Many people say that babies don’t come with instructions and whilst that is true in terms of a midwife not handing over an instruction booklet to take home with you, you do get an awful lot of leaflets, emails and talks about what you should and shouldn’t do.
For me, I have found that there are a community of people who judge mothers so harshly without any firm reason. Whenever we see a tragic accident on the news or social media and a child is hurt or missing, the blame instantly falls to the mother and the mother is negligent or a bad mom, when in harsh reality sometimes bad things happen and they cannot be prevented no matter how much of a ‘perfect parent’ you are.
Every baby is different. Every toddler is different. Every child is different. Every teenager is different. Every adult is different.
You cannot judge how one person chooses to do something because you are not in their position, you are not handling that specific child, you don’t know that child on a personal level so you cannot judge what their mom is doing for them!
There has been numerous times I haven’t posted something on social media purely for fear of being mom shamed or judged. I took a chance one day and posted a picture of my daughter, to my personal Facebook, who had covered her face with the blanket while she was a sleep. Now, I didn’t leave the room, I didn’t put it there, I sat on my bed with the TV on practically mute listening for her breathing, she had done this so many times before and to begin with I would move the blanket off her face or I would try and put her down with a different blanket & both of them would result in a screaming baby! So I let her do it, I listen out for her and then once she is in a deep enough sleep I move it just off her face.
I understand that no one on my personal Facebook knew any of that information or the little routine we have to go through as mother and daughter, all they saw was a picture of Mia completely covered by a blanket. However, I was made to feel so guilty by some comments that I got extremely worked up and was texting my partner (Mia’s dad, who was at work) asking if I am a bad mom, if I should be doing something differently, if I didn’t try hard enough to switch blankets or whatever else was running through my head at the time.
My daughter wasn’t hurt. My daughter wasn’t distressed. My daughter wasn’t upset… my daughter was sleeping peacefully the way she does every night. So the fact that the opinions of others had me questioning my ability as a mom disgusted me.
I have seen so many moms who breastfeed in public be shamed in every way possible, even though it is the most natural thing on earth! A baby is getting their food, we don’t make you sit in a toilet cubicle because your face makes us uncomfortable so think twice about asking a breastfeeding mother to! If breastfeeding wasn’t natural then why would a mother produce milk? There are so many questions and so much anger that arises when I see someone being shamed for breastfeeding, wether that is in public or in their own home in front of company. If a baby wants to eat, let it eat!
On that note – if a mother cannot/doesn’t breastfeed then you have ZERO right to question her decision. You don’t know her or her baby, you don’t know the reasons and no one should ever feel like they have to explain themselves and their decisions when it impacts no one but themselves and their baby.
For those people saying ‘people who don’t breastfeed are just lazy’ I will tell you this. I wanted to breastfeed, I even gave it a damn good go! but I couldn’t. I wasn’t producing enough milk for Mia and she was born with a heart shaped tongue which made it extremely difficult for her to latch on. The hospital tried for hours to help me breastfeed but Mia wasn’t having any of it, even the hospital had to give her formula on her first night because she wasn’t getting enough food. After 4 days I realised that my baby was falling sick, she was lethargic because she wasn’t eating enough, I sat crying because I felt like I had failed as a mother, my partner politely reminded me that not everyone can and not everyone does, it doesn’t make me any less of a mother than anyone else!
I see moms busting their asses every day, working to provide for their kids and being shamed for not spending enough time with them but then if you give up work and become a ‘stay at home mom’ you are shamed for being lazy! – you cannot do right for doing wrong in today’s world and it’s sickening. It’s ridiculous.
We should be encouraging moms, building them up, supporting them and as moms ourselves we should be supporting each other. It’s one thing when I see someone who doesn’t have kids mom shaming but it hits a nerve with me when I see another mom doing it.
I reached out to all of the moms I know and have on social media for their stories, I did want to include some but honestly there were so many that hit a nerve and reiterated my point that mom shaming comes from those who just need to keep their opinions to themselves. I decided against sharing their stories to keep their personal lives out of my blog but just know there were more than 25 cases and all these moms have babies under 1. Think about that.
There is no such thing as a perfect mom.
There is no instruction manual.
There is no need for judgment.
Motherhood is nothing like I expected and I don’t think I could have ever truely prepared myself for this but it is by far the most rewarding thing I have ever done and ever will do in my life.
I love my daughter unconditionally and just because I do things a little differently to some other moms doesn’t make me rubbish. It just makes me a mom.
I hope you have a good day or night where ever you are.