I had a bit of a hard time last week. Thankfully I seem to have come out of it now (hopefully permanently!) but I just couldn’t shake some huge feelings of guilt.
Primarily, guilt over not feeding Little M from the breast. On Tuesday hubby and I went to a mother and baby group especially for new mothers and there were ladies there (quite naturally, of course) with their boobs out feeding their babies. I was not prepared for how this would affect me. I cried and cried, both while I was there (how embarrassing; the family support worker was lovely) and when I got home.
My lovely friend has been brilliantly supportive via Whatsapp and when I mentioned how bad I felt she replied, ‘No! Mummy guilt not allowed!’
Unfortunately, this didn’t quite have the desired effect and instead I started thinking about all of the other things I feel guilty about…
As well as the breastfeeding thing, I also feel guilty about the way Little M was delivered. I hoped and hoped that she would turn and I could have a natural birth (given my medical history a vaginal breech delivery was strongly advised against) but she didn’t and I ended up having a caesarean.
I know this was out of my control to a great extent, but I have been feeling hugely guilty about not having a natural delivery. This has been compounded by other pregnant and new mummy friends telling each other how amazing their bodies are when their labour starts. Yes, I know, they are amazing, but all I can think is that my body is pretty crap as it couldn’t get my baby into the right position for birth.
I expressed this recently in a mummy bloggers group and received a brilliant response which really helped to snap me out of my funk – ‘Jules, M won’t care whether she came out of your tummy or your foof!’ This was exactly what I needed to hear as I had been so busy comparing myself to other mums that I’d lost sight of what’s really important – what Little M thinks. I’m pretty sure she won’t care. So why should I?
I’ve also seen some other lovely friends who are combination feeding their babies or solely formula feeding, and it’s really helped me to ‘normalise’ formula feeding. I know breast is best but being fed is most important and sooner or later my supply is not going to keep up with Little M’s demands and I’ll have to combination feed. And you know what? It won’t be the end of the world. I’ll just have to read this post again at the time to remind myself of that!
Unfortunately, all of this came to a head on Thursday when I saw the midwife. Furthermore it was the same midwife who had a less than impressive way with words when I had a bleed at around 22 weeks of my pregnancy and told me there was ‘no point’ in me going in to delivery suite. Nice. She took my tearfulness as a clear sign of PND and told my husband, ‘if she goes downhill you need to phone Medicom straight away’. Thanks. Cue me then worrying I had PND and that I’d stop loving Little M. More tears.
To be honest I think most of it stemmed from my fear of hubby returning to work. Well, he’s had two days back now and we’ve survived. Admittedly, I’ve had help from my mother in law and parents on both days, but today I felt that I could have managed by myself as I got Little M into a sling and tried baby wearing for the first time which meant I could get things done and feel close to her.
In positive news, Little M was weighed at the end of our midwife appointment (perhaps she should have been weighed at the start and I wouldn’t have felt so crap for the whole session!) and she’s recovered her birth weight plus a little extra, so all the pumping is having an effect. She’s really upped her intake in the last 24 hours too so I’m sure she’ll chunk up even more – I just need to keep pumping to try to meet her demands!