Mother guilt - it is something that arrives well before your baby is born. From the moment two pink lines appear on a pregnancy test, the doubt starts - am I doing best for my unborn baby?
While it is natural to want to the best for your child, here are eight things that mums everywhere need to stop wasting their energy feeling guilty about.
1. The way your baby entered the world
Whether you had an emergency caesarean, elective caesarean, were induced, had forceps or suction, had an episiotomy, had the drugs, didn't have the drugs or you had a vaginal birth. You birthed your baby so, well done.
2. Bottle feeding
I honestly can't believe this is still a topic of discussion. We are lucky enough to live in a word where we can still give our babies the nutrition they need if we are unable to breastfeed. Are you feeding your baby one way or another? Then bravo!
3. Using a dummy
Dummies can be an absolute lifesaver when you have a baby with reflux or other children who need you. Sometimes babies just want to comfort suck and we don't always have the time or mental energy to give them that 24/7. Dummies should never replace feeding but they are a great way to keep baby settled in between feeds.
4. Going back to work
We can't all afford to take 12 months off, we don't all want to take 12 months off. Many of us are better mothers when we are spending some time at work. Your mental health and financial needs are allowed to come first.
5. Not going back to work
Some of us love to be home and want to be home and that fulfils us. If you are happy then your baby and your family will be happy, so do what feels right for you. Not everyone gets a choice in this one but if you do get to choose, do what is best for YOU and not what anyone else thinks is the right thing to do.
6. Putting your child into childcare
Sometimes this is the only option when returning to work but it's also a choice some families make when they aren't back at work. Motherhood is exhausting and difficult at times so why not ask for help or take a day or two to yourself if you can? If you can make it work financially and feel ok with the decision then why wouldn't you? The right childcare can be incredibly beneficial for social skills, education, stimulation and so much more.
7. Taking time for you
Most of the mothers I know (myself included) are hopeless at this one. The thought of putting ourselves first is just so ridiculous and seemingly impossible that we forget about looking after ourselves until its too late and we are completely burnt out. A happy mother keeps the entire family turning so if mum goes down then so does everyone and everything. Take a walk, go and get a coffee, sit in your car for an hour and listen to music. Anything as long as it makes you feel good.
8. Talking about the positives
For some reason it's not the norm to talk about the good things. I find this so bizarre. In mothers group, everyone loves to share their horror birth stories or bond over the fact that they haven't slept more than two hours straight in weeks but how often do you get to hear "my birth went really well and I loved the experience" or "My baby is actually a fantastic sleeper" these poor women would be cast out of the group! Let's share the good stuff as well.