By Special Guest Danielle Stribula
MOM GUILT. We all have it. We all experience it. We all hate it. Yet we can’t OVERCOME it. It’s a REAL and RAW feeling that comes with giving our whole heart to a little human and leaving little to no love for ourselves. It’s that uncertainty that clouds our brain and holds us back from being THE BEST mom our babies need. It’s that doubt we have within ourselves that prevents us from embracing our new role as MOM.
There’s two different types of Mom Guilt.
All these feelings stem from our own drastic thoughts, the judgments of others, and what we see on social media. It started for me when I was 7 weeks pregnant. Guys. I’m a freaking DOER. I love being busy and active and outgoing, but HOLY CRAP. This little tiny bean inside of me had COMPLETE control. And that sweet and loving feeling of doing ALL THE THINGS quickly deteriorated. I put so much pressure on myself to be this superstar pregnant lady who worked out everyday, ate all her vegetables, and slayed all day. PLEASE. I barely had the energy to put on real pants. But for some reason, I felt like I needed to put on this facade so people didn’t know I was struggling. Do you know how DRAINING that is?! Maybe it was because I saw all of these other pregnant women who talked about the “glow” and how they’ve never felt so “beautiful”... while I’m over here feeling like a loaf of bread dipped in spaghetti sauce.
It took so much joy from my pregnancy that I wish I could go back and smack my 1st trimester self in the head and say, “Snap out of it sister! You’re not alone!” It wasn’t until I finally came out and said it… “I’M STRUGGLING. THIS IS REALLY FREAKING HARD,” that I felt free. It was like that guilt I held within myself was released, and I didn’t feel so bad about binge watching Friends or eating ALL the sour patch and bagels ALL DAY EVERYDAY.
You see, as women, we are constantly setting these unrealistic expectations for ourselves. And when reality hits, we are afraid to let others know because, come one, everyone else on social media is just flashing their perfect little preggo bumps and salads or people you care about are telling you what you should or shouldn’t be eating. Better yet… how much weight you should or shouldn’t be gaining.
And just like that, the downward spiral of mom guilt ensues. We beat ourselves up because our delivery didn't go exactly as planned, or we caved and got the epidural, or our baby didn't latch right away. We don't understand why OUR baby is up every 2 hours while everyone else's sleeps through the night. Or why can't I seriously get my act together to just DO these at-home workouts that only take 20 minutes?! It wouldn't kill me to eat a vegetable or meal prep on a Sunday either.
And on and on it goes… you telling yourself you could do better for yourself and for your baby.
MAMA. STOP. Take this moment to recognize that YOU WERE MADE FOR THIS BABY… exactly the way you are. Through the good and the bad, the happy and the sad… every moment in your life brought you here and you two were meant to learn and grow together. This baby could care less about the perfectly crafted picture you post on Instagram, or whether her mama has her pre-baby abs back. This smiley little human that has your eyes and your thighs doesn't worry about her nursery being Pinterest worthy or if her mama washes her hair that day.
Like the rockstar Rachel Hollis says in her book, Girl, Wash Your Face, "The God who made the moon and the stars and the mountains and the oceans, the Creator who did all of those things, believed that you and your baby were meant to be a pair. That doesn’t mean you’re going to be a perfect fit. That doesn’t mean you won’t make mistakes. It does mean that you need not fear failure because you can’t fail a job you were created to do."
All your baby wants is a happy and healthy mama. All she wants is YOU.
So mama, shed the guilt for a hot second. Find clarity in the fact that every decision you make is the BEST one for that baby. Make peace with yourself because Mama really does know best. Trust your instincts. You were innately created to know what she needs.
And once you find your strength within your body and your mind through whatever method works for you, then you WILL find your strength within motherhood.
About the Author
Danielle is a first time mom and a virtual wellness coach from Cleveland, Ohio. She has created a virtual health community where women have a place to rock goals, share struggles, all the while having fun together! You can follow her on Facebook or Instagram.