Following on from part 1 feeling mum guilt impacts us in so many ways. Thoughts that often present are “have I missed something?”, “my child is behind other kids, that’s my fault”, or “I should know the answers, mums are supposed to know.”
When the world was plunged into uncertainty with COVID 19, the impact on mums was overwhelming which further added to feelings of guilt, overwhelm, loneliness and isolation. You are not alone in feeling this, research published in 2020 highlights the lack of support for new parents with the majority not having any formal and informal support in person.
The National Childbirth Trust conducted a survey with 25% of new mothers reported not being asked about their mental health at all in their six-to-eight-week postnatal consultation with their GP, read the research here; https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/7477/documents/78447/default/conducted
This has impacted our sense of self, how we view ourselves and then how we treat ourselves.
The result of this often leads to a sense of loss; of losing your identity and this shows up as “I have no idea who I am anymore”, or “I’m just mum, there is nothing else to me.”
Perhaps this resonates for you, or it helps you identify shaming thoughts you have about yourself. Guilt often leads into shame. Guilt is feeling remorse or responsible that you’ve done something wrong or think you’ve done something wrong.
Shame is feeling you are bad or unworthy which grows over time and is relating to our behaviour in relation to how other people may view and judge us.
For example, I would think “I am only a mum” leading to a feeling of guilt as I love being a mum and for me it was such a gift. This would lead to shame of “I am a bad mum” (because that is what others will think of me).
As mums we forgive our kids all day long, we “let things go” that they do and say but when it comes to forgiving ourselves, that is a different matter. When we struggle to offer ourselves compassion this leads to lower self-esteem and our relationship with self becomes unhealthy.
Tips for showing yourself mummy compassion;
- It can be easy to fall into calling yourself mummy all the time and for partners to call us “mum” or “mummy” too. Encourage your partner to use your name sometimes in front of your child/children, this will aid in promoting your sense of self and who you are.
- Choose a positive affirmation such as “I am worthy of compassion” or “I choose to forgive myself”. This aids in building self-esteem which encourages a healthier relationship with yourself.
- Write down 3 moments from the last week where you know you’ve been a good enough mum.