Feeling Guilty Because You Want a Life Beyond Parenthood? Tips How to Relieve Mother Guilt


Each mother has a different motherhood. There are no prescriptions or judgments, yet we feel there are.

Frustrated Mother Suffering From Post Natal DepressionExpectant Mothers

When some mothers find out they’re pregnant they want a baby but still feel ambivalent. Don’t let smiling pictures of expectant mothers fool you. You know your life will change and you’re taking on a big responsibility. You want so much to give and receive love, but it can feel overwhelming.

Even mothers who have had to wait a long time to conceive are allowed to have doubts when they are finally pregnant or their adoption is confirmed. There’s so much ahead of you to learn and feel that it’s hard to comprehend all that’s in front of you. For some the external rituals of baby showers and announcements give you focus. For others, that’s stressful. Pregnancy, adoption and the prospect of motherhood doesn’t follow some imaginary straight line. What’s going on inside you is momentous and someone needs to remind you that “You feel what you feel and that’s okay.”


Some pregnancies are uneventful, many are not. Your focus may shift from the prospective baby to the physical changes you are going through. Deep inside you know it’s all worth it if you are struggling physically, but that doesn’t mean you can’t complain! A prospective mother does best when she’s nurtured.

When the Baby Arrives

Some mothers like lots of help and others like their space. Finding what’s right for you takes time as you get to know your baby. Advice can easily feel like judgment instead of help. It’s hard to take charge and ask for what you need when you feel vulnerable. It’s just so easy to feel guilty when you don’t want the advice you’re given and want to just try out and follow your own guidelines and change them as you learn what works best for you and your baby.

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Laurie Hollman, Ph.D. is a psychoanalyst and author who does psychotherapy with infants and parents, children, adolescents, and adults. Dr. Hollman’s new book: Unlocking Parental Intelligence: Finding Meaning in Your Child’s Behavior is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Familius.com. She writes about infant, child and adolescent development, mental health, Parental Intelligence, and a broad range of parenting topics.


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