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Mother Guilt

A long time ago (24 years to be precise) at 19, pregnant with my first child and surrounded by older women who had been there, done that and had the stretch marks to prove it. I fell foul to listening to advice about feeding, sleeping dummies and of course the horror of labour.
The one thing that distinctly sticks in my mind is a statement from a child bearing, mother earth like advisor, she said to me “you go into hospital to have a baby and you come out with mother Guilt”. At the time I had no idea what this bizarre women in all her wisdom was talking about, but I can tell you, I sure do now.
As I couldn’t breast feed after day 1 due to my child sucking so hard my nipples bleed and in those days there was no such thing as a breast feeding companion, style nurse, you just got on with it behind the curtain in tears. This led to a nurse shoving a bottle at me and saying “try that” so first guilt trip, I can’t even feed my own baby.
The years pass by with thousands of examples of my faults to do right by my child, too many to mention.
After divorcing my husband when my girls were teenagers and deciding everything they now did wrong was my fault because they now come from a broken home (not because they were teenagers, of course) so when my youngest daughter developed a mild form of OCD only allowing me to have the radio on even numbers and pushing me flying over uneven numbered paving stones and my eldest daughter telling me she hated her wonky face and wanted a boob job, you can imagine my feelings of utter failure.
I have since realised that they are human beings with the usual trials and tribulations of all human beings, they will be sad, they will be mad, they will have insecurities, and most importantly they will most probably both, one day be mothers and feel just the same as me.
In short on a good day I accept they are beautiful human beings who now make their own choices, have grown into amazing young women and have indeed had constant, unconditional love from me………but mostly I still think…..if only I had forced them to stick at that sport/hobby/education, had stayed with their selfish and very grumpy father, stuck to my grounding rules and most of all if only I could of breast fed, maybe, just maybe they would be happier.

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