After I was unable to nurse Alyla (my second oldest) exclusively, I had serious mom guilt. Like debilitating. When Ellie was born (my third), she was a CHAMP at nursing, right from the get-go. Just like her brother (my oldest!).
I could feel myself loving Holland and Ellie just a little more than Alyla. Because… well, Alyla had to be supplemented with formula. My milk wasn’t enough. And Alyla had trouble gaining weight. And she had tummy issues. And she had some skin allergies. And I had low fluids in my pregnancy with her. And I didn’t get to go into labor on my own. And I blamed myself for all of this.
“What kind of mother am I?”
Did I do something wrong during pregnancy? Did I work out too hard? Did I drink too much caffeine (pre-workout – haven’t had soda in over 11 years)? Did I teach fitness classes too long? Did I not drink enough water?
My third, Ellie, was a few weeks old when my sister came to visit. And she made a fleeting comment, “Oh man, you can definitely tell Alyla struggles with middle child syndrome.”
And then I read a book called Captivating and listened to the author talk about her broken relationship with her own mother. And how YEARS later, like as adults, her mother apologized, and admitted that her daughter reminded her of her inadequacies. And she just needed to forgive herself. And she was sorry she took it out on her daughter.
That was me.
Alyla reminded me of all the reasons “I must be a terrible mother.”
And? I just needed to forgive myself.
Alyla is a beautiful human.
Inside and out.
And she deserves my love.
She did nothing wrong.
I did nothing wrong.
And I need to forgive myself.
Or else? We’re going to have a broken relationship forever.
I am a wonderful mom.
She is a wonderful daughter.
And after those 2 God-given experiences? Of first my sister’s comment, and then shortly afterward reading that book? I decided to forgive myself.
I decided to change.
And my relationship with Alyla changed overnight.
She now reminds me of strength. And love. And forgiveness. And beauty. And growth. And unconditional love.
It is time we forgive ourselves, mommas.
We are doing better than we think we are.
And our kiddos? They need us to love ourselves. To forgive ourselves. Because a momma who loves herself? Is easy to love.
For more on this? Listen to my podcast Episode 16: Grace with our Mistakes.