Saturday, March 24, 2012

Catholic Guilt Has Nothing on Mother Guilt

If there is one thing that surprised me about becoming a new mom, it's the worry and guilt you feel over even the smallest decisions.  It defies logic!

Case in point:

Thursday there was a free petting zoo about five minutes from our house.  Most of the meetup moms were going, and it sounded like a lot of fun.

And it was a lot of fun.  Baby Levi petted the bunnies, a giant turkey walked right up to him, he saw goats and chickens and ducks and all kinds of baby birds.

So why did I feel so guilty taking him?  Because it was right during his naptime.  So he was tired, and a little cranky, and by the time we got home he was so asleep he didn't even wake up when I got him out of the car.

Now, looking at it as a rational person, it was a fun experience and he still got his nap (just a little later).  But I still felt guilty for taking him because he was tired and should have been napping!  Crazy.

I find myself second-guessing even minor decisions, like what foods he should start eating, or whether he should be re-swaddled when he wakes up in the night.  And if things go the slightest bit awry, I feel guilty for making the choice I did.

Does anyone else do this?  Am I just crazy?  And if it's a common first-time mom thing, why do we do this?  Is it ultimately good because it ensures we're vigilant about our baby's safety and care?  Or is it just another way we beat ourselves up for not being "perfect"?

I read an article not too long ago about SIDS that featured a really interesting interview with someone from a big-city coroner's office (Detroit maybe?  Can't remember).  He said that in his career, he had never seen a true case of SIDS.  He said that every infant death had an explanation, but that a lot of times they label it SIDS to avoid laying the blame on the parents for accidents or mistakes.  I feel guilty when my baby scratches his face because his nails are too long; I can't imagine what it must feel like to blame yourself for your baby's death.  That must be an absolutely crushing weight. 

Somber way to end a blog post!  Sorry!!  Here's a totally irrelevant but cute picture to lighten the mood again.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, I do that too. You're not crazy. Or, we both are. In a related note... I was/am terrified of SIDS. But here is what Rachel (Bunnell) just recently told me that she learned while working at March of Dimes. Very few babies actually die of SIDs... it is usually a combination of factors that they say can lead to it. Like smoking AND sleeping on the couch AND having a bunch of blankets around AND bottle feeding AND under 4 months. You know... all of them. Anyway, made me feel better... especially since Noah is now in his own room (instead of the living room close to us) and being bottle fed (because my milk is drying up, ugh). Glad I don't smoke. ;) But, you're doing great!