I used to think that after six months of keeping my son, EK, alive, I became a more confident mom. I was a "new parent", but somehow had things under control. Really, I was just better-equipped to hide my sleep-deprivation and insecurities.
But, it's now time to 'fess up. Below is my months 0-12 guilt list. This of course is by no means a comprehensive tally of my various meltdown/freak outs (which yes, seem contradictory at times), but you get the idea.
Pregnancy aka what can you do before this baby is even born to ruin his/her life?
a) Did I drink too much before I found out I was pregnant? Will my child have a brain?
b) I need to eat more vegetables or he will be in the remedial reading group. I mean, there is nothing wrong with the remedial reading group. Shit, I feel guilty for judging remedial readers.
c) I need to eat less crap. Everyone is already telling me I am already a mom so I need to think/act like one. But I love Coke. And Doritos. And Doritos dipped in Coke.
d) I didn’t know flax seed oil can go rancid. Good thing I learned that lesson after I consumed an entire jar via foul-tasting smoothies.
e) What if my husband/significant other loves the baby more than he loves me? He already changed his ATM PIN to the baby’s due date. It used to be my birthday. Oh God, I am already jealous of my own fetus and he is only negative five months old. I am a terrible person for even thinking this. Still…
f) What if I don’t love my baby when he arrives? Right now I don’t. I can’t even sit down without being reminded of that fact due to the 400000 lbs. of pressure on my bits and pieces.
g) People keep telling me it's good I'm not sleeping now because I am instinctively training my body for sleep-deprivation. I hate those people. I hate them so much.
New parents aka Welcome to the world baby! You really lost the lottery with me.
a) Is my baby ok? Is he breathing? Check and see if he is breathing. Why isn’t he crying? Why is he crying? WHAT THE SHIT IS WRONG WITH ME?
b) Everyone tells me about this rush of endorphins I should feel when I hold him. All I feel is terror. And intestinal discomfort from the ice cream scoop of mac & cheese they gave me as my “first meal as a mom”.
c) Why does his face look like a smushed up alien with my cousin’s nose? Dear God, what if people think I had a baby with my cousin?
d) Why doesn't he sleep? WHY WHY WHY? Humans need sleep. It's a fact. I did birth an alien-baby.
Breastfeeding aka I don’t love my baby if I don’t nurse.
a) Why won’t he latch on? The smug moms told me it would be beautiful and natural and full of happy f’ing fairies. I hate those bitches. I am a failure. I mean, he has been alive for 48 whole hours and I haven’t perfected this whole mother-son bonding thing? If I supplement with formula he will die because it’s poison. Wait, it’s not. I was on formula. But look at me now; inept. Yep, he will die. GET OUT OF MY HEAD SMUG MOMS!
b) Why does it hurt? I am doing it wrong. Those who will no longer be named told me it wouldn't hurt. My boob is going to fall off. I am a terrible person for thinking I should “give up”. I don’t love my baby enough.
c) How does this nipple shield thing work? I should know because I have used one never. And the pump? It’s supposed to be easy and provide my baby with a considerable bounty of milk. From my boobs. Because that is completely logical to me. DID I ALREADY TELL YOU THAT I CAN’T USE FORMULA OR HE WILL DIE? I am insane. And a failure.
d) I know he isn't supposed to fall asleep while nursing, but f that. If he is on, game on.
Layers/”Field trips” aka Look at me! I totally know what I am doing. Forget it. It was nice knowing you, outside world.
a) We don’t go outside enough. I know it’s hot out, but if we just sit in one spot and don’t turn on the AC (it’s so expensive!) we won’t sweat. Wait, the baby’s face is red. Can babies sweat? Aren't they like lizards? Lord help me, am I cooking him from the inside?
b) We go outside too much. Is he hot? Is he cold? WHERE IS HIS FACE UNDER ALL OF THESE BLANKETS?!?
c) NO! He has real tears and is only four weeks old. Why is he so angry? I have ruined his life.
General life: I.have.lost.my.mind.
a) I haven’t written my thank you cards and it’s been two months since the baby was born. Except for the cards that I sent to the same people twice because I forgot I sent the first round. I am so tired. I need tape to hold my eyelids open.
b) I hold our baby too much. He is spoiled.
c) I don’t hold him enough. Do I love him enough? I must not. Loving moms hold their babies.
d) He doesn’t sleep enough. I am sure of this because he is ALWAYS SCREAMING HIS FACE OFF.
e) He sleeps too much and has plagiocephaly. He might need a helmet. I feel guilty about his flat spot. Good moms “wear” their babies. I was busy bouncing his chair with my feet while I watched old episodes of Monk. I feel guilty about caring what other parents will say about me when they see him with his little helmet. I feel guilty for feeling guilty because a helmet is nothing to be ashamed of. I feel guilty about not wanting to pay $300 for a test to see if he even needs a helmet. I am a failure.
f) The alcohol milk test strip was “dark” brown and I nursed him. I mean, the overhead light was sort of dim, so maybe it wasn't dark, but a medium brown? I can’t tell! All browns look the same!!! Now I killed 5000000 of his brain cells.
g) Those scented wipes might kill him. So will any shampoo, sunscreen, fruit, vegetables…really any food, diapers, crib, car seat and toys. I will keep him in a box. And I will be relegated to a padded room.
h) I invited too many people to his birthday party. Now he will get sick and I have more thank you notes to not send out.
i) I invited too few people to his party and now he will look back and think I don’t love him.
j) I used a “birthday in a box” kit instead of Pinterest ideas to decorate for his party. Moms who love their kids make their own crafts. And organic, homemade cakes made out of kale and promises.
k) I showed up at the pharmacy clinic with a shirt covered in spit-up and one backwards. I am also pretty sure I took a nap sitting up while waiting for the LPN.
You get the idea. Someday I will list the toddler guilt trip, but since I am in the middle of that phase, I am in no rush to admit my daily freak-outs. With that said, this whole thing is pretty awesome. Except when it’s not. But that’s cool too.
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