The Mommy Shame
The motherhood is hard. It might be a lot harder you have ever imagined. Do you ever feel that the very people that you look up to for support are the ones criticising and shaming you the most? Have encountered the mommy shame in yet?
I remember working 12-hour night shifts when I was pregnant with my second daughter. If you ever worked a night shift or had to stay up all night, you know that staying awake during the day is very hard. So, I was drinking coffee at one of the events. This usually very nice lady came up to me and made a comment that I probably should not be drinking coffee while pregnant. Yah, thanks, lady! I will just fall asleep here. Besides, it was my first cup that day and it absolutely safe to have 1-2 cups of coffee per day even when you are expecting. Not breastfeeding was another issue on which I was questioned by a few. Ok people, you don’t think everybody in the world knows that breast is the best? Well, guess what? Fed is better! There are some of us who unfortunately do not produce enough milk to feed that cute, squirmy, (and screaming when hungry) creature.
Have you ever felt judgemental glances from your family or friends when it comes to parenting? You are not alone! It is reported that 6 in 10 mothers of young children say they were criticised for everything from discipline to breastfeeding.
What is the most surprising? The most frequent offenders are the mom’s own parents, followed by the child’s other parent and in-laws. Many moms report that they experience far less criticism from strangers and medical providers.
What are other moms saying?
37% have felt second-guessed by their mother or father
42% say criticism has made them feel unsure about their parenting choices but has also pushed to become more proactive and consult a healthcare provider for advice.
56% believe moms get too much blame and not enough credit for their children’s behavior
Mom’s get criticized most often about:
Diet and Nutrition 52%
Feeding method (breast vs. bottle feeding) 39%
So what can you do about it?
- Thank them for their concern and advise (after all, they do have the best intention in their mind)
- Ask for help when you feel it’s appropriate (that way they will feel appreciated and useful)
- Set your limits from the very beginning
- Have your answers ready
- You can explain why you chose to do things the way you do (of course, if you choose to do so)
- Let them know, you have done your research and this is what works for you and your baby
- When in doubt, ask your doctor/baby’s pediatrician or a nurse what does research say and what are the current recommendations
- Find and surround yourself with people who are supportive and who will listen when you have to ven
- Don’t forget to take care of yourself. Postpartum depression is a very common problem as is, and when you add more stressful situations to your life, you might become even more vulnerable and prone to become depressed.
- Take time to eat, get outside and walk, and of course get some rest!
Until next time.
P.S. Let me know how you deal with critics and what you have been criticised for? what was the most frustrating about it? Do you agree that the closest ones are the ones giving you the most mommy shame moments?