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  • Writer's pictureJenny

Stop Mom Shaming

This post originally appeared on our old blog Born to be a Bride as, "Mom Shame: More than a Shame."

Mom-shaming. It’s a terrible part of motherhood, and while the generations before us no doubt experienced it, social media has it in our faces more persistently than ever. And it’s more than a shame. It’s a disgusting, rampant trend and I have seriously had enough. I try to make this blog a purely positive space, but sometimes it is hard to stop my mouth (typing fingers?) when it’s an issue that really hurts me. It’s bad enough when moms try to one-up each other or cast judgment over the choices that we are each forced to make on a daily basis. But when some unwelcome criticism came this week from a non-mom, I lost my shit. Well, really I just didn’t respond. But in my head, I lost my shit.

I spent years believing that due to troubling medical issues, I would never get pregnant. I spent months trying to defeat the odds, followed by surgery that led to a painful and complicated recovery. I finally received word of my biggest blessing — I was pregnant. I nurtured a human life inside of my body for 40 weeks (plus one day!), losing my waist and my clear skin and my pep in the process. I experienced the excruciating pains of labor for over 20 hours before hearing the devastating news that my little one was losing oxygen, my body wasn’t capable of pushing her out, and my “plan” was dead. A C-section was in store. Three infections of my incision followed, because “resting” after a C-section is necessary, but a total joke.

I lost sleep for weeks (nay, months. Wait, I am still losing sleep and always will) caring for a tiny person who was created out of the contents of my body and that of my partner. I have obsessed over every choice, from her food, sleep, warmth, comfort, and entertainment as an infant to everything that will follow down the line. School, freedom to roam, how we’ll save for college, what I’ll tell her about sex and when, and everything I need to protect her from while simultaneously letting her experience the world. NO PRESSURE, MOMMY!

I have, for the most part, given up my social life (though I hear that’ll come back eventually…) I have been forced to be strong. Stronger than iron when I want to melt like wax from exhaustion and fear. I have experienced a severe relapse of my lupus symptoms (after being in remission three years) postpartum. This combined with my limited “me-time” and lack of frequent yoga sessions mean chronic pain from head to not quite toe, but ankle. I have made this sacrifice for my child and continue to figure out how to make it better for us all. Because I love her.

And I am not complaining. I am lucky to experience everything listed here. There are women who are not so lucky and wish for it every day. I wake up with a grateful heart every morning, and no matter what the day brings, I go to sleep with a gentle prayer to watch over us all, and am grateful still. Because the challenges of being a mommy are far outweighed by the joy.

I have read up on different parenting “styles,” even read the things that say we aren’t supposed to read. I have tested out every organic cream on the market, whipped out my boobs in public despite crippling modesty. I am a pillow, a healer, a food source, a tissue, a beacon of joy and love, a home. I am a speech therapist, a music-maker, a stand-up comedian. I am a creator, a chair, a chauffeur. I am this child’s mother and I am damn good at it. If you think you are entitled to judge my decisions, then you’re welcome to exit my life stage left.

The particular ex-friend in question might not have children of her own and understand any of this yet. But if one day she chooses to become a mother, I hope she’s as blessed as I am to be surrounded by real friends who respect her and know that her decisions are none of their business. {End rant. Fashion, weddings, and related glitter to resume tomorrow.}

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