Is there really a difference between regret and guilt?
Do these emotions even serve a purpose to us as humans? Or are they only present to bring us down?
I ponder these questions a lot, especially when it comes to decisions we face and make as parents.
I feel regret over a lot of decisions I've made in connection with my pregnancy, labor and breastfeeding relationship. There were many things I could've handled differently that would have had a major difference in outcome. One big one is how I handled my daughter's waning interest in breastfeeding. I feel regret over not handling it properly which ultimately caused her weaning before we were truly ready for it. Yes, it's normal even good to feel regret. But do I let feelings of guilt eat me up? No, absolutely not.
That's where I draw the line. Although I think that feelings of regret are very fitting, feelings of guilt really aren't. Guilt is something consuming, that can potentially eat a person up inside if left unchecked. Guilt can beat a mother to the ground, especially if she is already unsure of herself and her mothering abilities.
I asked on my Facebook & Twitter what people thought of a mother feeling regret or guilt because of not breastfeeding ;
Merriam-Webster defines guilt as ;
Main Entry: guiltPronunciation: \ˈgilt\Function: nounEtymology: Middle English, delinquency, guilt, from Old English gylt delinquencyDate: before 12th century1 : the fact of having committed a breach of conduct especially violating law and involving a penalty; broadly : guilty conduct
2 a : the state of one who has committed an offense especially consciously b : feelings of culpability especially for imagined offenses or from a sense of inadequacy : self-reproach
3 : a feeling of culpability for offenses
Google Defines Regret as ;