Thank you for writing this guest post K. No one deserves to be on the receiving end of mommy shaming, everyone has their own methods. Keep being amazing, T couldn’t ask for a better mum!
You know that feeling when you’re lying in bed just about to fall asleep and suddenly you’re falling and wake yourself up with a jump? Your heart is beating out of your chest and you’re looking around for the non-existent cause of your wakefulness; this is what parenting sometimes feels like to me.
I’m both a perfectionist and a dedicated parent which can occasionally be a double-edged sword. Before the wee baby T was born my husband and I bought every parenting book we could get our hands on. I thought if I studied hard enough before T was born I would have this parenting thing on lockdown. My naivety was short-lived. While I’m confident that everything I do for my son comes from a place of love and devotion, there is always a voice in the back of my mind asking is this the right thing to be doing; am I doing enough; am I doing it right? Without realizing it I started mommy shaming myself.
Last week I received a private message on Facebook from a girlfriend I hadn’t spoken to since high school,
“Hey! This is totally random, and I fully realize it’s none of my business. I’m only messaging you in case you didn’t know already. I saw your post about feeding your (adorable!) babe solids… Just so you know, most pediatricans are shockingly not trained in nutrition. The current recommendations based on studies are that 6 months in addition to readiness signs are the best choice. This link gives more info. Again, if you’ve done your research and this is your choice, I am sorry for annoying you! I just wanted to pass on some info from one mom to another 😊”
Cue that sickening feeling of falling, as I read this blog that said I had now put my son at risk of Diabetes, SIDS, Celiac disease and something especially terrifying called, “necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC)”.
I won’t link to the blog, because I don’t want other parents reading this to second guess doctors medical advice for their child.
After I hit the proverbial ground I felt really angry and couldn’t place why. It was only days later that I realized this “helpful” message is the new Mom shaming. It’s a back-handed, humble-brag, that immediately assumes both myself and my doctor are feckless. However, upon first reading this message, it sounds like this friend genuinely wants to help me; and maybe she does. It’s possible that she trusts blog posts more than she trusts her child’s pediatrician (which I hope isn’t the case).
We are lucky that the Wee Baby T’s pediatrician is both a doctor at SickKids and a professor at the University of Toronto. I trust his medical advice and expertise implicitly and don’t need to fact check his recommendations with Google.
We, as parents, need to lift each other up.
We need to spend more time giving encouragement, rather than interject faults. If someone’s parenting is different from yours or their doctor has recommended an alternative course of action to your beliefs, please take a breath and review how that “helpful” piece of information could come across as Mommy shaming.
PS: We shared the blog post in question with our pediatrician, who said it was complete B.S.
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