Something has been bothering me ever since my pregnancy, nagging at the back of my mind. There are almost constantly times as a mom that I feel this discomfort poking and prodding at me, and finally ladies, I feel that I have reached a point that I can no longer keep quiet. Mamas, we have got to stop judging and start supporting one another.
It begins during pregnancy when expectant mothers go in search of any information they can get their hands on about childbirth. I read books, birth stories, and blogs. I watched documentaries, visited message boards, and talked with mothers I know, all with one goal in mind: to get the full perspective on what my ideal birth experience would be. In all my searching, do you know what I found? A lot of very opinionated people. Some advocated for a zero-intervention home birth, while others could not say enough positive things about their epidural. It is definitely not the differing opinions I take issue with, as I have plenty of opinions myself. My issue is the mentality that someone is only a "good" mom if they do things a certain way.
Sadly, childbirth is just the beginning. I see moms of infants harshly bashing one another over simple things like whether they have chosen to use cloth diapers or if they are co-sleeping. Circumcision is another hot topic where your personal choice as a mom can lead to some serious disapproval. Perhaps the most prominent example I have encountered thus far can be found in the formula versus breast milk arena. I have seen the criticism come from both sides. I have seen breast-feeding moms cross the line from advocacy to superiority in their attitude towards moms who chose formula. At times, I have also felt the general unease when I have chosen to breastfeed my baby in a public setting, even coming from fellow moms.
I have noticed this bizarre phenomenon, and my baby is only 4 months old! I cannot imagine the judgement and criticism I have the potential to witness among mothers for their parenting choices by the time my child is a teenager. For me, the issue is not one of my having a thin skin. This is not a problem of hurt feelings. It is a bigger issue- one of moms not having each other's backs. Ladies, we should be supporting one another in this journey! I believe motherhood to be the most important role I will ever have on this earth, but you know what? It is hard work. Some days I feel terrified by the sheer amount of heart-wrenching love I feel for such a tiny person, a tiny person who I have the responsibility of helping to become a healthy, responsible, kind, and compassionate adult. That is a huge job with such monumental significance. So, ladies, WHY oh why are we wasting our time criticizing one another for our diaper choices? As I mentioned before, opinions are great, and we all have them. You absolutely have to make choices about what is best for you as a mom. You know what else though? That mom over there who has made different choices about pain management during childbirth and about whether or not to circumcise her baby doesn't need your judgement. She needs your love and support. What feels right for one mom may not feel right for the next, and that's okay. I truly believe that as long as a mom is actively loving her baby and is motivated by her child's best interests, she is wonderful, strong, and truly something to be celebrated.
I sure hope that as women we can agree to work harder at building one another up, especially while we are growing our tiny humans. I, for one, think you are each amazing.