As a new mom, you are faced with countless emotions. But unfortunately, between all of the excitement and happiness, most new moms also run into tons of new mom guilt.
Today I’m going to share 5 of the most common causes of guilt for new moms and tell you why these shouldn’t make you feel guilty at all.
Top 5 Causes of New Mom Guilt
1 – You don’t feel like it’s love at first sight
Because of what we see on the movies and all of the picture perfect posts on Instagram, there is an expectation that we will be flooded with happiness and love for our babies the second they are born. But when you don’t instantly fall head-over-heels for your baby, you can’t help but feel guilty.
Don’t ever feel guilty about this. It is actually super common NOT to instantly bond with your baby. Labor is HARD WORK and you are exhausted by the time your baby arrives. Many new moms aren’t filled with tears of joy when they first hold their babies. And tons of new moms need time to get to know their baby and form that bond with them. But it will come.
When my son was born, I did feel excited and I knew that I loved him. But I wasn’t overcome with tears. I didn’t really feel like a mom and I felt guilty that I wasn’t as happy as all of the new moms on TV.
With that being said, I have been completely amazed at how quickly our bond has grown. Every day I continue to love him more and more. My heart melts from all of the little things he does and I want to burst with pride as he reaches new milestones.
If you’re not instantly head over heels in love with your baby, know that it is normal and it is okay. Give yourself a few months to get to know your baby and watch your love for each other grow.
2 – You aren’t the “perfect” mom
As new moms, we put an insane amount of pressure on ourselves to be perfect. We expect ourselves to communicate perfectly with our baby and know exactly how to calm and soothe her as soon as she is upset. On top of that, we think we should know all of the answers and perfectly attend to our baby’s wants and needs at all time.
But this just isn’t realistic. Being a mom is really hard.
It takes a while for your baby to adjust to the world, and those early days are often very challenging. You don’t know why your baby is crying and you feel guilty that you don’t know what to do.
Worst of all, any tiny mistake makes you feel like the worst mom ever.
I distinctly remember the first several baths with my baby. He adored the water and absolutely loved bathtime. We played for the first 15-20 minutes, then quickly washed him up at the end of his bath. And every time we took him out of the tub he would cry incredibly hard for at least 15 minutes. Every time this happened, I worked to calm him down but also joked a little that he really didn’t like being cold.
One day we tried a different body soap and he didn’t cry at all after getting out of the bath. He was perfectly fine. I felt like the worst mom ever for not noticing this right away and washing him several times with a soap that bothered him so much.
But you know what, it’s okay. He was fine. He forgot about it right away. And he forgave me for this mistake, and all of the other mistakes I have made.
To overcome this new mom guilt, stop trying to be the “perfect” mom. You will keep learning as you go and your baby will love you every step of the way.
3 – You don’t love every part of parenting
You look forward to meeting your baby for months and you are so excited to become a mom. So you can’t help but feel guilty when you don’t love every second of your new role.
Be easy on yourself, mama! Although there are wonderful parts of being a new parent, there are also several parts that aren’t fun.
It is okay not to love cleaning up baby blowouts or get grossed out when your baby spits up all over your sweater. You are completely normal to feel frustrated when your baby won’t sleep at night. We are all humans and it’s okay to admit that having a newborn is hard and not every second is magical.
My husband and I loved to soak in our newborn “dividends.” We would deal with hard parts of parenting (all those diapers, nursing sessions that lasted hours, crying during the night) and then we would snuggle closely with our baby and get the world’s BEST cuddles. All the hard parts were well worth those baby “dividends” that we got.
In order to move past this new mom guilt, realize that it is normal for you not to enjoy everything about being a new mom. But that doesn’t mean that you don’t love your baby. If anything, you should feel proud. Even though you don’t want to change more diapers or stay up all night, you do. Because you love your baby and you are an amazing mom.
4 – You want alone time
It is shocking how much time and energy your newborn demands from you. They typically eat every 2-3 hours and need you to constantly hold them and entertain them. Because you spend every minute of every day attending to their needs, there will come a time when you crave alone time without your baby attached to your hip.
And if you’re like most new moms, this desire to be without your baby causes you to feel incredibly guilty.
My baby loved to be held and snuggled. In fact, he wouldn’t let me put him down for about 3 months. I couldn’t shower, go to the restroom, sleep, anything without holding him. Finally, I needed a few minutes without him attached to me. But as soon as I acknowledged that, I felt so guilty! I knew how fast these days would go and felt guilty for wanting a break.
Don’t feel that way! The newborn phase is very taxing and takes up every ounce of physical and emotional energy that you have. It is completely okay to need a break and to spend a few minutes being your own person instead of always being “mom.” This alone time helps you to reset so you can go back to being a fantastic mom after your little break.
5 – You aren’t as good of a mom as other moms
It is so common for us to look at all of the things other moms are doing and feel guilty that we aren’t as good as they are.
My aunt is a breastfeeding pro and never seems to struggle at all. Why can’t I be a good enough mom that breastfeeding comes naturally to me?
My friend’s baby is always in a great mood and has been sleeping through the night for months. Why can’t I be such a good enough mom that my baby always stays calm and sleeps better at night?
We spend so much time comparing ourselves to other moms and thinking that we need to parent exactly like them. But you need to remember that you are the perfect mom for your baby. Before she even got here, you sacrificed your body throughout the entire pregnancy because are a great mom. You haven’t slept well in ages because you spend your days and nights caring for your baby.
You are the perfect mom for your baby. Don’t ever feel guilty for not being like other moms because your baby doesn’t need those moms. Your baby needs you!
As a new mom, it’s common to feel guilty every once in a while
But give your baby a big hug and look at the amazing child that you created! You are a fantastic mom and you are doing great!
Have you ever felt new mom guilt? What helped you to feel better?
Written by: Danielle
She is the creator of Piece of Cake Parenting, a parenting blog for new and expecting parents. She shares newborn tips and baby information to make the newborn days easier and more enjoyable for all parents.
I love what you said about moms needing alone time. It seems hard to justify it when there is so much to do and multiple children to care for but I have noticed that when I do take time for myself I am a way better mom. I have also figured out ways to get that alone time when they are occupied anyways so when they need my full, refreshed attention I am prepared to give it to them. Love this article!
I agree. I struggle with the desire for alone time too. I love my son, but also when I’ve been home with him 24/7 I just need an hour to myself to read or take a bath and relax sometimes!
Savannah, you are doing such an amazing job with your beautiful family!! It’s wonderful that you’ve made alone time a priority and realized how much it helps you to recharge and continue being a great mom. You rock! 🙂
It’s so nice to read these things and know that I’m not alone in feeling some mama guilt. I love my kids more than anything in the world but sometimes I just need some “me” time. It’s hard not to feel like less of a mom sometimes. Thank you for this honest and relatable post!! <3
Thank you so much!!! It’s so easy to feel guilty about needing a break and some “me” time but it’s so important for us! I’m so glad you found this article relatable and helpful!
These are all good but I especially like #3!
Rachael, yes! I’m not sure why we don’t feel like good parents if we don’t love every single second. Being a parent is hard and sometimes it’s super gross. But we still love our kids even it we don’t love the not-so-fun parts.
What a great reminder! I relate to needing alone time… That is probably the hardest part of the newborn stage is just feeling like you can’t leave them for one second! I always felt so guilty when I HAD to (finally) shower and my baby would be sitting outside of my shower in his bouncer crying. In my head I know he’s ok and a quick 5 minute shower is not going to kill him but my heart is feeling all the guilt!
Yes! When they are newborns that is the toughest because they literally need you 24/7! I didn’t even take time away to shower, I’d wait until my husband got home so he could take over! 😛
Meagan, yes! I relate to this so much!!! It really surprised me just how much time my newborn needed. We literally held him all of the time for the first three months. Any time I had to put him down for a quick power shower (after 3 days of not showering…) I would feel so guilty listening to him cry. It’s such a good reminder that this is okay and it’s normal to need a little alone time as a new parent.
Ugh, #5…so true. I’m not sure that feeling ever goes away. Even now with four kids, I still constantly find myself feeling like I’m not “as good” as other moms I see. Did I read enough books? Did I yell too much? Why can’t I make those fancy Pinterest breakfasts every day? There is a lot to live up to as a mom, and we can never meet that ideal goal. All we can do is try our best and love our babies.
So true! I am first time mom, and a young mom at that, and am constantly wondering if I am doing things right or doing enough. There is a high standard to live up to, that truly no one can realistically meet.
Savannah, I completely understand the feeling! As a new mom I am constantly wondering if I’m doing things right. And when I do make a mistake, I feel bad and feel like I should have known that before it happened. But I’m trying to be forgiving to myself and remember that I don’t need to compare myself to others and I really am the perfect mom for my little guy. <3
OMG YES! I can’t get over how I felt I should have known these things. Like for instance my son has been grinding his teeth lately and I looked it up today and apparently it could be his way of helping with teething pain. I felt like the worst because I couldn’t get him to stop teething and was panicking about whether his teeth grinding was something that was bad. I was about ready to take him into the dentist this week! (We still are going to be taking him to the dentist soon, but I was ready to jump the gun because I was so worried about the grinding)
Erin, I know this feeling so well and it is so hard not to compare ourselves to other. I think you are an outstanding mom and you do such an amazing job with your family! Keep remembering that you are the perfect mom for them!
I think one cool part of being a parent is that we build a relationship with our kids. Even if we make mistakes or yell, we love them and they love us. They’ll grow up to forget all of the little mistakes and remember all of the amazing things you did for them and that is so cool!
I think the one I relate to most is the love at first sight. I really didn’t have that immediate connection with any of my kids. As I began to learn about them and who they were as my babies, that is when I started to feel that connection.
Yes! I was the same. When Xander was born, I didn’t have that connection immediately. I was actually terrified and didn’t know how to be around him because I was constantly wondering if I was doing things wrong. Xander is 13 months now and his personality is starting to really come through and I am starting to feel a much stronger connection now. When he was a newborn and just crying for food or a diaper change it was harder to feel that bond when their personality hasn’t developed.
Lisa and Savannah, thank you so much for being so honest!! I think this is one of the HARDEST ones. Because mom’s believe that they should instantly be overwhelmed with emotions and love for their baby, but often that’s not the case. It’s okay. The more you get to know those little people, the more they wrap you around their adorable little fingers! 🙂
You nailed this! I definitely experienced all of these. Especially the first one. I thought I would fall in love with my baby as soon as I met her, but it didn’t happen right away. I felt really guilty at first, but as time went on I did fall in love with my baby and it’s still growing 💕
Hannah, yes I agree and I think this one is so hard! You’re so excited for your baby to arrive and it’s kind of a let down not to be as head-over-heels as you see in all of the movies and tv shows. But it takes time to get to know our little people! The love definitely comes in no time! 🙂
So very true! When my son had to go back to the hospital to spend a day under lights a couple days after we went home, I felt so guilty like I did something wrong by not preventing the jaundice.
Yes, isn’t it so hard not to feel bad when they’re not feeling well or have problems? Even if there’s no reason at all that we should feel guilty about it!
All of these are so true! I feel so much mom guilt whenever I am scrolling Facebook, looking on Pinterest or scrolling through Instagram. I have started telling myself that it is okay and that I am doing the best job I can. My daughter doesn’t need to be involved in every activity. She’s only a toddler once and is perfectly content playing at home or with friends. I don’t need to fill every minute of our days with a learning opportunity. Wanting some alone time is another one that I always feel guilty about. When my husband comes home from work, I want some time to myself to unwind and work on my blog, but that usually doesn’t happen because my husband wants to spend time with me too. I need to do a better job of making time for myself though and making the most of those minutes I find! I’m still trying to figure it all out!
I know exactly how you feel!! I always feel so guilty when I take time to be alone or to work on my blog, because it’s time I’m not spending with my son and husband. But it’s also so important that we make time for ourselves. Great for you for recognizing the importance of taking time for yourself! Good luck adding enough into your routine.