Choosing not to feel guilty
As a new mum I have made a conscious decision not to feel guilty. In a recent mother’s group meeting our midwife noted, now you’ve had a baby you’ll feel guilty for the rest of your life. ….for not giving them enough attention, going back to work early, expressing to enjoy some drinks or deciding to stop breastfeeding.
Although guilt is a habitual feeling I think we can choose whether or not to let it impact how we live our lives and influence the choices we make. I choose that when I’m away from my beautiful baby I want to be present to those I’m around and not distant with my mind somewhere else. Being present without judgement and acceptance is a mindful way of living in the moment and not the past or future. When I’m back with Ethan I am present, giving him my full, energised self (when I’ve had enough sleep :)).
Through the growing network of mums I’m connecting with some have to go back to work soon. I believe being plagued with guilt is not good for them or their baby. It causes stress, resentment and an inability to enjoy the moment. Guilt, like jealously, I have learnt is no good to anyone.
Obviously not everyone can relate to being a new mum and other examples I can relate to past instances in my life include choosing not to feel guilty working late and missing a training session, missing a work function because I needed an early night or not being able to attend a family function due to living overseas. This has taken time to develop. Can you think of your own examples and does the guilt serve you or others in any way?
My husband is naturally unruffled by most things and reflected on this with his Ironman training leading up to the Hawaii World Age Group Champs this October. He hoped that if Ethan could remember this time he’d be happy to know that Daddy wasn’t giving up the things he was passionate about and could appreciate that as well as training and racing he loved every moment spent with him. He is my inspiration for thinking this way. I reflect that:
“If we give up what we love, what use are we to others?”
Last weekend we had the reverse situation. We traveled to Port Stephens with my parents who were here from the UK visiting their first grandchild. On the way we picked up my new hot pink Giant bike and Owain’s TT bike he upgraded to Di2 electronic gearing. We had excitedly planned to take them out for a couple of spins but were greeted with a very wet weekend with dangerous conditions and Owain having a cold. The bikes remained sat looking beautiful outside our apartment and on the roof of our car for the weekend. Instead of feeling guilty that we couldn’t head out we accepted that and enjoyed the time to relax with the family. Here’s some pictures of Ethan enjoying some quality daddy time and the inactive bikes! I believe we should look to find more wins in what we are able to do and not regretting what you can’t.
When I went into the city a couple of weeks ago without baby for a meeting and dinner with a friend I felt liberated, not guilty. I knew Ethan was in safe loving hands and that those looking after him were experiencing joy. Why would I not enjoy my time away? Some may say this could appear selfish or not caring. I believe that you need to look after yourself first to be the best for others. Taking some time out to take care of myself is just as important as precious time with my beautiful baby. The analogy of an aeroplane’s safety demo of putting our own oxygen mask on before helping others comes to mind here.