This write up is about how as new moms, we are subjected to judgement in almost everything we do. Our Mamacita Poonam Anvekar Dongare, has highlighted the feelings of a new mother, and the emotional turmoil and vulnerability that she goes through. With this blog post, she intends to reach out to such mommies and make them feel good about themselves and confident in their role as a mother. Everyone, please stop judging moms!
Did you ever find yourself pondering upon the fact that right from the time your baby is born or even when you are pregnant for that matter, people around you like your parents, grandparents, relatives, maids, and even strangers have something or the other to say or tell you or more so, seem to judge you over your parenting decisions? Sometimes through comments or most of the times non verbally with those subtle looks that say it all.
Let me tell you the story of my motherhood journey from the beginning when my firstborn arrived. No doubt it was a beautiful feeling, no words can do justice to the emotions I felt during those moments. In a state where your body is torn apart and you cannot even feel the other half of your immobile body, your baby is handed over to you. It is hard to hold back those spontaneous tears when you caress that little person in flesh and blood whom you had only imagined all this while. You suddenly find that every moment of that excruciating pain you just went through to get this little one out of your system was all worth it.
When a baby is born, so is a mother. Each unsteady in their own way. But not everyone seems to understand this, as the newborn baby becomes the prime attention seeker. My motherly instincts too didn’t take off immediately as I kept wondering why she would cry and what I could do to comfort her. After tiring hours of feeding, when she would cry again and someone would say maybe she is still hungry, I would have this urge to just punch that person in the face! Everyone likes to play with a happy and comfortable baby, but as soon as the baby starts crying, all they do is hand it over to you.
STOP judging moms who can not breastfeed
Out of the many battles that I fought like a mother, the foremost and toughest one was breastfeeding. No wonder it wasn’t as serene and peaceful as I had imagined it to be. It was more so like a tug of war where my baby and I were trying to get a grip (like literally) of the situation. And to our aid were five more ladies. My Mom, a nurse, two maids, and an aunt hovering over us, each one suggesting the best way to get the perfect latch on! This struggle went on for over a week where both of us gave our best shots. But at the end of it we only got tired and frustrated with each other. I tried almost everything. From eating raw garlic in the morning to fennel, cumin, fenugreek seeds, and bitter kheer to increase my milk supply. But all in vain.
Finally, at the first pediatric appointment, I was advised to start formula milk as my baby didn’t meet the ideal weight requirement. I was dejected, thinking I lost my first battle as I am not able to give the nourishment that’s best for my child. The guilt started building up as people around me kept stressing on how breast milk is the best and bottle feeding is bad. It was so much so that my maid once commented that in spite of me eating such a lot of dry fruit laddoos, I still wasn’t producing enough milk compared to her daughter, who didn’t get enough to eat but still had to hand express the oversupply of milk she got into the sink. It made me feel like I was some milking cow who was fed special laddoos to ensure good milk supply. Seeing other women breastfeeding their babies would make me feel as if my baby is underprivileged. It was only after some time that I regained control over my feelings and felt that as long as my baby is healthy and growing, nothing else should matter.
Seeing other women breastfeeding their babies would make me feel as if my baby is underprivileged. It was only after some time that I regained control over my feelings and felt that as long as my baby is healthy and growing, nothing else should matter.
She soon completed six months and I was happy that it’s now time for solids! I was hoping that it would free me from my guilt over the breastmilk episode I had. But the tussle was not over yet. Solid or semi-solid? pureed or mashed? homemade or store bought? people had their opinion on everything. Too much pureed will make them habitual to it. Too much chunky food can choke them and if you prefer store bought cereal over homemade, you are sure to be labelled as a lazy mom depriving your baby of fresh and healthy homemade food!
STOP judging moms for their parenting
Very soon I realised that when people see you with a baby, they have an urge to comment and feel the right to give you unsought advice over anything and everything. Right from the decision of you being a stay at home or working mom to the skin tone, height, weight, dressing, appearance and even body language of your child reflects your report card as a Mom. For instance, once as I went down with my baby for a stroll in the evening, a lady from my neighborhood questioned how I could get my baby down in the evening without even putting a jacket on her. She made me feel as though I was the most careless mom with no idea on how to dress a baby for the outdoors! I rushed back home immediately. But today I look back and wonder why I never gave it back to her and tell her that I know what suits my baby the best.
Though we are aware that these baby moments are precious and time-bound and that they are going to outgrow this phase very fast, we still are always in a hurry for them to reach their milestones. More so when people ask you about it. Has your baby started rolling over? Is she crawling? Is she standing yet? Every child is bound to walk, run, jump, and climb sooner or later. So, why not let them do it at their own pace and not push them just because we want to answer the above questions with a YES!
STOP judging moms who work
A working mom always feels guilty thinking she is not able to spend quality time with her kids. A stay-at-home is always frustrated spending all the time with kids and having no me-time at all. Both of them always think that the grass is greener on the other side. People around too have not spared judging both these choices that moms make. Working mommies are expected to look presentable and for stay-at-home mommies, it is their homes that are expected to look tidy and clean as if that’s the only thing women are bound to do in this world. A lady once commented about my baby wearing a diaper even when I am with her at home. At first, I thought, what have diapers got to do with me staying at home? Later I realised that she expected me to change and wash the soiled clothes after every pee and poop as according to her, I had no other business to take care of.
STOP judging moms for their choices
Today my daughter is 5. I always dress and match her hair bows keeping in mind what her teacher or other parents would think of me. I don’t let her repeat the same pink dress that she loves to wear at every birthday party that she attends even if it means she would sulk over it all the time at the party. But what’s more important is what other moms would think of me. But are her friends going to remember what she wears and what big deal if she repeats the same dress? So why is this undue pressure of being perfect and socially acceptable so important to me?
Why do we judge and have the fear of getting judged all the time? Why is the desire to be the best dressed, cook the healthiest meals, bake the perfect cupcakes, and put on the best Halloween costume so important to us? Whom are we trying to please? Not our kids for sure..they would be happy with a half baked cupcake too. Is it just our insecurities that we are trying to hide and trying to make ourselves feel better by tearing others down?
In order to be happy and raise happy children, we as mothers have to first feel good about ourselves. To feel good, we have to feed our bodies well, take rest, and make time for ourselves too. If making three different meals for your kids is tiring, stop, and make just one. Your child will still thrive and be fine. The dishes can wait, play the board game she is insisting on. Don’t be in a constant hurry to get on to the next chore. Dinner, bed, bath…there’s something beyond bed and bath too!
Remember, there is nothing like ‘perfect parenting’, as there is more than one way to raise happy and healthy children. Therefore don’t compare. What works for others may not work for you. Don’t self-doubt and trust your motherly instincts. Every mother desires the best for her child and puts her best in bringing them up. So don’t look down upon other mothers, you don’t know their story. Support one another. The feeling that you are not alone and everyone else also faces ups and down in this path of motherhood is itself a relief and a comforting feeling for any mother. KUCH TOH LOG KAHENGE! LOGON KA KAAM KAI KEHNA! Just ignore them.
Please comment below if you have been judged for your parenting choices. Have you ever been a judging mom yourself? Here is my previous blog post Aspiring moms – APNA TIME AAYEGA.