Mommy Guilt and Bringing Home Baby

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Photographer: Amanda Janson of BeStill Photography

I am pregnant with my second child and just about a month away from my due date. And a new pregnancy symptom has popped up recently that I didn’t anticipate. That symptom is a pretty severe case of mommy guilt. 

My husband and I adopted our son, Milo, in 2017 after a few years of battling infertility and one ectopic pregnancy. We wanted to be parents so badly, and when Milo joined our family we felt complete. We were all right where we were supposed to be and life felt like perfection.

When Milo hit about a year old we made the decision to add another child to our family. That same feeling of wanting to grow our family had returned and the timing seemed right. This time we did IVF through embryo adoption. We were very lucky that our first attempt was successful and here I am, eight months pregnant with our second baby boy. 

Being pregnant is something I’ve wanted for so long. Especially since my ectopic pregnancy before Milo. We feel super fortunate that even though this pregnancy has had its ups and downs, the road to this point has been pretty smooth. So imagine my surprise when out of nowhere I was struck with some pretty severe feelings of guilt. 

Over this past month, I have come to the realization that my days spent with Milo as the center of my universe are numbered. Soon there will be another Shofner here and my time, attention, and focus will be split. Honestly, in the beginning, we all know it won’t really even be split. I remember those first few weeks and how much attention and care newborns require.

This feels so unfair to Milo. Doesn’t it? As he lays here coloring in front of me I recognize that he has no idea how much his life is about to change. I’m kind of glad he doesn’t understand the pregnancy and that we can just enjoy these last few weeks in ignorant bliss together. 

So what does my mommy guilt look like?

First of all, all the playdates! I’ve had him out running around and spending time with family and friends way more than usual. I’ve been trying to make every day a perfect memory.

I’ve found myself holding Milo a lot more these days (not easy at 34 weeks pregnant), rocking him, snuggling him, and just allowing him to be the baby for a little while longer. I’m also totally guilty of spoiling Milo with all the Target toy aisle trips and Starbucks cake pops.

Even with this exhaustive list of crazy coping strategies, deep down I know he will be fine. Kids become siblings every day and I’m sure Milo will embrace his baby brother (at some point) and be totally fine.

But most days even that rationalization doesn’t do much to curb my guilt. What has helped though are all the moms who’ve reached out to tell me how normal this is. How you can even experience the same guilt with baby number three or four.

So I take solace in knowing I’m not alone and yes, it eventually goes away. 

If you have any tips for welcoming baby number two into the family or easing my mom guilt, please leave your tips in a comment below! 

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Originally from Indiana, Carey moved to South Carolina in 2009. She and her husband, Brett, met during college at USC and now reside in Forest Acres. She is an elementary school teacher turned stay-at-home mom to two wonderful boys. After struggling with infertility for years, their son, Milo, joined their family in November of 2017 through domestic adoption. In March of 2020 baby River joined the family via embryo adoption. In addition to being a SAHM, Carey works in Social Media Management, is a babywearing educator, and a postpartum doula. She enjoys writing, iced coffee, road trips, and connecting with other mamas online. Her passions include adoption ethics and education, infertility, mental health advocacy, plus size life, and social justice issues. You can follow Carey’s motherhood journey and more on Instagram at MessyAsAMother.

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