I have been waiting to write this one, more so because I want to get these built-up emotions out there. It makes me livid – largely because it comes close to body shaming.
Welcome to the world of mom shaming!
Becoming a mother is one of the most amazing things to have happened to me. Of course, it’s tough and with it come responsibilities that always make me anxious. I am responsible for another person. Whaoooo!! My entire world just turned around, but wait a minute, no one else cares. They will still say what they think no matter how hurtful or insensitive it is. There are way too many people who judge and offer unsolicited advice. If it’s not about how you are doing everything wrong then it’s about how fat you have become. That seems to be everyone’s favorite. How much weight have you put on? Come on people! Give the mommies a break.
I believe how a mother decides to bring up her child is her prerogative, along with the husband’s of course, and It has nothing to do with the Aunty you meet for the first time ever who remarks, “ I toh never did this. Nowadays mothers!” as she rolls her eyes.
Dear Aunty, whose existence I was unaware about until 10 minutes ago, I am sure your kids are amazing but give me a chance to do my bit as well.
I didn’t even think that mom shaming existed till I did it to someone.
I remember a friend told me how she was using cloth nappies in the day for her 1-year-old-plus child and diapers only at night. It took me all of 1 sec to tell her, “Why would you do that? Are you crazy?”
I JUDGED HER! And I felt terrible. I love this amazing woman and a mother of two but I had no right to say what I did. I called her later and apologized but she pointed out that it stemmed from concern for her, since a baby in nappies is quiet a task. It probably was, but even so it was not my place to say anything. That’s when I thought about all the things people have told me or my friends. That’s where this blog stems from.
I am going to begin with the most important thing – body!
Mommies, listen up – You look amazing. You look different but amazing! So please give yourself a break. You just removed a human from you. YES A WHOLE HUMAN! It’s ok if you have put on a few pounds or more than a few. Give yourself a break from thinking about this and if anyone body shames you just stuff a huge piece of cake in their mouth – that should teach them to shush it and you can eat some too.
First step is to accept your body and embrace it. Take your time to be happy with what you see in the mirror because if you don’t you will let people get to you. It will hurt you and depress you every time someone comments on your new, acquired shape. I did just that. My body was different earlier. I was thin and now I have put on a few pounds and my body has changed. But, that’s ok, I know I will be fit soon. But let that be your call. Do that when you want and not because someone said, “Oh god! You have become really fat. When do you plan to shed this weight,” and then goes on to tell you about a friends friend who lost all her pregnancy weight in three months. Good for her!
It is your body, not anyone else’s. As long as you are healthy, be happy and love yourself. It’s time to take care of yourself and the little one, you have all the time in the world to build the body image you consider acceptable. The operative word here is, YOU! Not anyone else.
We know that becoming a mother is a huge thing. It’s like becoming the president, the world depends on you. There is no right or wrong. As long as your child is happy, you are doing a great job.
So, whether a mom decides to quit a job for a year/2 years/3 years or never go back, to take care of the baby or she goes back after a month of delivery, why does it affect the rest of the world?
I quit my job and a lot of people asked me then and even now, when will you go back to work? They would make statements like – Don’t do this to yourself. You will lose yourself. You are wasting your talent and time and so on… My answer is – I don’t know yet so please stop asking me. I will get back to ‘work’ when I want to. When I am ready to. When Rey is ready to let me go.
I know women who have gone back to work even a month after delivering and that’s absolutely fine too. They did that because it works for them. So people should stop making this a coffee table conversation to talk about how terrible a mother she is because she has gone back to work in a month. Have you stopped to think, why she needed to do that? She already carries enough guilt for leaving the child behind and is always worried when away, so I am sure she can do without people criticizing her. You don’t know her story, so don’t make her life yours.
Rey, as most of you know, had a severe case of gas. He would barely sleep in the day or at night. He would refuse to drink milk and if he did we had to deal with reflux too. It was crazy. So every time I would try and feed him, he would cry and people would say, “He cries with his mother,” and snigger to make me feel I was not good enough or I don’t know better, not knowing that he is crying because he has gas. I knew that. So I knew not to let that affect me. People went on to say a million things, and I would lose my temper but then I learned to deal with it. Imagine, if I had to leave him behind and go to work? They didn’t stop a minute to ask me why I did what I did but formed an impression anyway.
I haven’t gotten out much after Rey was born. Even if I wanted to I couldn’t because I had to take care of Rey. I had to make sure he gets whatever sleep possible and he did sleep better nursing (gassy babies feel better when nursing), if he would wake up after a cat nap to pass wind, I was right there to put him back to sleep. For me, it was more important to tend to him, than missing a few parties, dinners, brunches, etc. I didn’t care if people judged me, I know what I am doing. Ensuring my baby is taken care of and happy and anyone who has met Rey, will tell you he is one happy baby 🙂 *touchwood*
We gave Rey the bottle once he turned a month and he took to it beautifully until he turned three months old. Then, all of a sudden, he refused. He latched on at times or even refused that. I remember howling because I did not know what was going on. When one day he refused to drink milk for straight seven hours, I knew something was wrong and rightly so. Gas struck!
So we had to stop the bottle, since it makes kids gassier. Till date, he is exclusively breastfed (apart from his four solid meals) and I am happy doing it. Although, now I am starting to wean him off. But, guess what, I was judged. Judged for NOT giving him the bottle and I know mothers who are judged for giving their kids the bottle. WHY? As mothers, we know we have to provide for the child and we do it in a way that works best for us. As far as the little munchkins get their nutrition why do we need to judge anyone’s decisions? To each her own!
I know parents who leave their kids behind even when they are two months and travel for work or take a vacation. I don’t think I can ever do that, but people who can I don’t think anyone should have anything to say about it. Rest assured, the mother knows what she is doing. And no matter what all mothers are equally attached to their children, so stop judging people.
Oh! I feel so much better to get this off my chest but I have just one more thing to say –all of us take care of our children to the best of our abilities, providing everything we can and doing whatever is the best. Everyone has reasons for doing what they do, they have their own story and if you don’t have a part in it, step aside and write your own. Don’t indulge in unnecessary criticism because you never know when God writes that role for you J
All you mommies, hats off for all that you do and will do! There is no one like you, on this note- Thank you to my mommy for doing your best, I love you!
This article was first published on reyoflife
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