Some say worry is the work of motherhood. It begins the moment the stick shows two pink lines—Am I ready for this? Is everything ok? Will my baby be healthy? Is it a boy? A girl?
Will I be a good mother?
That’s the question that underlies all the others. If the baby isn’t healthy, we mothers immediately wonder if it’s our fault. What did I eat or not eat during the pregnancy? What supplement did I miss? Was it the bike ride … the boat ride … the vacation … the one glass of wine before I knew I was pregnant? After the baby is born, every angst our child suffers calls into question our mothering skills.
It’s called Mother Guilt.
For some women, after deciding not to breastfeed, repetitive information about the benefits of breastfeeding may tap her Mother Guilt defenses. After all, each time we (health care providers) are telling how good breastfeeding is, we’re telling the non-breastfeeding mother how much she is depriving her baby of those very benefits.
So what do we do to assuage the guilt?
Health care providers:
- Don’t water down the message! Doing so is a disservice to the majority who want to breastfeed.
- Ask women what information helped make their decision not to breastfeed.
- Actively listen, offering information and support.
- Remember, only YOU are equipped to make the best decision for you and your family.
- Breastfeeding is only one of many healthy choices parents make for the well-being of their children. Once you’ve made your informed decision, get on with the million other things you can do to have a healthy, well-adjusted child!
- Good parenting doesn’t begin and end with a feeding choice. It begins with love.
“Of all things love is the most potent.”—Maria Montessori
“Parents are often so busy with the physical rearing of children that they miss the glory of parenthood, just as the grandeur of the trees is lost when raking leaves.” –Marcelene Cox