Sometimes we can become our own worst critics and harshest judges. When it comes to navigating motherhood, whether you’re a single parent, in an intimate relationship with your co-parent, or married and raising children, critiques and judgment can impact us in ways that force us into silence or make us feel alone in our struggles. While some moms have access to villages of folks they can share their honest thoughts and feelings with, many do not and are left to navigate the countless twists, turns, and sometimes traumas that accompany motherhood.
Additionally, it can be difficult to connect to people with shared experiences. With or without a thriving village, motherhood can feel alienating, exhausting, and terrifying or come with mental health related issues that are hard to cope with. When we remain silent about these realities that some moms face it can lead to shaming or being shamed, feeling like you’re the only one struggling, or perpetuating harmful ideas about what motherhood is supposed to be or look like. Awareness and conversations about issues related to motherhood across the spectrum of feelings and experiences are important.
Thankfully, there’s an exciting new trend that celebrities are using their large platforms to popularize: open, honest, and transparent testimonies about the range of experiences of mothers. Not only are they changing conversations about motherhood, they’re inspiring thousands of other moms to do the same in their own communities and to their families.
Recently, Carter’s celebrated the release of their new Little Baby Basics line with celebrity guests Daphne Oz and Catherine Lowe during an intimate brunch event in Manhattan. While the adorable, high-quality wardrobe pieces for babies and toddlers gave the guests countless examples of gifts to buy for their little ones, or other new parents in their lives, the thoughtful and engaging Q+A with Oz and Lowe offered us attendees an important reminder: We’re all on different journeys as we learn what motherhood means to us.
Oz encouraged moms to “try not to have expectations for what motherhood will look like” when discussing the challenges and struggles that come with becoming a parent. In the age of social media and ever-evolving technologies, it’s especially important to consider how different our journeys are as parents. Personal circumstances and identities, from race to class to disability and beyond, impact how we live and how we parent. Scrolling through Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter can sometimes lead us to compare ourselves and our lives to others, or set unrealistic expectations for ourselves based on other people’s circumstances.
We can’t predict what our unique experiences with motherhood will be like no matter how hard we try. As recommended by Oz during the Q&A, we should try to become gentler with ourselves as mothers in the process of understanding and experiencing our journeys.
“Each time we have a kid,” Oz began, “I become a different version of myself,” and she went on to discuss the often difficult time mothers can have navigating raising multiples. Lowe responded by explaining the fears she had regarding her capacity to love another child as much as her first. Ultimately, both moms offered words of encouragement to others struggling with similar issues and remarked that there isn’t a limit on the amount of love you can give to your children — even if the ways you show your love for them differ according to their specific needs.
Lowe also urged moms to “be present” and remember that these early stages of your child’s life don’t last long. And while joking about diaper blowouts and the importance of having at least three backup Carter’s bodysuits on you at all times, they brought up the importance of communicating with your partner so that the stressful times are less difficult to navigate. Both Oz and Lowe shared stories about what it’s like to raise children with a partner who is present, helpful, and understanding but also emphasized the importance of asking for help when you need it.
We can’t predict what our unique experiences with motherhood will be like no matter how hard we try.
Lowe explained that our partners cannot read our minds and encouraged attendees to be open with their partners and to cultivate healthy communication with them. When children add a new dimension to already evolving relationships, it’s important to maintain healthy communication and be increasingly open with our thoughts, concerns, and desires for the sake of the relationship of the parents and the livelihood of the children.
While Oz and Lowe offered insight into their unique family dynamics and parenting styles, there are other recent examples of celebrity moms who are helping to change the narrative about motherhood. Not too long ago, Ayesha Curry’s comments about work-life balance and intimate relations nearly broke the internet. Some considered her comments to be controversial, but many others came to her defense. Another celebrity, Gabrielle Union, who has regularly shared details about her experiences with surrogacy, infertility, and sexual assault, told Buzzfeed that she would rather “err on the side of truth and transparency and authenticity and let the chips fall where they may then hold onto my journey when I could be helping other people.”
Both Curry and Union, like Oz and Lowe, are leading by example when it comes to be honest and transparent about issues that impact our lives as mothers.
In like fashion, a couple months ago, Chrissy Teigen teamed up with Allegheny Health Network to launch the #MyWishForMoms campaign to raise awareness about postpartum mood disorders. In a press release for the campaign Teigen states that she wishes she had known that “postpartum depression can happen to anyone because [she] didn’t think it could happen to [her].” She went on to explain her confusion with her feelings given her supportive partner.
When it comes to navigating life as a mom, while also navigating social systems and structures that can negatively impact our lives, some celebrities take other routes for raising awareness! Recently, Serena Williams donated millions to a Black-owned startup that seeks to address issues related to maternal health called Mahmee, offering other celebrities an example of ways to positively impact moms. Williams’ own experiences with childbirth complications started an important, and long overdue, conversation about Black maternal health so this new venture is both personal and political.
"Lets support each other instead of doing those shame-y things."
Another celebrity mom starting conversations about motherhood, with respect to issues related to childhood mental health, is Beyoncé who released the song "Brown Skin Girl" featuring vocals from her daughter, Blue Ivy Carter. In it, she honors Brown-skinned women and encourages young girls to embrace and love the skin they’re in. The song has inspired millions to talk about their own relationships to their skin and make sure they uplift and empower their children to love who they are.
As Oz and Lowe discussed during their Q+A, the motherhood journey looks different for all moms and while we may have certain things in common, it’s important to honor and embrace your unique journey. “You got it, I got it,” urges Lowe, “let’s support each other instead of doing those shame-y things.”
While celebrities use their large platforms to raise awareness for issues impacting moms, they also highlight the importance of sharing our stories. Not only can they lead to deep and impactful conversations, they also help moms feel less alone. In some cases, they can even point us to resources we didn’t know existed.