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.