I’m a new mother, my son just turned one and there have been countless things I was unprepared for after giving birth. Postpartum depression. Utter exhaustion. Hating my husband. Questioning my decision to become a mother. Losing my own mother to cancer. Dissatisfaction with being a stay-at-home mom. But the one thing that has really shocked me is the prevalence of mom bashing.
Now that I'm a mom, I pay far more attention to mommy stuff and lately I’ve noticed some pretty mean things in my daily news cycle. When that little boy jumped into the gorilla habitat, I couldn't believe the outrage that was being expressed towards the mother. Her child could have been killed and watching that happen must have been terrifying, but there was very little empathy expressed towards her. Chrissy Teigen dared to go out of her house after her baby was born for a date with her husband and the criticism was unbelievable.
I never imagined when I joined a couple of mommy groups on Facebook that I would see the kind of vitriol I have seen spewed at new mothers asking questions and looking for help. It’s horrendous.
One mom told another it was OK to let her baby cry to sleep and the responses were so nasty. They told her she was a selfish bitch who didn’t deserve her baby. That she was abusing her baby by letting him cry it out and my heart broke for that stranger.
I went through a lot in the year leading up to my son’s birth: I miscarried, we moved and my mom was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Then when my son was born, I struggled with nursing and postpartum depression. Having a child is incredibly hard on so many levels. In the past I may have judged mothers, but I now know I would never knowingly add one iota of stress to another mother’s life regardless of how I feel about their personal choices. I only wish the same courtesy was extended to me.
I know I share way too much about my personal life on the interwebs and thereby open myself up to criticism. But I do it with the hope that others who are Googling long into the night seeking information about miscarriages, pregnancy, childbirth and the challenges of becoming a new mother, can perhaps find some comfort in knowing they are not alone. I write from a place of love but it seems like love for moms is in short supply.
I write from a place of love but it seems like love for moms is in short supply.
If we stay home, we have abandoned our careers, if we work, we are abandoning our children. If we dare complain about motherhood, we’re terrible unworthy mothers. If we don’t get our bodies back postpartum, we are fat and lazy. If we hire a babysitter after our mother dies of cancer and we are consumed with grief and having a hard time caring for an infant, someone will say that we are selfish. OK, that last one was extra personal, it was me.
I wrote about hiring a babysitter every day last month and I admit, I do feel a bit guilty, but damn, my mom died, I needed some help around the house and I don’t think anyone needs to “feel sorry for my husband and baby” just because I know my limits and needed time to take care of myself.
Being a new mother is fraught with challenges but finding kindness in other mothers shouldn't be one of them. Our society is not set up to support mothers, so let’s make an effort to change the status quo. Support moms! Let’s build each other up instead of tearing each other down. When you see that mom giving her baby a lollipop don’t call her a stupid b^#&. Relax, it’s her baby and kids have survived a lot worse than a little sugar.
We need far more kindness and empathy in this world if we want our children to grow up to be loving and caring adults. Let’s make it happen! I challenge you to support another mother today. Maybe it’s just a nice comment on a Facebook group, maybe you see a mom at the grocery store struggling to carry something or waiting in line at Starbucks. Smile, let her know you see her, offer to help her. Buy her a cup of coffee. Let’s support each other today and maybe tomorrow will be a little brighter for our children.