Mommy Guilt: It’s a Good Thing
After having my daughter, I joined a few parenting groups on Facebook. Mostly they were awesome and super supportive but every once in a while I would come across a post that would, in all honesty, kind of ruin my day.
These day-ruining posts were almost always about mommy hot topics like circumcision and breastfeeding. But the first one I ever came across was about vaccines – and it made me see red.
I did everything I could do, within reason, to prove to myself that I was, in fact, doing the right thing. But, when it came right down to it, There was no clear cut answer.
The woman who posted it was asking for opinions on vaccines in general – like whether they are safe or not or if they really do cause autism. I clicked on the “comments” tab under the initial post and began scrolling down and reading the responses. There were nearly 50 by the time I saw the post and almost all of them were anti-vaccination (and some of them weren’t so nice). Wanting to throw in my two cents as a pro vaccination mom, I typed up my own (not-so-nice) comment and hit “enter”.
Within minutes of hitting that enter button I had at least half a dozen responses. Most of them were pretty hostile (not that I could point fingers) and just helped fuel my fire. I am embarrassed to admit that I got into a bit of a Facebook fight over the issue. By the time it was all said and done, I felt pretty crappy. Was I really sure that vaccinating my daughter was the right thing to do? And worse still, was it safe?
After having a small nervous breakdown (no really) I started doing some massive research. I read articles from both sides of the argument – new and old. I talked to two pediatricians as well as my OBGYN. I did everything I could do, within reason, to prove to myself that I was, in fact, doing the right thing. But, when it came right down to it, There was no clear cut answer. No one could tell me that vaccines were 100 percent safe to administer, nor could they tell me that they it would be 100 percent safe to opt out of them. So, in the end, I was faced with making my own decision based on what information I did have. And, eventually I did make a decision, but that wasn’t the real take away here.
The real take away was this, regardless of where I fell on the vaccine decision, I had been doing the right thing all along. I was questioning my parenting choices.
Whether I decided to vaccinate my daughter or not, I had already sort of won. Questioning my choices was what was making me a good parent. Not the fact that I decided to go one way or the other. I walked away from that experience having a much better understanding of the type of parent I wanted to be. I knew I couldn’t be right all the time, I just wanted to be open to being wrong and this was a good first step. At the end of my parenting days, I want to be able to look back at the decisions I have made and say that I gave it my best shot – and really mean it.
Do you find yourself regularly reexamining your parenting decisions? What do you often feel most conflicted about?