Working Through Guilt -- Or Is It Just Regret?

Maybe you dreamed of a natural birth but had an epidural or a cesarean. Or perhaps breastfeeding isn't working out like you'd hoped. These are just the kinds of things new moms like to beat themselves (or each other!) up about.

Nancy & Betsy

Well, don't do it! If you made informed choices, with the best information available to you at the time, you did the best you possibly could have done.

In her talks, renowned speaker and anthropologist Kathryn Dettwyler points out that moms should be aware of the important differences between guilt and regret. "Guilt is what you feel when you knowingly choose a lesser option for your baby. Regret is what you feel when the choices, and the consequences of your choices, are not explained to you."

If you are truly unhappy with how things have gone, consider these tips for coping with regrets:

  • Don't trust hindsight: Acknowledge that you were vulnerable and made the best decisions you could in challenging circumstances.

  • Forgive yourself: There's no better time than now to accept that this parenting gig is hard and you're not going to be perfect at it.

  • What have you learned? Leverage your experiences to empower yourself in the future.

Tags: regrets

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