I never knew I could love someone more than I love myself. I didn’t think it was possible for every waking moment to be about another person. When I found out I was about to be a mom, I was super excited but very nervous. I had helped my mother with my siblings but I knew Motherhood was a different ball game and although I had an advantage, what I’d like to call a head start, I knew I was in for a ride. Motherhood is on the job training, you read all the books, talk to trusted women who share the same values and beliefs as you but there’s always something to learn. I read somewhere recently that the delivery process is nothing compared to the journey motherhood takes you on. I say it’s the beginning of a beautiful journey.
Nothing quite prepares you for motherhood, in this day and age where there are several debates about how to raise children, what’s right and what’s not right, everyone has an opinion, traditions try to creep in, it’s hard to be a mom. You have to deal with so many things at the same time: your changing body, your new role as a mom, your time, your emotions, and the home, to name a few.
This is the time when women need support the most, not judgment!
At the time when I had my baby boy, there was a debate about whether C-Section was considered natural birth. At the time when I had him, people were saying all kinds of things against C- Sections. People even had the nerves to insinuate that only lazy people opted for a C-Section. I’m sorry, I must have missed the memo. When the doctor told me I had to have an emergency C-section, I should have asked for your opinion, or better yet, your approval. At that moment, all we could think about was the safety of our baby boy, and that should be your only concern at that point in time. I did the super woman thing, refused epidural for hours until the nurse told me the pain I was going through was affecting my son’s heart rate. I immediately snapped out of it and requested for the epidural. Women, do what’s best for your baby, not your ego!
I’ll save you the details of the C-section and fast forward to when I stopped breastfeeding. I remember having to explain to people why I was bottle feeding my infant. Was it really anyone’s business that my milk production was low? That my son wasn’t latching on properly… Or that I was trying to increase my milk production and expressing it into a bottle but the supply still wasn’t enough? Or that after a while my husband and I concluded that the formula was just right and I didn’t need to torture myself any longer? You would think it’s the mom’s around me that would tell me that it’s ok, these things happen, I shouldn’t beat myself up for it, but No! The reverse was the case. I happily fed my son the best way I knew how, and when he was old enough, hubby and I experimented with different mixed veggies and fruits. Needless to say, he is a very healthy and strong boy.
There are many other times I have been “MOM SHAMED”. Motherhood is not about who can do it better, or whose method is more acceptable. It’s about what’s best for your child at the time. If you have several kids, you’ll also know that there is no one size fits all routine. What works for the first may not work for the second. So we are always caught off-guard, always learning, doing the best we can. There is no expert or perfect mother. Is the comparison game necessary? Should we ever have statements like “I would never do that, how can you do that, if it was me…” in our conversations with a fellow mom? I’ve come to realize that unless you are confronted with certain situations, you may never know how you’ll react.
Next time you engage a fellow mother in conversation and she shares her struggles with you, be empathetic. Don’t judge her, because no matter what decision a mother makes, it’s never easy. Even when you have a different opinion, resist the urge to hear your own voice, listen to her. Help her love her child and prioritize that child. At the end of the day, we are all doing the best that we can!