The most unbelievable part is that it begins the minute you know you're pregnant. You are apparently supposed to be the model pregnant lady, eating right, exercising, planning the nursery, being excited, and so on, right when you're in the middle of something quite traumatic and stressful. I mean, get this, I felt guilty all of first trimester, a period of 24/7 nausea and unbelievable starvation colliding on a minute by minute basis. Why did I feel guilty? Because rather than barf repeatedly because I ate something 'good for me and the babies' or fall down dead from hunger pangs that hit every hour, I ran out to Taco Bell and had me 3 stinkin' crunchy taco supremes. Because that was all I could stand to eat. Now, did I create this situation with some sort of conscious effort? No. I planned on eating veggies and fruits and grains and avoiding trans fats like the plague. But honestly, if I had to choose between barfing and eating crap? Eating crap wins every time.
Then, you give birth. I gave birth at 32 weeks. Why? Because I was practically dying with pre-eclampsia. For those of you who don't know, pre-eclampsia is basically a condition that means all of your organs are shutting down and you will die if you don't get those stinking babies out of you, and I mean fast. So, what did I feel guilty about? Um, giving birth 'too early.' Not making it to the magical 36th week (full term for triplets) despite the fact that I had not once ounce of control over that situation. I mean, what was I supposed to do? Talk sense into my liver and kidneys? Tell my blood pressure to please lower itself for just another 4 weeks? Go on some sort of heart/lung/liver/kidneys bypass machine to give those babies 4 more weeks? Oh my God, get real lady. But not a chance I could avoid that guilt.
So, then there was the NICU time. Other multiples and non multiples parents of preemies were in the NICU 8-12 hours a day visiting their babies. Where was I? Laying in my recliner at home because my blood pressure was still hovering around 150/100, my iron count was low despite two blood transfusions, I was still suffering from gestational diabetes, and, lets be honest, that ridiculous incision they make to take babies out of you? Um, that sucker hurts no matter how much vicodin you use. Oh, and don't forget I was pumping every 4 hours round the clock! Never mind that most nights I felt like I couldn't breathe and had to sleep sitting up with lights on to not freak out totally. But what did I feel bad for? Not being in the NICU all day. Only being able to sit up and hold a baby or make conversation for 4 hours even though to get me there my MIL had to roll my butt to the NICU in a wheelchair from the front door. Oh, I felt guilty. I mean really.
So, I could go on, because once babies get home, that's when the real guilt begins. You're not breastfeeding exclusively, you're not getting them to sleep correctly, they're not burping, they're not sleeping long enough, they're not eating enough, they're not whatever enough or too much and for once, I will admit that having three at once may actually multiply your guilt by three as well. Because whatever you failed at with your one baby at a time, I failed at with all three simultaneously. Not to mention that I could not even try to pick every child up the minute they cried or rock them to sleep in my arms regularly or comfort them the minute they cried. Because likely as not, I had a different baby in my arms.
What the evolutionary principle behind mommy guilt is I couldn't tell you. But it is pervasive, all encompassing and such a ridiculous waste of time. I'm here to start a revolution. Oh who am I kidding. I'm guilt riddled and bound to stay that way. Especially once they learn how to manipulate me. Oh, I'm in for it. Imagine three sets of puppy dog eyes....