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Overcoming Mom Guilt: A guide to Self-Compassion

Motherhood is a life-altering journey filled with love, joy, and precious moments. It's an experience that brings so much fulfillment and purpose. We are also all familiar with chaos of parenthood, and the lovely mom guilt that follows. Mom guilt is a powerful and often overwhelming emotion that can and does happen to even the most confident moms. For new moms, this emotional rollercoaster can be particularly challenging as they navigate the newborn phase. Let's take a moment to dive into the world of mom guilt. Where does it come from, and strategies overcoming it to boost your self-esteem and embrace the role as a mom.

Understanding Mom Guilt

Defining Mom Guilt and Its Sources

Let's start with defining what mom guilt is. Mom guilt is the overwhelming sense of inadequacy or regret that many mothers, especially those in the early stages of motherhood, experience. This can pop up in any aspect of parenting no matter what your circumstances are. It often stems from the impossibly high standards and expectations placed on new moms, both by society and ourselves. The sources of mom guilt are as diverse as motherhood itself and can include concerns about work-life balance, choices related to child-rearing, and even caring for yourself. We often think that we can do it alone, and when we can't (because it is impossible to do) we have intense mom guilt.

The Impact on Self-Esteem

Mom guilt, when left unchecked, can have a significant impact on a new mom's self-esteem. This complex emotional struggle can manifest in various ways:

1. Increased Stress and Anxiety:

New moms who are dealing with mom guilt often find themselves trapped in a never ending cycle of stress and anxiety. The pressure to be the perfect parent, with the fear of making mistakes, can take a huge toll on your mental and emotional well-being. This constant state of heightened stress can lead to health issues, bonding with the baby, disruptions in sleep and even impact the ability to function effectively in daily life.

2. Feelings of Inadequacy:

3. Negative Self-Talk:

4. Isolation and Loneliness:

5. Impact on Partner Relationships:

6. Influence on Parenting Choices:

7. Physical Health Effects:

Strategies for Overcoming Mom Guilt

Fortunately, there are practical strategies that new moms can learn and use to manage and overcome mom guilt, ultimately boosting their self-esteem:

Set Realistic Expectations:

It's crucial to understand that no one, especially not a new mom, is a perfect parent. Because we are imperfect humans, we will also be imperfect parents. Set achievable expectations for yourself, and remember that making mistakes is an integral part of the parenting journey. Making mistakes means that you are learning and growing. Making mistakes teaches our children that they can be imperfect and skills be worthy. Embrace the idea that being a good mom is about doing your best, not achieving perfection.

Practice Self-Compassion:

Reframe Negative Thoughts:

Seek Professional Help:

Practice Mindfulness and Self-Care:

Create a Supportive Network:

Seeking Support

New moms often feel isolated on their journey through motherhood, especially when dealing with mom guilt. Seeking support can make a significant difference:

Lean on Friends and Family: Share your feelings of mom guilt with trusted friends and family members. Many of them have been through similar emotions and can offer empathy, advice, and reassurance.

Join Support Groups: Consider becoming part of a support group for new moms or moms dealing with mom guilt. These groups provide a safe space to share experiences, gain insights, and realize that you're not alone in your struggles.

If you are in Monterey, CA come join the support group that I run. Learn more about the group here!

Open Conversations About Mom Guilt: Encourage open and honest conversations about mom guilt within your social circle of trusted mom friends. By discussing this common experience, you can help reduce its power and create a more supportive community.

In Conclusion

In conclusion, mom guilt is a prevalent and potent emotion, particularly among new moms. However, it's crucial to understand that mom guilt does not always that to win. There are practical strategies for overcoming it. By setting realistic expectations, practicing self-compassion, and seeking support, you can break free from the grip of mom guilt and boost your self-esteem. Remember, as a new mom, you deserve self-compassion and self-care. Embrace the beautiful imperfections of motherhood and the unique journey that lies ahead.

Remember momma, you are not alone on this journey called motherhood!


Hi, I’m Kristina Anzell, I am a Clinical Social Worker dedicated to providing specialized and compassionate mental health support for moms postpartum. My mission is to empower you to thrive in your role as a mother while nurturing your own well-being. If you enjoyed this blog post, check out my blog here! If you want more information or are seeking treatment, feel free to reach out!

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