This celebrity mum thinks we should stop worrying about what other parents are doing, and just be kinder to each other.
“Oh not again,” – that’s what I thought when I read Katherine Chatfield’s article (here) on the Herald Sun website earlier today. Another mummy shaming/bashing/bullying article.
“Poor Teresa Palmer” – that was my next thought. What had she done to deserve the scorn of Katherine? Umm, well she gave birth naturally and breastfeeds her child, seemingly with ease. Yes, I’m for real. So what’s wrong with that? Well apparently she’s showing off and she needs to stop being so boastful. Ridiculous huh? Yep.
What gives me the shits so much about this article is that the author is perpetuating the very problem that so many women inflict on each other- this nasty, judgemental thing we call parenting-shaming and the phenomena which is ‘mummy bullying’.
In a society where we are trying hard to promote women and mothers being supportive of each other and respecting each others’ varied and unique parenting styles (as long as the child is safe, healthy, happy and loved right?), an article like this comes along which just turns the movement on its head.
A woman who gives birth naturally and breastfeeds her child should be celebrated not shamed.
A woman who keeps fit while pregnant and bounces back to her pre baby body quickly should be celebrated, not shamed (because she had a crack at you too Miranda and Giselle- duh, of course you’re supermodels so are naturally going to be hotter pre and post baby than the average woman, actually just hotter than all of us in general).
A mother whose baby sleeps through the night should be congratulated too (how lucky!) not shamed, and a mother who returns to work because she has a great career and is most probably the family’s bread winner should be celebrated too, not shamed.
As long, of course, as the baby is safe, healthy, happy and loved.
Likewise, a woman who has a caesarean or an epidural should be celebrated (you grew a HUMAN!), not shamed.
A woman whose baby won’t sleep through the night needs to be supported, not shamed.
A woman who has difficulty breastfeeding, a poor milk supply and has cracked, bleeding nipples must be celebrated (for giving it a go) and supported (because bleeding nipples are excruciating- I speak from experience).
If this mother decides formula is the best option for her and her baby, then she needs to be celebrated for looking after her/her baby, not shamed.
It seems, unfortunately, that you just can’t win in the world of parenting. You’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t.
The bigger issue at play here is why mums and women in general I guess, are so affected by another woman’s appearance, lifestyle, pregnancy and parenting choices?
Why do girls get so wound up and sensitive as to what another woman is doing with her life?
Memo to everyone, stop worrying about what Teresa, Miranda, Jodi and Giselle are doing and think about why another woman’s life (usually a stranger's) affects yours so much? That’s the bigger issue here. Focus on yourself and stop worrying about what everyone else is doing.
Upon discussing this with one of my best girlfriends who is pregnant herself (and equally outraged over this article) she agreed, “Make your own decision for what is right for you… and who gives a ‘F’ about what anyone else does!! If it’s not your baby or your body, it really has no impact on you… so who cares. And isn’t it awful, that by all accounts becoming a parent is the hardest thing you’ll ever do, but instead of supporting each other, women openly and silently judge each other.”
I know the author of the article agrees with me on this but at the same time she is doing exactly the opposite of what she is telling us all to do- not to judge.
I had an epidural when I gave birth to both of my children (thank the Lord almighty!) but Teresa and Miranda gave birth drug-free and were happy to let people know of their fantastic achievement.
Did I think either one of them were showing off- no. Was I resentful of them? No. My feelings are this- I think they are both amazing and they should feel super proud because giving birth drug-free is an incredible effort and something that I never wish to experience - haha!!
Teresa it seems, is still breastfeeding her baby and I am not.
I went back to work after 3 months and as soon as I had a couple of days away from Billie my previously abundant milk supply dried up (just like that). Would I prefer to be breastfeeding Billie now? Of course.
Do I carry mother’s guilt because of it? Of course (mother’s guilt will get you at every turn of the parenting journey).
Do I think breastfeeding mums who talk about how much they enjoy breastfeeding and how easy it is for them are boasting? No. I think, “lucky you.”
So what am I getting at? There are a million ways to skin a cat (ie. parent) so let's just all take a chill pill, relax and support other mothers instead of bullying them. And I wish our big media companies would stop publishing rubbish articles like the one in question. Parenting is the hardest thing you’ll ever do and if you are one of those mums who is so negatively affected by what other mums (namely celebrities) are doing, then the answer is simple- “UNFOLLOW.”
Peace and love to all you mummas out there. You’re all doing a WONDERFUL job.
This post originally appeared on Rebecca Judd Loves. It has been republished here with full permission.
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