Being a mother comes with a lot of things; responsibilities, constant learning but most of all emotions. Every day we go through a whirlwind of emotions with our little people. From feeling loved up to moments of frustration due to exhaustion. All these feelings are valid and normal. We can’t always be super happy and it can be difficult to constantly know what to do and what is right.
Guilt. This is a feeling that reoccurs on a daily basis for me. When I was pregnant, I felt guilty because I felt rubbish from the constant sickness and nausea when I had hoped so hard that I would become pregnant. Guilt because I didn’t attend any pre-natal exercise classes to bond with my baby because I was managing a service alone and was left so tired that at the end of a working day, all I wanted to do was sleep. Guilt, because I didn’t go out to make friends with other pregnant women because I wanted to organise myself to start my own business.
After little man arrived, this feeling continued. Guilt that I felt overwhelmed with the 10 hours plus of cluster feeding every day. Guilt that I wasn’t producing enough milk for my baby which was why he was constantly feeding. Guilt that I wasn’t looking forward to breastfeeding because it was painful with sitting as my coccyx had moved during birth. Guilt that I didn’t get out in the early months because I was constantly feeding and the only position I could do it in comfortably was laying down. So on and so on.
It’s hard to come to terms with the reasons behind feeling guilty, and there will always be something that affects us. My recent feeling of guilt has come from the idea of returning to work.
I always knew I wanted to go back to work because I love what I do. Helping others achieve positive experiences gives me a sense of achievement and being. I am passionate about what I do and I love to see the difference I bring to other mothers and their relationships with their babies. This being said, I love seeing my son grow and develop and feel so fortunate to have had spent the last 13 months with him. Unfortunately, however, due to change in circumstance, I have had to re- evaluate my work/ home balance. Before going off on maternity I had planned to go back to work 3 days a week, spend 2 days with my son at home, manage my business 1 day and to spent 1 day as family. Life had different plans for me and in actual fact I now have to work full time. I sat deliberating with my husband on what was best for us and what was best for me. I knew if I was going back to work, it would have to be to a job I loved and with the niche that I work in, that wouldn’t be easy. Work have offered me some flexibility but I still have to put in the 37.5 hours. I still want to continue supporting women with positive birth experiences and teaching hypnobirthing so it all came down to weighing the importance of each aspect of my life.
I have taken the role and will continue my business too. This has built so much guilt as I know I will only spend 1 hour an evening with my son and will miss 1 weekend a month with him, but what I also know it that this is an opportunity to grow, learn and make the most of the time we have together. I’ll pre plan the night before so I can enjoy that hour with him, playing and bonding. The 3 weekends a month I have with him will be for us. We will make the most of doing things together and enjoying every moment I have with him. I have left the feeling of guilt for holding my son whilst he naps and co- sleeps at night because that is my quality time with him. If things don’t work out at work and it means I have to give it up, we will deal with that at another time. But for now, I acknowledge I will miss some time with my son, but what I will do is make the most of the time I do have with him.
It’s not easy being a parent, not knowing if you are making the right decisions for you and your baby. Regardless of whether you choose to be a stay- at- home mum or a working mum, you have made that decision with good reason. Remember in each case though- make the most of the time with your little person. The house can wait, other people can wait. Do what is right for you and enjoy the precious moments you have together.