I was reading "Mother Guilt" by Ita Buttrose and Dr Penny Adams. It's great and I highly recommend it for anyone planning to have (or already have) children whether that be now or many years in the future. And I haven't even finished it yet! Out of all the parenting books I have read both as part of childcare studies and just in everyday life this is by far the best and the most real and open.
I have experienced guilt myself many times looking after other people's children. I call it the "babysitters guilt". I know with myself, that I feel guilty if I return the kids a little later than I said originally. I feel guilty if I turn my back on the kids for more than a second because what if something was to happen?? I feel guilty when people comment on the use of dummies when it was the parent's decision, not mine (which by the way I support anyways: sometimes it great when you are preparing a feed etc and you have a screaming baby)! Sometimes it can sooo stressful looking after someone else's child, because you just so want to do things 'your own way'.
But back to the book, it some interesting ideas, especially about middle class mums. it states: "Middle class mothers with their degrees, careers and 'can do it all' expectations have it the toughest. They are independent, usually living geographically away from their mothers and extended families. Often their mothers are working and not able to offer much practical help because of time restraints. Many mothers tell me they feel isolated and lonely". Isn't that interesting?? I would have to say, with my experience with middle class mums, I agree. Sadly, I often see the end results in the children I babysit....
it also brings up society's current obsession with babies as accessories, and how babies have just become something else to save for like a house, car or holiday. I am sorry but I have never seen family making in financial terms: I would much rather give my child love than a financial plan for it's life.
But what about my own guilt?? At the moment I am neither pregnant nor have children. But the guilt that comes from having problems falling pregnant! OMG! You feel guilty that your body isn't doing what it should be able to do (and therefore failing that fertile female ideal!). You feel guilty that you can't give your partner that child he wants. You feel guilty when you hold that friend's new baby and you don't want to let go. You feel guilty that you are jealous of that pregnant woman walking down the street. You feel guilty above all, for wanting a baby when you are younger than the norm: that you are not financially stable etc. And that, I am sure will be just the beginning. But what is so wrong with society that it expects so much out of us women? Why can't I, a 19 yr old want a child for mature reasons? Why does society always assume it is about money or for some silly reason?? I want a large family, I want to start now while I am in a flexible stage of my life...is that so wrong? I have done all I wanted to do before I have children...I want to able to share any future adventures with them. But always there is that guilt...family gullt, societal guilt. In the end, but I think it is something you have to fight through: realise that as long as your kids are loved, fed, clothed and protected that everything is going to be alright.
Lots of love,