When I first found out I was pregnant, I looked forward to the days ahead when I would make new mom friends. I imagined us reveling in the elasticity of our yoga pants and laughing at the shit our kids would say or do, convinced I was joining a special club of solidarity; a sisterhood; a tribe. Unfortunately, it didn't take long to realize that my new "tribe" wasn't all it was cracked up to be. I started noticing all of the ridiculous things moms shame other moms for, and realized that while I would find some wonderful mothers to share my parenting journey with, I would also be spending a significant amount of my time either defending my choices in the face of judgement, or choosing to ignore mothers who shamed me for my parenting decisions.
Who even knew that mom-on-mom bullying was a thing? Certainly, before I became a mom myself, not me. Alas, mom shaming is an unfortunate, yet somewhat significant page in the book of motherhood that almost every mother has experienced, in one form or another. I am lucky enough to have found a supportive group of mom friends, but I wasn't always so fortunate, especially in the beginning. There were times during my first weeks and months as a mother, when I was ridiculed or judged or questioned or even shamed for some of my parenting decisions. I'm all for becoming a better parent and gaining new knowledge, but some of the rude and blatantly judgmental comments I received were never intended to better me as a mother; they were intended to sting, to point scornful fingers, and to make me feel like I was wrong or ignorant or misinformed. Honestly, those comments had a way of making me feel like I was an unfit mother, even though (rationally) I knew I wasn't. Shame can be a powerful thing, people.
Unfortunately, I wasn't the first mom to be shamed by other moms, and I most certainly won't be the last mom, either. I can, however, prepare new moms for the road ahead, because believe it or not, when you know what you're potentially walking into, the shame and judgement is somehow easier to handle. Sometimes.