I can't believe I am writing this post... the title alone makes me frustrated and sad BUT it happened and I need to talk about. This isn't what you think though... I was mom shamed for breastfeeding not by strangers in coffee shops or internet trolls but by other moms, moms who have fed their babies too, moms who know how hard motherhood is... moms. Which is why I am writing this post in the first place because mom shaming needs to stop. Motherhood is hard enough without us judging and tearing each other apart, we need to unify and speak from a place of love not judgement and so that is why I am sharing this experience with you today.
It all started when I posted the above photo. I meant for it to be funny and had posted other letter board photos in the past about breastfeeding that did well so I figured this one would do well too. My youngest is currently breastfeeding and so it was true to me and I thought others might relate as well. What I could not foresee was the intense amount of hate I would get from mothers who either don't or can't or for whatever reason are not breastfeeding. What made it worse (and I should say what I am usually excited about) is that this post was reposted over 10 times so I spent most of Christmas Eve reading and then eventually just not reading comments on my image. These comments ranged from me just being insensitive to being ignorant because clearly I had a very easy breastfeeding journey (which is the opposite of my story) and was too stupid to think other people might be up with their kids throughout the night.
Initially I was responding to these comments but then I stopped and just deleted them and put a disclaimer on the post stating that I understood there was more than one way to feed a baby and that other people besides breastfeeding moms would be up all night with their babies. Needless to say I was frustrated and disappointed that my words had created such a harsh debate and place of judgement. I was simply sharing my current experience in a funny way and not trying to cast judgement or shame on anyone for how their baby is fed.
I stopped reading and responding to the comments after a while primarily because they were rude but also because I decided my post was not going to be the battle ground for mom shaming. So rather than discuss the pro's and con's of how to feed your baby I just want to say it is time to stop pointing fingers, stop judging, hating, stop telling other moms how they are doing it wrong. I shouldn't have to be afraid of posting a funny breastfeeding caption, I shouldn't know that it is never a good idea to post a picture of your child in a carseat because of the droves of angry mothers who will come after you because there is pretty much no way to buckle your child in without pissing someone off. I shouldn't have had to take down a post of my daughter in a baby carrier without a hat on because I got a million hate filled direct messages telling me I was mentally challenged (literally was told that.. not my words) for taking my daughter outside without a hat (even though her snow suit had a hood it just wasn't up). Basically what I am saying is we need to stop mom shaming.
The motherhood community online is a beautiful place and I have made so many good connections on here. I have also spent countless hours deleting and blocking negative comments and I am tired of the hate. I have spoken with other moms about this and know I am not alone. It is time to change the discussion... there is no breastfeeding vs. other feeding... there is no need to chew out a mother for the way her carseat is buckled... it isn't helping anyone and it is not creating anything positive. (Disclaimer if you see something you are generally concerned about do two things... one take a step back and ask yourself if you are the one who should be bringing this up in that mamas life... and two approach it with love, not superiority, not shame.) Motherhood can be lonely, and hard, but it doesn't need to involving shame.
I am definitely not perfect at this at all so please know I am not again trying to create an us vs. them situation (non shamers vs. shamers). I just want to say enough... iv'e had enough. SO maybe this week take a moment and spread love, leave a kind comment, send a positive direct message, help a mom you see at the grocery store or anywhere else. Let's spread love in the mom community rather than shame. Know however you feed, dress, bathe, travel with your baby you are enough.. oh mamas you are enough.
There is enough room in motherhood for all of us. However hard or easy your journey in motherhood has been no-one else story can take away from or change the validity of yours. There is enough love for us all ... motherhood is not a competition. Nobody wins when someone else is being shamed, and that is the message I want to get across.
That is really all I have, just a plea for more love and less division.. I am not going to participate or engage with negativity as far as mothering goes. I am going to do my best to spread love and stay out of the circle of competition and shame that so frequently slips into the mama community. If you read this far please leave knowing you are enough and no other mother changes that. What anyone else is doing with their child does not change your worth as a mother and no comment or direct message or anything can change that... you are enough, I am enough, we are all enough.