I think we can all use some ways to stop mom shaming. Being a new mother myself, I have heard and experienced all sorts of unwanted advice, comments, and just plain rude statements regarding my child, my appearance, or gasp, the way I choose to feed him. Unfortunately, these things happen and as much as we would like to avoid them, here are some easy ways to stop mom shaming. We have enough to worry about!
1. Telling an Expecting Mother How Big She is
Believe me, this poor momma has been thinking about nothing else besides getting this baby out of her! When you are pregnant, you are never comfortable, things swell constantly. Your favorite food one day can be your worst nightmare the next. And of course, there is the baby weight. Some mothers don’t gain much during their pregnancy. While on the other hand some, unfortunately, gain a lot. People constantly come up to women and either comment on their weight, how they are carrying, or guess what the gender is by how big you are. I actually had a woman tell me one time, “Oh I didn’t know if you were pregnant or not. I thought you might just be heavy.” I don’t know what compelled that woman to say that to me, or how I was able to refrain from chewing her out, but it just totally baffled me that someone would be so inexplicably rude to a stranger! Let’s keep the weight comments to ourselves, momma is already conscious enough of what is going on inside her. This is one of the best ways to stop mom shaming.
2. Do NOT Try to Touch the Belly without Permission
I do not know what makes people think it’s ok to touch the belly of a pregnant woman unless she asks you to. No one I know likes being touched by strangers but when someone tries to touch such an intimate part of you like your stomach, it just really catches you off guard. Offer congratulations, talk about the pregnancy but keep your hands to yourself unless mom asks you if you’d like to feel the baby move.
3. Do Not Try to One up Each Other with Birth Stories
I’ve known a few women to ask for the birth story, and when you start getting into details, they will cut you off with something from their birth. “Oh, you used a birthing ball? I just walked up and down the halls, it was so easy!” Or the ever-present shaming for a choice of using drugs. “Oh, you got pain medication? I just pushed through it, it was so natural and beautiful.” There is no shame in using or not using pain medication during your labor. Every experience is different and you need to do what you need to do to bring that little person into the world. There is no right or wrong, as long as we are doing the best we can for our children.
These are just a few ways that we can all try to be a little kinder to each other. As mom’s we are constantly under pressure. From the media, saying we have to bounce back, to our friends and family wondering when we are going to get it back together. We are incredibly hard on ourselves and we should be trying to help each other instead of trying to find ways to make someone feel bad for the job they are doing.