ourselves to.

What is it about guilt and motherhood?  You try to leave the hospital all happy and guilt-free when, "Excuse me, ma'am?  I believe you forgot your guilt.  Here, we packed some extra for you."  I cried all the way home from the hospital because I couldn't believe they let us leave with her.  I mean, I forget things.  I drop things! 
Couldn't they tell how unprepared I was?!?

It's been almost three months now, and she seems to be surviving.  The guilt and doubt, however, are also growing.
  • I thought we were doing well trying to prevent a flat spot on her head, then I realized last night that her skull was getting crooked because she favors one side to sleep on.  I got her a sleep positioner to try to squish it back the other way before it gets too noticable.  Meanwhile I'm staring obsessively at her face to make sure that's not getting crooked, too.  Seriously, do we really need this grossly exaggerated illustration?  Is anyone going to let their baby's head get that misshapen?
  • I felt terrible for leaving her in her crib crying after she barfed all over me including down in my bra to the point that a shower was the only option for clean up.  So I showered really quickly and rocked her an extra long time to put her to sleep.  Then I drank a glass of wine.  Okay, two glasses.
  • She's been constipated and spitting up more than usual.  Is she allergic to soy, too?  Am I mixing the formula wrong?  Am I overfeeding?  Does she have some weird, terrible disease and I haven't taken her to the doctor yet?  Ack!!!
  • She likes her pacifier, but using it to keep her quiet means I'm slacking on comforting her in other ways.  Well, sometimes all that will comfort her is sucking on a hunk of rubber (but only the Soothie pacifier from the hospital).  We'll certainly get rid of it before she's talking, but for now it's a part of our lives.
  • I wussed out on breastfeeding, and now she apparently won't reach her full mental potential.  I suppose it probably would have gotten better, but I was dreading feeding my child.  I was crying almost as hard as she was because I couldn't stand the pain.  Now my wimpiness is going to ruin her life forever.  Well, maybe only most of it.  I did manage to give her mostly breast milk for the first 11 days or so.
  • Worst of all, I have to go back to work next week and she has to go to daycare.  I don't really want to go back and work, but I do miss interacting with other adult humans.  It will be a glorious day when I can have a conversation with someone besides Doug, Penny, my Mom or the dogs and babies aren't the main topic.  Of course that means I will have to regain the capability to think clearly about something besides babies.
Mommy and the Seven Dwarves
  • Guilty
  • Doubtful
  • Cranky
  • Exhausted
  • Dirty
  • Barfy
  • Poopy
Maybe there can be a Prince Charming-proof glass box and Mommy can just stay asleep?  Of course, that assumes there is a Prince Charming...

1 comment:

  1. Oh my, Christie, you are doing a wonderful job. What you are feeling is normal to all new mothers. Just know there are others who would love to give you a break or help if you need it. I hate giving unsolicited advice, especially about motherhood, but if it would make you feel any better... You aren't going to break her, these newborns are tiny but resilient little creatures. They also have a need to suck for the first few months and a pacifier is the best thing I can think of...supposed to reduce SIDS risk, too. You need your peace and rest in order to be the best mom you can be to Penny so if bottle feeding works best, who cares what anyone thinks about breastfeeding. Ryan spits a lot, too. In our case, the doc. said some babies just have a more sensitive tummy than others and as long as they are still growing at a healthy rate, they aren't worried about the spitting up. Most importantly, you know how to take care of your baby better than anyone else on this planet which is why they let you take her home! Trust your instincts and know you are not alone. Let us know if you need anything, we are almost always home and not going anywhere anytime soon! P.S. I envy and enjoy adult interaction, too! There are many times I wonder how great it would be to go back to work and if I would be a better parent if I weren't around them all the can't win either way.