Wondering about feelings of guilt between births - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 03-11-2004, 09:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I was wondering if any other moms struggle with this?

My pregnancy with Abigail was great, and at the time everything was what I wanted. I saw my OB as scheduled, ate healthy, exercised and did all the right things. All along I knew I wanted an epidural, and never thought about not birthing in a hospital. Thats exactly what I had. Only with more interventions than I had planned, that led to many nursing issue, and a baby that never latched on and had expressed breast milk for only 2 1/2 months. Looking back I know in my heart I did all that I could with the knowledge I had then. I wish I had the education and support and knowledge I have now, I know I could have nursed, and possibly still have been nursing now.

With the possibility of another pregnancy, and planning a homebirth with a MW, I sometimes feel guilty, and like I shortchanged Abby. Sometimes I worry about feeling a stronger bond with our next child, even though I can't imagine being more bonded than Abiagil and I are, but I still wonder.

Have any other moms experienced this? Any words of wisdom?

Sarah
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#2 of 8 Old 03-11-2004, 10:39 PM
 
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Oh my, yes.

1st pregnancy I was young, 21, but the youngest 21 year old you've ever seen. Not married, not really even coupled, but pregnant neverthless. I saw an OB, he had a great bedside manner and I thought that things would be okay.

They were awful. Zain ended up in NICU for 2 weeks. I didn't hold him for 10 ENTIRE DAYS. When I would touch him he jerked and spasmed and so they asked me not to touch him. I agreed. When I could finally hold him that moment of bonding was gone. *poof* Just disappeared. I didn't even realize it until I held my next child's body as he slid out of me.

My dad was watching Zain one night in NICU through the glass and he commented offhandedly, "He's going to need you to hold him A LOT." I took that to heart and didn't put him down for like 18 months or so, but still, can you imagine that poor baby laying there for 2 weeks without his mom? Intubated, chest tube, you name it hanging off of him. I missed the babymoon with him.

Nursing worked out only because my mother told me I was going to do it, and I listened (first time for everything) and so I'm glad for that, but I do feel incredibly guilty that I could have contributed in some way to that NICU stay and the subsequent lack of early nurturing.

Two fabulous births later, I'm healed from the poor decisions that I made when I was young, and have come to some sort of happiness about the parent that I am...despite my mistakes, of which I'm sure I'll make more of.

Amanda
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#3 of 8 Old 03-12-2004, 05:31 AM
 
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my oldest is 16, and i still feel pangs about the mistakes i made.

instead of dwelling on the things i screwed up (being talked into vax, being pressured to wean at 7 mo., going back to work and putting him into daycare, letting him sleep alone... augh! i can't believe what i did to that poor baby!), i try to focus on the things i did right (homebirth, never vaxed after the 1st shot, homeschooled...).

you know something? he's turned out OK. he's a great kid, and i'm really proud of him. i wish i'd had it together for my first one, but i didn't and i have to forgive myself for that. i was young and dumb. but i also know a LOT of my peers did far worse things to their kids, and those kids turned out OK too.

i did the best i could with the resources i had. i veered pretty far from the mainstream, and it took time and education to learn how to veer as far as i finally went. i did the things i was comfortable with, and the things my mom and friends told me were OK. it took time to become confident enough in my own intuition to buck those pressures and go with what i knew was right, even if others told me otherwise.

be patient with yourself. if you were studying law, you wouldn't beat yourself up for not knowing everything in your first year. this is a new career for you, and you've gotta learn it just like any other career.

all you can do is be as open and conscientious as possible. know that what you did, you did out of love and from the best information you had at the time. keep learning, and growing, and trusting yourself, and you'll do fine!

warmly,

katje
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#4 of 8 Old 03-12-2004, 11:32 AM
 
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I've not had a chance to read the other replies, but I just wanted to quickly say that the guilt thing is SO common! I used to completely beat myself up----but I had to come to terms with the fact I cannot change the past. We are often our own worst enemy. The negative self-talk can be so counterproductive!

I did (and we all do) the best we can in our own unique set of circumstances with what we knew at the time. Hindsight can be such a burden (and a blessing)! I love the Maya Angelou quote....something like "When we know better; we do better." Guilt doesn't serve us a mothers. We are strong; we learn and grow and constantly move on........Would we change things, YES! Can we, no, but we can change how we do things in the future!!! That is powerful, too!

All the best,

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#5 of 8 Old 03-13-2004, 03:00 AM
 
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My biggest regret is consenting to my son's circumcision. I see his scarred penis everyday and it makes me so sad and the feelings of guilt and sadness resurface. I was really torn up for months and cried practically every day. I had to force myself to STOP torturing myself. But it still comes up now and then.... for some weird reason, it has lately. I don't know the sex yet. Everyone is convinced it's a girl. DH and DS want a girl. I would love either... part of me feels happy that any future son will remain intact and whole, but the other part feels sad that DS will see the difference and feel bad about it.

Anyway, I was reading something in a Tarot deck type set Magical Spell Cards and one day I pulled a card for Letting Go.
Quote:
Many of us have faced difficult times in our lives and sometimes the impact of a negative experience is so profound that it leaves us with residue for a long time after the actual event. When we're still vibrating energetically at the level of a negative experience, it's difficult to create positive experience in our lives. This is why letting go is an important lesson to learn and relearn. It doesn't mean forgetting -- life experiences are lessons -- but it does mean living in the present, and retaining the lesson, not the pain, of the past.
I hope that helps you, because it helps me.

You know, LLL has a wonderful magazine called "New Beginnings." Why? Because every baby IS a new beginning. Every baby is different from the last and there may be a whole new set of different challenges.

You had a major challenge and learned a lot. Perhaps you can focus on using your experience to help educate other mothers.

Yes, BFing is wonderful, but I personally think that the level of love and devotion you show to your DD is equally important. If you are both bonded strongly to each other, that is AWESOME! That's love. Don't discount that. Don't be so hard on yourself.

Look at the reality. She's growing, healthy and thriving. Focus on that, not the "mistakes."

Kimber - what an awful story. I am so sorry you had to go through that.

10 - boy
5.5 - girl
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#6 of 8 Old 03-13-2004, 05:38 PM
 
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Tanibani, if it makes you feel any better, the same thing I feel most guilty about is the circumcision. My two younger boys are not circumcised and any subsequent boys I have will not be either. I've actually apologized to my now 7 year old son for letting him be circumcised.

I liked your quote. Thank you.

Amanda
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#7 of 8 Old 03-14-2004, 01:00 AM
 
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My guilt is letting up.

My first daughter had a relatively fine birth--it could have been a heck of a lot worse. But we had breastfeeding difficulties. She latched on for the first time when she was 35 days old. Breastfeeding meant the world to me, and I couldn't get it right. I cried every day of the first month of her life. I'm so sure she imprinted that. She was a miserable, colicky little baby. Her cry was very high pitched and distressing...people stared wherever we went. I had significant ppd. Ugh. It was "supposed" to be magical....

My second daughter had a dreamy homebirth. She nursed well from the very beginning. She was a very laid-back and mellow little baby. I was capable and happy...it was night and day.

My firstborn will be 5 soon. She's a very driven little person; full of determination and persistence. She's also bright and curious and amazingly outgoing. She never blinks in the face of adversity.

It's hard for me to say if our first experiences in life influence our personalities, or if our newborn personalities influence our experiences. I'm sure it's both. At the time, I certainly would have chosen a different set of experiences for my daughter...but I love who she is. If she is who she is because of the way she started her life, I can only be grateful for that, you know?

homeschool.gif mom to dd (11) read.gifand dd (9) crochetsmilie.gif and ds (3) bikenew.gif and  dog2.gif(x2)
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#8 of 8 Old 03-14-2004, 02:41 PM
 
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mamallama, remember that breastfeeding is a dance... it takes two to tango. some babies are VERY hard to get started nursing, and it's no fault of the mama's! as you saw with number two, it's not always like this.

i'm sorry your baby was one of the hard ones (you think mother nature would send us the easy baby first!). and i'm glad you're letting go of the guilt, because you have NOTHING to feel guilty for!

katje
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