I feel like I lost a lot of confidence in myself the day I became a mom. I questioned everything I did, the things I said and the decisions I made. I was angry at myself often for the way I was parenting and I was often putting myself down. I spent so much time being hard on myself -- but I always forgave myself.
There is a constant overabundance of information on the Internet, there is always some new study on what we are doing wrong as parents. It is so easy to fall prey to these articles and studies but we need to learn to take it all with a grain of salt and trust ourselves.
For me, it all started when I was pregnant for the first time and I joined mommy groups. I always said I just wanted me and my baby to be healthy, which was apparently not enough. I was told that I should have a birth plan and push for my rights with my doctor. I should have a natural, uneducated birth. I should delay cord cutting. I should, I should, I should... I didn't fall prey quite yet, which was a good thing because I had an emergency C-section with my first daughter, Eve.
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My confidence started to unravel when Eve wouldn't latch and wanted nothing to do with breastfeeding. I cried so much while begging her to just latch. I cried while I pumped. I cried while she cried waiting for me to pump. I cried when my breasts hurt. Well, you get the point, I cried a lot.
Once I decided that enough was enough, I stopped pumping and gave into full formula. And guess what? I found a new joy with feeding my child. I wasn't crying or stressed about it anymore. I tried my best and that was good enough. I forgave myself.
When Eve was a few months over a year old, I had a miscarriage. I questioned what I had done wrong. Why couldn't I grow this second baby? Was it something I ate? Something I did? Over time I came to terms with the miscarriage and knew I hadn't done anything wrong. I forgave myself.
To all you mamas out there that think you're failing: you are doing the best you can and your children love you.
Eight cycles after my miscarriage I got pregnant again, this time with twins. The pregnancy was rough. I was an emotional disaster, I was uncomfortable, I was in pain and I was huge. I pulled away from friends, I yelled at my daughter, I had no patience and I was just downright miserable.
After Arielle and Theo were born I was trying to breastfeed again, and again it wasn't working. Arielle would latch but fall asleep and Theo was more like Eve, he just didn't seem interested. I tried, I pumped, but I didn't cry about it this time because I had already forgiven myself. I knew my babies would be loved and taken care of no matter how they were fed.
Over the next year or so I got more overwhelmed, more anxious and more emotional. I didn't feel a bond with any of my children or my husband anymore. I was angry, I was yelling and I just wasn't myself. I held resentment towards my children for the fact I didn't even know who I was anymore. I was tired, so very tired due to lack of sleep. I just wanted to run away or go back to a simpler time when I only had myself to look after.
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I was surrounding myself with negativity and becoming a very negative person. My thoughts were always about how I couldn't do it anymore, how I sucked at being a parent or how my children hated me. "Can't," "won't" and "don't" were all constants in my vocabulary.
Until one day I woke up. I woke up and realized I didn't like who I had become or the road I was going down. I took steps to better myself, I saw a counselor, took an anxiety course, started surrounding myself with positivity and worked on my inner self. But most importantly, I forgave myself.
I am a work in progress, I always will be. I am a better parent because I forgive myself for my imperfections and I make changes where I need to. I don't put myself down like I used to and I remind myself how wonderful I am.
So to all you mamas out there that think you're failing: please love yourself, you are doing the best you can and your children love you. Please forgive yourself.
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