Sh*t That Catches You Off Guard: Mommy Guilt

Learn how to deal with this very real part of parenting with 3 tips from postpartum expert Rebecca Egbert.

Sh*t That Catches You Off Guard: Mommy Guilt

I think it’s safe for me to say that while you’re pregnant, there is little time to learn about some of the extreme emotional experiences you will have after your birth. I’m pretty sure you’re not sitting down for green juice with your momma-friends saying, “Oh hey, want to talk about mommy guilt?” Nobody does that…although, I think we should consider starting.

My friend and I were recently texting back and forth about a book she’s helping me edit about the first year after having your baby. Chapter one: That Shit Caught Me Off Guard. One massive way she was caught off guard was all about the #Mommyguilt (MG) she felt after having a baby.

MG comes in all forms, but too often we simply clamp down and don’t talk about it. Guilt, as we have learned in the last decade, is deeply steeped in shame. We now know more than ever about shame because of amazing storytellers and researchers like Brené Brown.

We’ve learned that shame is born in the Limbic Brain, which controls our emotions and releases the stress hormone cortisol. How much cortisol is released into our bodies is directly related to our emotional responses to situations. Cortisol, however, builds up and stores, much like fat, in our bodies. When we don’t take care of our stress, cortisol ramps up and exacerbates sleep deprivation and that “edgy” panic feeling under your skin.

Three ways to combat MG:

1. Develop the habit of meditation practice. The whole body is positively affected by meditation. You will be incredibly responsive to a 5-minute daily meditation practice if you make it a priority and life habit.

2. Trust your gut. This will help you immensely in many situations, but especially when it comes to sex. In all my years working with moms, I can count the number of women on two hands who were like, “SEX is the best thing ever now that I gave birth!” Getting your mojo back after giving birth is vastly different for every woman. It’s more common for us to have one job in mind: taking care of a baby. Not our “hey babe” baby. If the heat explodes in your relationship and you’re not “feeling it,” try exploring intimacy vs. intercourse in conversation with your partner. A great book I always suggest to all couples is How to Have Difficult Conversations by Stone, Patton, Heen. It’s old, but wise and invaluable.

3. You can’t raise a child with a greater sense of resilience than you have yourself. Resilience is all about how you ‘bounce back,’ and the goal is to bounce back healthy. To build resilience, you need to create or nurture meaningful connections. We all seek love and belonging, and you need this more than ever as a momma. You need friends that you can be your most vulnerable self with and friends you can support back. It’s the notion of turning guilt into giving. The more you give, the more you get.

If you’re pregnant and reading this, you’ll develop a deep knowing about your own ecosystem of motherhood, one that is right for your family. Advice, you can take it or leave it--you’ll learn this. But, when it comes to wisdom others give you because you ask, and it feels ‘right,’ soak that love up like summer sun.

This week, I leave you with one question. What brings on your mommy guilt? Tell us in the comments below or show us on Instagram (we love pictures). If you’re feeling brave, use hashtags #mommyguilt #themotherlove #WRNYbuildsconnection. The more mommas reach out in a time when you desperately need connection and bonding, other than with our babies, the stronger and more resilient we’ll all become.

Image source.

Rarely is a woman more concerned with what her body needs than when she's pregnant. We start to question and research everything, right? From swearing off turkey sandwiches to diving down the rabbit hole of prenatal supplements that make up what we lack, the stress of overthinking is real, mama.

One of the main reasons we launched the Motherly Shop is to help take some of that stress away. We've tracked down the best brands and products developed by people (and in many cases, women!) that truly work to serve the needs of real mamas, especially throughout the overwhelming transition into motherhood.

That's why we knew we had to introduce mamas-to-be to the science-backed and expertly-formulated protein collagen for pregnancy from Needed. And as one of our bestsellers, it's clear you've been looking for it, too.

Keep reading Show less

Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

So, what's new this week?

Earth Mama: Effective, natural herbal care for mamas and babies

Founded and grown in her own garage in 2002, Earth Mama started as an operation of one, creating salves, tinctures, teas and soaps with homegrown herbs. With a deep desire to bring the healing powers of nature that have been relied on for thousands of years to as many mamas as possible, Melinda Olson's formulas quickly grew into Earth Mama Organics. Since then, the brand has remained committed to manufacturing clean, safe and effective herbal solutions for the entire journey of motherhood, including pregnancy, breastfeeding and baby care, and even the loss of a baby.

Bravado Designs: Soothing sounds for a good night's sleep

With 28 years of serving pregnant and postpartum mamas under their belt, Bravado Designs is a true authority on the needs of changing bodies. It's true that we have them to thank for rescuing us from the uncomfortable and frumpy designs our own moms had to live with. Launched in Canada by two young mamas, they designed the first prototypes with extra leopard print fabric certain that a better bra was possible. Throughout the years they've maintained their commitment to ethical manufacturing while creating long-lasting products that truly work.

The Sill: Instagram-ready potted plants

We've long admired this female-founded brand and the brilliant mind behind it, Eliza Blank. (She even joined Motherly co-founder Liz Tenety on and episode of The Motherly Podcast!) The mission behind the business was simple: To make the process of bringing plants into your home as easy as possible, and as wonderful as the plant themselves. With their in-house, exclusively designed minimalist planters, the end result makes plant parenthood just a few clicks away.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

Keep reading Show less

10 photos to take on baby’s first day that you'll cherish forever

You'll obsess over these newborn baby pictures.

Bethany Menzel: Instagram + Blog

As you're preparing for baby's birth, we bet you're dreaming of all of the amazing photos you'll take of your precious new babe. As a professional photographer and mama, I have some tips for newborn photos you'll want to capture.

Here are the 10 photos you will want to take on baby's first day.

Keep reading Show less