Mom guilt is a very real thing! It starts early in your mom career. It stems from a good place, wanting to do the best for your child all the time–but we have to remember we aren’t perfect–we are human. That’s okay because our baby is human, too. As a preemie mom, I found it harder to learn and accept because I felt mom guilt before our baby even arrived.
It’s our job to keep our babies safe in our bellies until at least the due date so that he or she can fully develop and become as healthy and strong as possible. My babies were preemie, so does that mean I failed at my job?
Does that mean before my children even entered the world I was a bad mom? What did I do wrong? My whole life was meant to keep these babies safe. I read in a book that the best way to deliver your twins full-term was to be as least active as possible, so that’s what I did. I sat around a lot–which doesn’t fit my hyper personality at all. They still came early! I tried so hard and still failed.
When I left my lengthy stay in the hospital my babies didn’t come with me.
People would say they felt sorry for me/us and they couldn’t imagine what that was like. Or, I would hear well that it must be super hard–but at least you get to sleep through the night and recover from your C-Section! All responses have a hint of truth; but what others didn’t realize that all I heard was: “Your babies are in the hospital because of you.”
I felt a lot of guilt for other things, too. Like the fact I was sort of grateful that our boys were in the NICU.
That meant trained professionals were around them 24/7, and at the time I was in a lot of pain from my C-Section; they were probably better off in a lot of ways. I felt safe with the nurses and doctors–so that part was alright. I felt guilt that I put my husband through all of this, too. Guilt over feeling guilty, because logically I knew I didn’t have a lot if any control over the events that had happened. But again, all I could think about was I that I was the mom and I didn’t do my job.
Our boys were in the NICU for three weeks. Three long weeks of feeling every feeling under the sun all, all while I was recovering from a major surgery. Oh, yes! Let’s not forget the hormones that ran through me as well. Nothing about that time was about me–it was about them. In the end, it was about me to a certain degree.
The boys were in the hospital, but my experience in the hospital was pretty traumatic. It took a long time for me to give myself credit and time to process it.
It’s not my fault my boys came early. I can’t be blamed for the fact I had twins and that there are more risks with that. It’s not my fault my boys needed to stay in the NICU. It was terrifying for all of us, that wasn’t my fault. It’s not my fault I took advantage of the time before the boys came home to sleep and recover. I was and am a preemie mom–that wasn’t anyone’s fault. I can’t speak for all preemie parents out there, but my kids are two-years-old and I am still learning this.
The guilt lessens every day because I have realized that the boys being preemies isn’t my fault or a negative.
But, of course, a lot of things are my fault. It’s my fault my kids have no idea they started life a little different. I will take the blame that my kids are strong and healthy. It’s my fault that my little ones (who started on a feeding tube) now love to eat a variety of healthy food. It’s my fault that my boys will know their story and do good with it through charity work.
Being a preemie mom has made me learn that I am stronger and more capable than I ever could have ever imagined.
Preemie mom guilt is very severe. Allow yourself to feel whatever it is you feel. The trick is to keep talking about it. Keeping it inside is not going to help you or your baby. Remember it’s okay to have a break down here and there. What you are dealing with is not for the weak. You are feeling a new level of love and fear all at the same time. It’s okay to be mad. It’s fair to feel bitter, happy and even scared. Feel however you need to feel.
But remember your child loves you, you love your child, and your child needs you. Conversely, you need your child, you need your partner, and your partner needs you. Together you will get through this and learn amazing things.
Stand proud and wear your preemie parent badge! Let go of the preemie parent guilt!