Heather's Above The Din | Mom Bashing
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Mom Bashing

Mom Bashing

 

The other day, I was casually talking to a friend about how I drink coffee, and she asked if my daughter experienced the effects of the caffeine through my breast milk. I started explaining to her that I had a cup of coffee almost every morning while I was pregnant, and I’ve never had any issues. That’s when someone else chimed in on the conversation. This person basically made me feel like a bad mom for drinking coffee and insisted that my daughter would suffer life-long damaging consequences like ADHD or autism as a result. At the time, I was so shocked that I didn’t know what to say. Hurt and embarrassment washed over me and I just sat there in disbelief. 
I wanted to defend myself and let them know that, when I was pregnant, I spoke with my OBGYN and did a lot of research regarding caffeine and its effects. Through my research, I discovered that you’re allowed to have 200 mg of caffeine a day, and a cup of coffee is approximately 45 mg. I wanted to say that, most days, I don’t even finish one cup of coffee. I wanted to explain to them that, while I was pregnant, I was in the middle of my final semester of college and I had to study for exams, write papers, and finish my internship. I wanted to explain that I tried to quit drinking caffeine when I first found out I was pregnant but I began to suffer from depression and caffeine withdrawals. I even wanted to tell them that my daughter was perfectly healthy and I had a very smooth pregnancy and delivery.  Despite all of my possible retorts, I stopped myself from saying anything because I realized that I didn’t have to defend myself.

This person would never understand my situation or what it’s like to have a tenant take up residence in my body for 9 months.  They wouldn’t understand the joy and excitement I felt, but also the muscle pains, random cramping, and the pure exhaustion I experienced. They didn’t know that I had to wake up early five days a week to drive over an hour to get to school or that caffeine helped me stay awake in the morning.

While these thoughts ran through my head, I came to the realization that this person probably didn’t say these things to me to hurt me, and they probably didn’t realize the effect it would have on me. Since having my daughter, I’ve experienced my fair share of unsolicited advice, rude comments, little jibes, and judgments toward me based on my parenting decisions. I know I’m not the only mom that has experienced “mom bashing” firsthand. This trend of directing negative comments at moms has a dehumanizing effect. It’s almost as if moms are open game for criticism and negative comments passed off as advice.  When did this happen? When did we decide that it was okay to tear down moms?

God forbid I have to breastfeed my starving baby in public. And I sincerely hope that my daughter never cries in a grocery store while I’m shopping. And please never let me get away with posting a photo of my daughter with a messy house in the background. The backlash that moms experience for not being perfect is stress inducing and unproductive.
We need to stop mom bashing. We’re all here to take care of our children and do the best we can. It shouldn’t matter if you breast or bottle feed your baby, if you use cloth diapers or Pampers, if you baby wear or put your baby in a stroller, OR if you drink coffee while you’re pregnant or have enough willpower to give that up (tell me your secret!). We are all good moms. We are all doing what we can in this life and we all want what is best for our children.
I know I’m a good mom and I promise to not let a comment like that ever effect me again. I’ve carried my daughter for a lot longer than 9 months. I’ve woken ten times in a night to make sure she’s still breathing. I’ve been puked on. I’ve had my hair ripped out by tiny fists. I’ve become a pro at removing stains. And, most importantly, I love my daughter, and that’s not something that I have to prove to anybody.
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