Trade In Your Guilt, Shame, and Self-Loathing.

Guilt. Shame. Self-Loathing.

Sound familiar? Let me share my story with you.

Around 4 months of age, my daughter’s weight gain drastically slowed down to the point that she fell off the World Health Organization (WHO) charts. My milk supply had dropped, so I did just about everything to increase my supply. My efforts were falling short, so at 6 months of age, we began supplementing with formula and introduced solids. Margaret gained a pound in about 5 days once we started supplementing.

The picture on the top left is Margaret around that age.

I used to look at the pictures from that time and feel awful. In my mind, I had unknowingly been starving my child.

I remember the comments about how tiny she was. I hated hearing those comments. They reminded me of how hard of a time I had working to increase my supply, only to fail. I felt horrible that her weight had fallen off the charts.

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Fast forward a couple years. This past November I got sick and had to cold-turkey wean my son. Once he started on formula, he started gaining weight like crazy. He had been at a perfectly healthy weight while I was breastfeeding, but his weight gain went through the roof once he switched from exclusively breastmilk to formula.

All I heard at family gatherings over the holidays was,

“He’s so huge!”

“How much does he weigh?”

“He’s a bruiser!”

“How much does he weigh?”

“What a chunker!”

“How much does he weigh??”

The picture on the bottom left is Charles about a week ago right before his 9 month checkup. He is in the 96th percentile for weight, close to the complete opposite end of the charts compared to his sister when she was a baby.

It took me several months to stop feeling the sting when I heard the comments about how huge he is. It hurt so bad when I had to wean him. Every time someone mentioned his weight, it reminded me of that awful period I went through.

I felt like I couldn’t win.

“Margaret is so tiny!”

“Charles is HUGE!”

No one ever meant for those comments to be hurtful, but the pain was still very real to me.

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The two pictures on the right are Margaret and Charles together. Margaret is a peanut and Charles is my little chunker. Charles will likely pass his sister in weight at age 1 when she is 3 1/2 yrs old.

I used to compare Margaret to other babies her age and it broke my heart. It hurt because of the pain I had experienced when we struggled with my milk supply. It hurt because I thought I had been starving my daughter and that it would cause irreparable damage.

I used to compare Charles to other babies his age and it broke my heart. It hurt because of the pain I had experienced when I was sick and had to wean him. It hurt because I thought I would never connect with him and bond the way I did when I breastfed him.

Now I look at my sweeties as they truly are through a much healthier lens. My two beautiful children. Both so sweet and so happy. They are perfectly fine. In fact, they’re fantastic. I love them so much. And I don’t care if they’re bigger or smaller than other kids. Their size doesn’t make them any better or worse than other kids.

I know this is just the beginning and that to an extent, I will always struggle with comparing my kids to other kids. But with both my daughter and son, I have learned 4 very important lessons:

  1. When we become parents, we’re all beginners.
    • We all will have different experiences and will constantly be learning and growing. We’ll have struggles, and that’s okay.
  2. We have to look at the big picture.
    • No, I wasn’t thrilled to begin supplementing with my daughter and it hurt to make an overnight switch to formula with my son. However, I can now step back and view those experiences with a much better perspective. Those choices were in the best interest of my children and myself as well. It all worked out.
  3. We have to give ourselves a lot of grace.
    • I beat myself up so much during and following those two difficult times with my kids. I was so incredibly hard on myself. Where did all that guilt and shame get me? NOWHERE! Daily I have to remind myself to give myself lots and lots of grace. We all have to.
  4. God will always meet us where we are.
    • God loves us as we are, no matter how messy and broken. He brings beauty from ashes (Isaiah 61:3). God will grow and stretch us if we allow Him to.

Guilt.

Shame.

Self-loathing.

Mamas, let’s trade in our guilt for grace. Our shame for self-respect. Our self-loathing for love.

What have you struggled with that has brought you guilt? Shame? Self-loathing? How can you trade in those feelings for grace, self-respect, and love? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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