So I have been a little quiet on the post front for the last week and a half. Unfortunately having a small child (not sure I agree with the “small” bit) come from the ladybits does tend to wreak havoc with the writing and regularity of posting.
But here I am, this is the first 20 minutes I’ve had to myself since she was born on Tuesday and both my husband and I are traumatised from the first major meltdown we had this afternoon. Cue mummy guilt 2.0. I thought I would continue the mummy guilt theme from a previous post (Being a pregnant midwife) and categorise the psychology of being a new mum in the first few days following birth.
- Guilt over the birth experience – First and foremost I didn’t manage to push her out myself. I needed help with forceps – which was my only hard limit. Cue guilt for the fact that I felt I didn’t push hard enough.
With time and hindsight I have absolved myself of this. Ultimately I got to fully dilated myself, and pushed for a LONG time (I will perhaps blog about my birth at a later date) and her position meant there was no amount of pushing that would get her out by myself.
- First nappy rash – Managed to give her nappy rash within the first couple of days where the nappies rubbed her skin on her hips. Cue mummy guilt for not a) noticing sooner and b) “breaking” my baby after just a few days.
- Mummy anxiety – as you all already experience, the mummy anxiety is crippling, I had no idea how gripping it could be, over something as minor as giving her Infacol so soon after she was born, because I’m sure it’s colic… right? I never anticipated how much you could worry about over, literally, nothing! Being a midwife here has absolutely no impact. I am as clueless as the next new mum. It’s as if I have no experience at all. Am I using the right washing powder, am I preparing feeds properly (I really should be confident with this one considering my background).
Which leads to…
- Formula feeding – once again this is the heart of my mummy guilt. Sorry to revisit this point. I feel so incredibly guilty I can’t breastfeed and every midwife colleague I have run into has assumed I would… leading to the same words being shared, “Did you even try?” and then the long explanation of WHY I can’t and that it isn’t because of not trying. Not that it should matter as to why. This is my families choice and that should be supported. I even had one midwife ask me to whip out my puppies, then proclaim happily, “Wow you can’t even tell you’re feeding, you must have a natural breastfeeder there!” Good reading of them postnatal notes there Sherlock.
A massive bugbear I have encountered is whilst I have been researching mummy groups to see if I can meet other new mums. My area has no mummy groups but lots of breastfeeding groups. I have enquired into them and have met at each hurdle “A place for breastfeeding mums to meet” i.e. formula feeders not welcome. What about the massive 40% of women in my area demographic that choose not to or can’t breastfeed? Do we not deserve to meet other mums and socialise the same? It appears not. So for now my search has come up dry… guess it’s some Jeremy Kyle and a bit of “Real Housewives…” to keep me company right now.
Formula mums, how did you find socialising after the birth with other parents? Did you find only groups that were exclusive for breastfeeders or did you find more generalised mummy groups? How have you felt the stigma has been for your choice of method, if at all?
If you fancy leaving comment, please do, they always make my day!