My friend warned me.
She said she cried for a week after her second baby was born.
I knew I’d be the same.
With my first born I had terrible mummy guilt. I felt guilty when my son struggled to latch the first weeks of his life and I had to feed him expressed milk through a syringe. Then later after he latched, I felt guilty when he vomited from too much milk.
I felt guilty when he hiccuped, cried, and wet through a nappy.
I felt guilty when I didn’t hear his cries because the wind had blown the bedroom door shut, and when he learnt to walk and I didn’t catch him in time, and when he went to child care for the first time, and the first time I gave him a dummy…. and and and…GUILT GUILT GUILT!!!
This time around the guilt is there too, but it’s different.
I now have mummy guilt for both my children.
I feel it when I have to choose between my toddler and my newborn’s needs
I mean, how does a mother choose?
When your newborn is crying for a feed at the exact time your toddler wants a bedtime cuddle, who do you choose?
When your toddler wants to stop and watch an ant but you have to keep the baby in the pram moving so they fall asleep, who do you choose?
When your toddler wants to eat, play, cuddle, or go outside just as your newborn needs a nappy change, feed, or cries out from gas, who do you choose?
I feel guilty for all these things.
I worry my first born feels replaced and I worry my newborn lies in a wet nappy too long because I’m occupied with my son.
This is the unexpected guilt of a second time mother.
But no one tells you about it.
And no one gives you the answers to this burning question… Who do you choose?
But from what I can work out the answer is…. you don’t.
You just do the best you can!
There is no secret answer. There is no right or wrong.
Certainly there are tips many mums have said to me – create little boxes of toys for your toddler to open when you feed the baby. This was a great idea, until my toddler wanted me to play it with them. More guilt!
But I am working through my mummy guilt, and it now only comes at random, irrational times rather than in a persistent stream.
We have also incorporated a lot of special one-on-one time with our older boy. We ask him if he wants to help with his baby sister’s bath or changing her nappy. We talk a lot about how she likes when he does this and she finds him funny when he does that. We tell him how special he is and how much we love him. We give him time away from his sister where we are wholly devoted to him.
And this seems to be working!
Did you experience mummy guilt with your children? What are your tips for managing it?
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