By Mirranda Reinhardt for Pregnancy Awareness Month®
Ten years ago, I became a mother for the first time. I had no idea what I was doing when it came to taking care of my beautiful little bundle of joy. I tried to follow my intuition, but as a young mom it wasn’t easy. Everyone around me had opinions on how I should take care of my daughter. All too often I found myself taking instructions from the unwritten manual laid out for me by my mother, grandmother and women around me who I considered “experienced”.
A few years later my husband and I were blessed with our first son. In the early days I parented him much like I did his sister. Little by little though, I began bucking “the system”. I made my own baby food, I wore him in a sling and despite family objections I co-slept with him just like I had with his sister. I was finally beginning to understand who I wanted to be as a mom to a little one when my little one grew up into a big boy.
Six years after his brother’s arrival our second son was born. By this time, I had a good grasp on the kind of mother I was at heart. I made a lot of different choices with my third baby and that’s when the mommy guilt set in.
I actually found myself questioning whether I should do certain things for baby number three because I hadn’t done them for his older siblings. In my mind it was akin to admitting that my prior decisions weren’t as valid because I chose to do things differently when given another chance.
In the end I realized that I had to let go of the mommy guilt. As parents we grow and evolve just as our children do. It wasn’t that I was a bad mother to my first two children, quite the opposite actually. I was a good mom trying to do the best I could with the knowledge and resources at my disposal. It’s normal to try something, see something that fits better and to go a different route.
Motherhood isn’t about perfection, if it was we’d all fail at it. Let go of the mommy guilt, follow your intuition and realize that mothers evolve. Just as our children grow and change, so do we.