Friday, December 11, 2015

New Mom Guilt

It has been a little over four months since Elora was born. I don't think I've ever had a time when I felt so guilty over what I can't do while, at the same time, doing absolutely everything I can do. Everything is not enough: not enough food, not enough sleep, not enough cuddles, not enough money, not enough time. I feel guilty that I have to go to work, guilty that I can't pump more than 4 oz of milk at a time, guilty that sometimes I just need someone else to hold her, and guilty that sometimes I never want anyone else to hold her. I've spent plenty of time being critical of myself through the years - my appearance, my talents, my job performance - but I have never been more critical of anything than my role as mom. No job has ever been more important to me and I'm just not good enough for it. How critical everyone seems to be of a new parent is nothing to how critical I am of myself.

I'm pretty sure every new mother thinks like this and I'm completely sure it's not true. To that little life, I am everything. I am comfort, I am warmth, I am food, I am safety, I am fun. She loves Daddy too, who is all of these things except food, but Mamma is everything. I do my best and she's healthy, dry, clean, fed, growing, happy. This job that I'm not good enough for is good enough for her.

Frankly, I'm never going to be satisfied with it. There will always be more I should be doing and more I should be giving and more I should be whatever-ing. But not really. I should be doing exactly what I am doing, which is my absolute best at any given time. Even when I leave her in the swing crying because I have to eat is my best. I'm no good to her starving. Even when I leave her with my parents to go to work is my best. I'm no good if I can't help keep that roof over her head. Even when I head upstairs for a nap while my husband gives her a bottle is my best. I'm no good to her exhausted. The floors may not be clean, but the baby is laughing at her doll. I'm not clean, but the baby is splashing in her bath. No job has ever been more important and I am doing my best.