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  • Writer's pictureSuzanne Lim


sad mother holding newborn and looking sadly in the distance

Before your child was born, did you know that along with your precious bundle of joy you would also be birthing a knapsack of guilt?

Well, surprise!

Mother Guilt is a well known trope of the profession and it comes with it’s attendants; shame and regret. Ugh… as if the sleep less nights and financial stress weren't enough.

Lets look these emotions and see if we cant make some sense of them. Maybe we can get a good grasp of how they fit in our lives and hopefully find a way to let go of what doesn’t serve us.


-a bad feeling caused by knowing or thinking that you have done something bad or wrong

-Merriam Webster

Understand that society places many unfair and unreasonable expectations on mothers. The images we see in the media, (especially that of the 'social' kind) are guilt inducing and give many new mothers impossible standards to live up to. Click bait proclaiming that you can use LOSE THE BABY WEIGHT IN 2 WEEKS! is crazy-making. Remember; anything that appears too good to be true...usually is.

Our celebrity obsessed culture has us comparing ourselves to those whose lives are eons away from ours in terms of money and built in help. Pinterest and Instagram would have us believe that EVERYONE is gorgeous and spends their days sitting in cafes drinking artistically creamed lattes while our angelic babes sleep peacefully beside us (in the $3000 stroller)

DO NOT GET CAUGHT IN THIS TRAP. Comparing ourselves to others is something we should all avoid like the plague. You are unique. Your baby is unique. Your life is yours. Live it that way.

We've defined guilt. We know exactly what it means and how it feels. Intellectually, we know this definition to be true and right. Yet, we have so much trouble applying this reality to our own emotions and lives.


Sit down and think hard about what it is you feel guilty about. Write it down if you have to.

Understand the difference between Guilt and Regret

Regret is a feeling of sadness or disappointment over something that has happened or been done or a missed opportunity. It is not the same as guilt. There is no "moral failure" attached to it.

Be honest with yourself over whether or not you did something actually wrong. We don't always like the decisions we have to make; they are often ones that fill us with sadness and disappointment. The question remains about the moral failing. Did you commit an act of moral failing?

You may feel guilty because you forgot to send your child to school with a hat on a day that turns out to be colder than you thought it would be. Fair enough. However, in cases like this, it is ok to feel a little guilty (your kid may be cold for a portion of the day) but understand that this is a mistake...not a moral failing. You didn't deliberately leave the hat out of the back pack, did you?

Parents need to find a system wherein their best is good enough.

Remember that guilt has a place

Sometimes we screw up. Truth. We make mistakes. We hurt people. We behave selfishly, at other's expense. Feelings of guilt after behaving like this are appropriate. It means you are not a psychopath. Yay You!! In these instances, you may want to again do some analyzing of yourself. If you are willing to own your own behaviour, you need to ask if the thing you did can be fixed? Can you make recompense? If so, do it and resolve to better in the future. It sounds so simple. But I know it is not. Righting wrongs is rarely easy but it is oh so freeing.

3 things

1. kids are resilient and forgiving.

2. We are all in this together.

3. And...This is hard work.

Hey! I don't have all the answers! Read more about this here:

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