Breastfeeding is difficult, especially for first-time-moms. Aside from potential technical difficulties with latching and milk supply, there is a whole world out there waiting to judge you for every aspect of your breastfeeding journey and shame you if you do something wrong in their eyes. One famous mom recently endured a lot of shaming and she has something to say about it. The Bachelor's Jade Roper Tolbert has opened up about the backlash she faced recently for sharing some breastfeeding photos on social media. But despite all of the nastiness, Tolbert is dedicated to doing what is best for her and her daughter, which is all that really matters.
The world first met Tolbert when she appeared on The Bachelor and then again when she joined Bachelor in Paradise, but she has been sharing her life with her fans ever since her reality TV days. Her most recent love affair involves her 5-month-old daughter Emerson Avery and Tolbert is absolutely smitten. Unfortunately, where there is public exposure there is often judgment and hate. The new mom, who's married to fellow Bachelor in Paradise alum Tanner Tolbert, recently took to her Instagram Stories to address some comments made about photos showing her breastfeeding baby Emerson.
"I had some comments about the picture I posted of me and Emerson after I was breastfeeding and people telling me they don’t look like that when they breastfeed and that I was setting up a standard that was impossible to live up to," she began on Monday, as reported by People.
Tolbert explained that the "impossible standard" that people can't seem to handle is leftover makeup from a photo shoot the day before and a slight bit of staging to "make the picture work." How dare she? Tolbert went on to explain herself to her followers, even though she totally doesn't have to:
...but that was literally right after I had fed her and she had fallen asleep on me and we do have those moments where we snuggle so I don’t get what’s so unreal about it. If you guys feel like I’m portraying some kind of falsehood of motherhood, this is my real life ... I’ve already used my shirt as a spit-up rag. I have clothes everywhere that have not been washed.
Aside from criticizing her for posting "unrealistic" standards for breastfeeding moms, commenters also nitpicked particular parts of her appearance. One wrote, "Geez, wish I looked that good nursing! Messy hair, dried on mascara, and un-brushed teeth basically covered my nursing pics!"
Apparently looking too good wasn't Tolbert's only injustice to motherhood. She also had the audacity to use a cover while breastfeeding Emerson and people came after her for not feeding uncovered. Tolbert began by explaining on Instagram that this was a first for her, and a very personal moment to boot:
Yesterday, I posted a picture of me breastfeeding at the table in a restaurant because it was the first time I had actually done it … I have always gone into the bathroom to breastfeed because I felt like I couldn’t do it in public.
Instead of enjoying the moment with her, people apparently went after her for using a cover and Tolbert just didn't get it (and, TBH, neither do I). She explained on Instagram:
And people were telling me that I shouldn’t cover up and I was actually getting flack for putting a cover over my baby, which I just don’t understand. Why that would be something people would give me sh*t about?
She went on, "And my baby is feeding right now and I’m still going to cover up because that’s what I feel the most comfortable with. I feel like I don’t need to share all of that with the world, that’s not the message. It’s just that women should be able to do what they feel like they need to do for their babies."
Tolbert's message in her story has resonated with many of her followers and she received a flood of positive comments since she posted her Instagram Story on Monday. In response to the outpouring support fans have shared with her, she posted a heartfelt message to them, writing in part:
It truly, truly means so much to me and I tried to read every kind and empowering message from each of you. I was very emotional earlier. and I think it's because my nursing relationship with Emmy is one of my most favorite mommy experiences (even though it's had its ups and downs, because it's an ever changing experience).
She added, "Thank you for letting me be myself and express how much I love being a mom and thank you for letting me express myself when I feel like I'm failing as a mom (or failing others) or I feel unsure of myself."
If the Greek chorus of breastfeeding-shamers is looking for a new target, send them my way. I have a little girl on the way with a bunch of breastfeeding covers that I fully intend to use. Oh, and I probably won't be posting any breastfeeding shots on Insta unless I look really good in them — like, photo shoot good.
What these critics seem to be unable to grasp is that breastfeeding is all about choice and finding what works best for you. Tolbert has been incredibly brave to share her story with her followers and the comments that she received in return were beyond uncalled for. Fortunately, she's not letting it change anything. She assured her followers that she would continue to cover up, because that's what makes her feel comfortable.
As long as mama and baby are happy, it's really no one else's business how they make feeding times happen.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.