We have instant access to an endless amount of information and constant connection to other people. With that, comes access to support, love, friendship and positivity. But, sometimes, this instant access brings unwanted and unfounded opinions, comments and advice.
Just the other day Carrie Underwood was chastised for making a comment about her own journey in motherhood. People are quick to comment about our decisions, especially when it comes to motherhood. Sometimes it’s negative, sometimes it’s positive.
Vogue just released its September issue featuring Beyoncé, with an in-depth interview where she shared her experience of motherhood in a raw, authentic way. The media (plus casts of millions) are already applauding her honesty and relating their own personal stories to hers.
“The beauty of social media is it’s completely democratic. Everyone has a say. Everyone’s voice counts, and everyone has a chance to paint the world from their own perspective,” Beyoncé told Vogue Magazine.
We know parenting is a personal, and sometimes public, topic, and the media can be used to spread positivity, encouragement and acceptance. Or, the media can be used to do the opposite—spread shame and judgment.
One topic that people are quick to remark on is how you feed your baby. How we feed and provide for our babies is suddenly everyone’s business. While we can all agree, fed is best, (as opposed to the age old, “breast is best”), it is still difficult if you feel pressure to feed in a certain way.
To all the moms out there, feeding their babies, caring for them, keeping them alive, we wrote a letter just for you:
Hey you. You’re doing great! I know it may not always feel like it, but you are. To the mom who has spit up on her shoulder, hair in a messy bun, and is sporting those two-weeks-unwashed yoga pants, we see you. And you’re doing great.
We know Janelle may post all those Instagram pictures of her magical breastfeeding experience, and you might be writhing with jealousy or rolling your eyes, and that’s okay. That’s Janelle’s life. Mindy may make getting up at 3am to warm up the bottle look easy, but we all know it’s not. Whether it’s cracked nipples or costly formula, feeding your baby is challenge. And we salute you for feeding your baby and keeping him/her healthy.
It doesn’t matter if your baby is fed with a bottle or a breast, the bottom line is your baby is being fed.
Whether you started by feeding with formula or breast milk, you switched after two weeks, mixed it up, or whatever, you are amazing simply because you are. You are keeping your beautiful baby alive. You are caring for your baby. You are doing the best you can. And, guess what? So is everyone else.
Sometimes it feels easy to comment on others’ parenting choices, but before we let those words fall out of our mouths, remember how you feel. Or, how you’ve felt when someone commented on your parenting. (Not so great, right?) Unless it’s an encouraging smile, a hug, a laugh or a latte, don’t do it. No more mommy shaming, okay? (And we know, it’s not always done consciously.)
We can change the story. We really can be that positive change we want to see in the world. (Thanks, Ghandi.)
Let’s support one another in keeping our babies fed and happy. Your way is not the only way, nor is it always the best way. Whether you whip out a breast or a bottle, it’s okay. And, it’s about time society, and each one of us, accepts that. Because let’s be honest, motherhood is difficult enough. As the hilarious and witty comedian, Ali Wong, puts it, “I have suffered enough.”
(If you haven’t seen Ali Wong’s videos on being a mom, take 5 minutes and watch her on The Ellen Show. Guaranteed to make your day brighter.)
We are in this together. There are many communities of moms who have so much more in common than the way they feed their babies. Parenting is about so much more than that, right?
Let’s also use our voices to be positive and support one another in parenting. It’s not about breasts or bottles, it’s about our babies, and being the best version of ourselves for them while still taking care of ourselves.
“We’re all in this motherhood game together, there’s no time or room for judging or making assumptions. But yet, in all circumstances, there’s always room … always … for compassion and forgiveness,” wrote Regan Long, mommy blogger and writer for Huffington Post.