I’m not even going to try and soften the blow on this one.
If you’re a mum, someone, somewhere, is going to judge you.
Doesn’t matter what you do. Won’t matter how you care for or look after your baby. There will be someone who thinks you are doing it wrong and more bizarrely, thinks they have the right to comment.
Just over a year ago I fell pregnant with baby number 3. And when I started to tell people, the inevitable judgement started.
“What do you want 3 kids for?”
“Surely you don’t want a c-section?”
“Obviously you’ll be breastfeeding won’t you?”
“I didn’t drink anything at all in my pregnancy.”
Luckily after 3 pregnancies I’m pretty thick skinned and couldn’t really give a crap what anyone else thinks. Even so, sometimes comments would get to me.
I’m not a hypno-birthing, all things natural, anti-medication, breastfeeding for 5 years type of mum.
No. I’m a planned (and demanded) c-section, epidural advocate, bottle feeding, lover of calpol, vaccinating, going to destroy my children by letting them use an iPad kind of mum.
And so I seem to invite a lot of comments from complete strangers.
Here’s what I’ve learnt from that.
We seem to have developed a culture where we will passionately support mums – IF and only if they believe the same things we do. Otherwise we think it’s OK to make them feel they are terrible parents who are going to permanently damage their children because they gave them Calpol that one time (and you can read my thoughts on why I hate people who shame other parents).
We set up supportive ‘judgement free’ groups or forums but when mums post for help they get comments criticising them for whatever it is they are doing. We tell mums that they will have the birth they want if they just use the power of positive thinking but risk making them feel like failures when their bodies have other ideas. Everyone knows breast is best but if, for whatever reason, a mother decides to bottle feed they are made to feel like they are somehow harming their baby.
And just generally we seem to have created a culture where we don’t hesitate to make women feel doubtful, anxious or ashamed about anything they do if it doesn’t align with our own values.
As parents we have to make choices every single day about what is best for our children. When we make people feel like shit for those choices then something has to change.
Anyway, I’m not going to say much more on this topic except this;
If you don’t have anything nice, positive or supportive to say to a mum who is doing the best she can and is entitled to raise her baby however she sees fit then please SHUT THE FUCK UP.
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