I have had the absolute pleasure of getting to know so many parents on Instagram – I am so incredibly thankful every day for the beautiful souls that app has brought into my life and I think I always will be. This is why, the term “mum-shaming” hits home even harder when I pop a question box up on my stories asking if any of my followers feel like they have been “mum-shamed.” Obviously, this post will detail their struggles and my own – I ask you to keep an open mind when you read this blog post, much as I do when I read others’ and as always, thank you whole heartedly for even reading this far!
It’s 6am on a Saturday morning, I’ve been up all night listening to the cries and groans of other mothers and their newborns. My own little babe snoozing next to me and despite having had to buzz multiple times for someone to help change my under sheet (oh, postpartum bliss) it has been the most peaceful night now that this little person is in the world. My serenity is shoved aside by the curtain sliding back and a midwife asking me if my baby has latched on, if they seem to be getting enough from me and if I need her to explain anything – I calmly respond whilst my eyes dart around my cubicle to all the bottles of formula “I’ve mentioned to 4 or 5 other midwives, I am bottle feeding.” Her response “oh” as she swiftly leaves.
“I threw the towel in three days into breastfeeding. The nurses really pushed and pressured me to carry on but I didn’t feel it was right. Poor soul was starving, was so unsettled and just wouldn’t latch. [It was a] Hard decision but I gave him formula and he was a different nature instantly. The nurses were a bit ‘meh’ about it and I felt so lousy and judged.”
“I feel mum shamed every day.”
“When my baby was little she was crying in a store and a woman told me she sounded neglected.”
“I felt mum shamed by strangers on the bus telling me not to give my baby a dummy.”
There have been countless times in the last 18 months where I have felt overwhelmed, mum guilt, underprepared, etc and sometimes been made to feel that way by strangers, friends, family… but IT’S OK TO need help, ask for help, want more sleep, want to be on your own, not go back to work, cuddle your baby all day in your pyjamas, be hormonal, make friends online, miss your old life, say you’re feeling rubbish, and generally not be ok. It doesn’t mean you’re failing as a mama, it means you’re navigating this big beautiful challenge and each day you will grow more confident, stronger and feel more capable in your self. Allow yourself time to switch off. You’re doing amazing.