“Mummy Guilt”, despite its slightly sickly name, is a powerful force. It reaches all the way into your gut and doesn’t let go. At the height of its grip, there is nothing to be said that can release you, but you will do anything in its name.
And before I became pregnant with Caleb, whom we affectionately refer to as The Bird (whilst Eden remains “The Beast”), I was not intimately acquainted with the phenomenon of “MG” … We’d had such brief encounters, so far between. Encounters that could be overcome with a new toy purchased and extra treats allowed.
And then there were two. In fact, and then there was just the knowledge that there would be two and Mummy Guilt and I started to hang out. Regularly. Guilt about the timing of “the next one”, guilt that I was too tired, too sick to properly play, etc, etc. The last few weeks before Caleb was born, Eden became very needy. And I started feeling sick with guilt because we were beginning to expect him to grow up, because we needed him to. (he started preschool and having a grandma day)
With two here, each making his demand known, Mummy Guilt is in all its glory. Caleb is left to cry at times that would have had me desperately upset with Eden and it barely phases me. Just admitting it brings that sickening squeeze. I can’t let it phase me though, as I constantly try to justify to people, because I can’t physically see to both their needs at the same time. Not generally, at least. I can’t hold Caleb as he struggles to get to sleep whilst changing eden’s nappy. And yes, Eden probably should be out of nappies but he’s not.
The guilt of how much different Calebs infancy is/will be, compared to eden’s, is suffocating. Today I’ve held him whilst he sleeps because this is eden’s naptime and this is his chance. This is his chance to come first. What a thing to say, and to mean.
I won’t even begin to explain the guilt about the “not yet”….