Family and Parenting

Mum Guilt – Going from One to Two

I’m finally having my first productive work day since I birthed Elfin, by which I mean I’m actually writing. And I have so much to share; yet having had a (very short) break, I’m struggling to know where to start! I have at least three subjects I want to write about, and I’ve no idea which to get started on first – my fear being I’ll sit here staring into space and achieve very little…

I guess this feeling of being a bit overwhelmed and in limbo is symptomatic of one of the topics I want to discuss, actually. So may as well start there, right?

 

Mum Guilt Increases Exponentially

I want to talk about Mum Guilt. We’ve all (if we’re parents) experienced it at some point, but never is it more potent than when you produce a brand new human being. Whilst it’s touted as being one of the most wonderful things we can do for our first-born, it’s also the equivalent of putting them to bed with a stick of dynamite: we are consciously and deliberately blowing their little world wide open.

Does my Pixie love her sister? Sure she does – she adores her. I’m very fortunate that she has displayed no resentment at all towards ‘her’ baby. However, she has definitely been behaving somewhat…out of character recently; but, in fairness, so have I.

And I’m the adult who chose this and had a fair idea of what was to come, while she merely had 100% instilled hype for the concept – but zero comprehension of its reality.

Why do I feel so guilty? It’s two-fold. No, it’s not – it’s, like, five-fold:

  • Pixie is, inevitably, having a tough time;
  • I am less patient/tolerant and more irritable/hard on my beloved first daughter;
  • On top of all that, Pixie is getting less of my time generally;
  • My husband is bearing the brunt of my irritability;
  • My newborn is not getting the best of me either, and has little more than her basic needs met.

When I give it even the tiniest amount of thought, that knowledge smarts a little. Essentially, nobody – especially not your truly – is getting what we need from me. I feel guilt towards my entire family – and this is only one part of the problem…

Pregnant or thinking about having a second baby? How hard is it going from one to two - really? Here's the lowdown on what to expect. Hint: Mum Guilt features heavily...

The other issue is something which only occurred to me yesterday. In the midst of trying to deal with yet more of Pixie’s difficult behaviour, I suddenly realised that I’m missing them – again: I’m missing the beauty of the fleeting newborn days. Only this time it has nothing to do with sleep-deprivation (in three weeks I’ve had only one night which has resulted in me feeling ill); it doesn’t even have anything to do with a cruel and arrogant boss.

This time, when I should be elated – and in theory I absolutely am – I’m still missing the joy of these special early days because rather than being all-consumed with love, I’m all-consumed with guilt instead.

Which, of course, makes me feel guilty…

So, how am I assuaging the MG? Now more than ever I am trying to focus on the reasons I have to be thankful, which reminds me of how fortunate I am. And that in turn helps to keep me present and in the moment, preventing me from ruminating on the many ways I may be screwing up my babies or my marriage, and ultimately allowing my mind to take a downward spiral back into the anxiety I lived with after Pixie’s birth.…

Because let’s face it – we’re none of us perfect, and I’m sure I’m doing no worse than any other new mum of two. I think.

4 Comments

  1. mummyburgess

    July 6, 2017 at 5:03 pm

    I struggled a lot going from one to two. Even now that my son is almost 2 it’s still really hard. I get mum guilt all the time, I think it’s part of this whole parenting thang. Xxx

    1. Kate Tunstall

      August 3, 2017 at 2:14 pm

      Tell me about it! I’ve decided it may evolve and change – but it’s always there… x

  2. susielhawes

    July 8, 2017 at 1:37 pm

    Ahh I’m sure you’re not alone lovely. Just take one day and a time. And you’re right to focus on the things to be thankful for. And I’m sure your husband will realise it’s a testing time for everyone. I’m expecting number 2 in Jan and pretty scared but I think all the fears are pretty common. at least that’s what I’m telling myself! Xx

    1. Kate Tunstall

      August 3, 2017 at 2:17 pm

      Oh no – I hope I’ve not worried you too much! Congratulations! And for the record, there are so many wonderful things about having a second baby, of course there are! Since writing that post I’ve discovered that we had a particularly difficult time because Elfin has CMPA, silent reflux and suspected posterior tongue tie, so we’ve had lots of things going on which have made it a tougher transition for the whole family. And though it’s taken me aaaaages to reply, I can tell you that things are finally settling down now! xx

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