When I left the hospital with Ryder and Jeff on July 6, there should have been a sign posted that read, “… welcome to motherhood, you will feel guilty about anything and everything”. Or at least I do.
I have always had a terrible time with guilt. I feel bad or guilty for doing something or not doing something and as a new mother it seems to have escalated. I feel guilty if I put Ryder in his Fisher Price swing vs holding him constantly, or for deciding to go for a walk to get him to sleep vs rocking him to sleep, going to pilates class vs hanging out with my little family in the evening…. you name it, I feel guilty about it.
I was violently ill before I left PEI last week. I had a terrible stomach flu which meant I vomited A TON and became extremely dehydrated. Because we weren’t sure what the cause of my illness was we decided I should pump and dump my breast milk and use only formula for Ryder. Since last Friday my milk supply has been extremely low. I called the BC Health Nurse line yesterday and explained the situation. This was the response,
“First off, YOU SHOULD NOT have dumped the breast milk. You should have continued to use it.”
“Oh, Okay, well I wasn’t aware of that.”
“Well, that is in the past so you can’t change anything…. and you shouldn’t use formula, you should use only breast milk.”
She then told me to continue to pump and breast feed as much as possible, which was great advice. However, after hanging up the phone I had an overwhelming feeling of guilt. The phrase “that is in the past, you can’t change that now” repeated through my mind.
Am I an awful mother for supplementing with formula?
Will Ryder grow a third arm because my milk supply is low?
Am I selfish for not drinking enough while I was sick?
Will my milk ever come back again?
I know the response to all of these questions is a resounding NO. Deep down I know my son is gaining weight, he giggles all of the time, he is growing, he is happy, and most importantly he is LOVED!
During the moments I feel guilty, those truths need to be my mantra.