A mother’s guilt gauntlet.

At some point or the other, all of us go through guilt. Guilt at not being able to help parents when they need our support, guilt at not being able to support siblings should they need us, even small things like not being able to call friends over for dinner after having promised to call them!  These are somethings that may or may not be under our control, but the guilty feeling overwhelms us. The cream, the one that is the most vicious type of guilt, is the “Mother’s guilt”. Like some of my favourite blogs(art‘s, starry’s, uma’s) have already listed, from a child’s poop to eating, to studies to sleeping  to their hurting themselves – every single action of the child, the mother is sure to get guilty about something or the other.  I am not sure if this feeling is something that will go away with the child’s age or will only grow into a bigger monster. So far, I have had tough luck in that department!

One of my friends was expecting and in the third month of pregnancy her child was detected with Down’s syndrome. The second round of tests revealed that the child was fine and there was no problem.  My friend however went through tremendous mental torture in the 21 days between the first round and second round of tests. She had conceived the baby after she was 35, it was her first baby, so she was totally consumed with the guilt that she was responsible for the child’s problem.  When the doctor gave the good news, she heaved a sigh of relief and asked if she could stop feeling guilty and stop worrying! and all the good doctor said was  “You are on the threshold of mommydom, the guilt will never go away”. He of course, meant it as a joke! That child is 8 years old now, she shared this with me when I did not even have kids and I remember these words every single day!

When I read about the “Fight that Mommy Guilt” contest on Women’s web, I was not sure if I wanted to share my guilt pangs on the web.But with submissions ending tomorrow, I decided to go ahead and take the plunge!   Everyday I pray for strength to sieve through the guilt that showers on me and pick the ones that will help me and my children improve positively!  That said , I leave you with a poem, I  penned for this contest –

A mother’s guilt gauntlet.

The day of “I do”, with the beau
She stepped into the guilt gauntlet, it is true
The well meaning ladies blessed her a bonny boy blue
While she guiltily thought, “a boy is good, but bless me a girl, will you?”

As the anniversaries rolled by and brought in each year new
The grandparents got fidgety, hints into demands grew
She did everything she could, heresay and all that she knew
All that she conceived was anger and misery. Guilt? Yes! That too.

The sixth year, things fell into place as if on cue
But, before she could get all giddy and go “Woohoo”!
The wise doctor spelled doom,before the pregnancy was through
Guilty about hurting the baby, she was ready to bid it adieu.

Thanks to strict regimens and a faith that she did renew
The nine months went by very quickly and soon the baby was due
Two sets of grandparents and the father eagerly awaiting the grand début
She agreed to be cut up, all the while guilty that her chance at normal she blew

The beautiful baby arrived! all the little one did was eat, sleep and poo
She thrived in taking care of the baby, even though she had no clue!
She was with the baby for 3 months and a 1/2,leave that she could accrue
When she rejoined work, the guilt, Oh! the guilt! On her conscience did it chew.

Life was wonderful, she enjoyed it for two years and months two
When a test revealed she was expecting, something she tried to eschew
Working, taking care of a toddler and managing a house without much ado
Guilty about spending less time with the firstborn, guilty about not taking enough care for the unborn, her happiness she did subdue

Again she was lucky, lucky to hear gurgles, giggles and clean goo!
She was thankful and counted her blessings quite a few
To take care of the babies, her job, she decided not to pursue
Guilted into it, but also guilty that on a single pay, they would have to make do

She cut back on expenses, everything she thought was undue
On some she placed, on some he placed a taboo
Together they built a happy home, them and their little crew
However, every action of hers induced some guilt, she hoped everything went alright and nothing she had to undo

She tries to move away,but the guilt sticks to her like glue
Day after day, she walks the guilt gauntlet, joining and rejoining the other guilty mom’s queue
Wee little guilt’s on either side, but boy! big trouble did they brew
Taunting her, pricking her conscience, affecting her like a vicious flu

Everyday she prays, at temples and sitting on the pew
To put the guilt at arm’s length, all its different forms and hues
At the same time, she prays to give her wisdom that grew
To accept good counsel in guilt’s disguise, before she could rue!!!


PS: I have updated this post to add a link to one of the blog’s that inspired me to start one. She is an amazing person and a powerhouse of writing talent among various other things. Do check out her post here.



  1. ambulisamma said,

    June 27, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    Superb poem!
    And i so agree that guilt never fades.

    • Shankari said,

      June 27, 2010 at 3:04 pm

      Thanks Ambuli! I agree, howmuch ever we try to run away from it, it definitely catches up.

  2. PV said,

    June 27, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    Heartfelt, succinct, evocative and poetic – very, very nice ! Hats off to yuo for all that you have gone through !

    Thanks for sharing

    • Shankari said,

      June 27, 2010 at 3:06 pm

      Thanks PV! I was in two minds really about putting this up, then thanks to my family’s support I put it up. The pregnancies were especially difficult, but now when I look at Narad, I remember nothing but the first moments I laid my eyes on them! It has been quite an effort sharing, so your appreciation of it means a lot. Thanks once again !

  3. Shruti said,

    June 27, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    🙂 Hugsss. No mom is ever free of this guilt. well written.

    • Shankari said,

      June 27, 2010 at 10:04 pm

      Thanks! Yes, the niggling feeling is omnipresent and omnipotent! 🙂

  4. Arundhati said,

    June 27, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    Shankari – Hats off to you! For this poem and for everything

    I think you deserve the flipkart vouchers

    And I hope ur prayers are answered

    • Shankari said,

      June 27, 2010 at 10:09 pm

      Flipkart vouchers are very welcome 🙂 Thanks for so much confidence in my writing 🙂

      I think those prayers are all of ours, if we can all put the guilt away, hopefully one day! I think we will become more friends and less mother’s to our kids 🙂

  5. Laksh said,

    June 28, 2010 at 1:24 am

    kalakita dee! Loved the poem. Words seem to flow so naturally. Could relate so well to it knowing you.

    • Shankari said,

      June 28, 2010 at 1:50 am

      Thanks da! Coming from you, it is indeed high praise 🙂 As you rightly said, my personal experience helped me pen this!

  6. Trish said,

    June 28, 2010 at 6:47 am

    Aww Shankari..hugs..this is so heartfelt!! hugs!

    • Shankari said,

      June 28, 2010 at 10:26 am

      Thanks for the hugs Trish! Some boondi raita would be good too 🙂

  7. Priya said,

    June 28, 2010 at 10:57 am

    A wonderful heartfelt post… and the poem … could feel each thing! Its never easy to share such stuff. Hugs to you 🙂

  8. Pooh! said,

    June 28, 2010 at 8:36 pm

    Very beautifully written. I wish I can write what I feel so eloquently.

    • Shankari said,

      June 29, 2010 at 2:53 am

      Thanks Pooh! Why don’t you give it a shot, you will never know unless you try 🙂

  9. Simran said,

    June 29, 2010 at 7:27 am

    Very well written!
    Takes a lot of talent to pen such beautiful words. Loved reading your “About me” section too.
    I am new to blogging and wrote this for the mommy guilt contest – http://simzcorner.blogspot.com/2010/06/guilty-or-not.html.

    • Shankari said,

      June 29, 2010 at 9:38 am

      Thanks Simran and Welcome here. I am quite new to blogging too, started blogging in March. So hop on comrade and lets go a-surfing!

  10. June 30, 2010 at 10:32 pm

    Beautiful Shankari. May you have more of guilt-free moments ahead.

    • Shankari said,

      July 1, 2010 at 8:30 am

      Thanks TPL! I was kinda waiting for your mid-week comment and it appeared!!!

  11. Momo's Ma said,

    July 2, 2010 at 11:45 am

    am speechless.. am gulity of not reading this earlier..very touching and straight from the heart. dont think we can do away with the mommy guilt ever, but life does have its beautiful moments. 🙂

    • Shankari said,

      July 2, 2010 at 1:53 pm

      Thanks! Why should you be guilty!!! I’m sure it is difficult finding a little “me” time no matter where you are in the world, if you have little ones to cater to..

      You are right! Life does have its beautiful moments, guilty ones also have their silver linings!

  12. utbtkids said,

    July 5, 2010 at 9:15 pm

    This is beautiful.

  13. Arundhati said,

    July 16, 2010 at 4:49 am

    Women’s web made a mention of this post! So my confidence in your writing was well-placed after all 😉
    Take a look at http://arundhativ.blogspot.com/2010/07/my-entry-to-womens-web-mommy-guilt.html. Thought I would let you know just in case you hadn’t checked their site

    • Shankari said,

      July 16, 2010 at 10:43 am

      Thanks Arundhati for this comment and for your confidence 🙂 May your tribe definitely increase 😉

  14. Sanghamitra said,

    July 20, 2010 at 5:36 am

    Amazing words that hit you like a wave with force and drench you with emotions. Lovely!!

    Mommy guilt starts even before we are mommies. If one child is clingy, maybe I have spoilt it, if the other child is detached or is more attached to Dad…is it something that is driving the child away from me..that is my current guilt 🙂 Many more to come in this lifetime.

    • Shankari said,

      July 20, 2010 at 8:20 am

      Thanks Sanghamitra! Even though we try to move away from the guilt, I don’t think we can escape it, always we will have the teeny weeny niggling bit hidden somewhere!

      Am sure you are doing nothing to drive the child away, he/she probably likes spending time with the dad more 🙂 NaRad also just run to their dad after he comes back from work and want nothing to do with me untill they are ready to sleep. Then they want nothing to do with their dad 🙂

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