I recently had the misfortune of being mommy shamed and it is as unpleasant to experience as it sounds. What is ‘mommy shaming’ you may ask – well it’s when a mother is made to feel ashamed or embarrassed by the way in which she chooses to parent her child. Sometimes, it can be inflicted deliberately or unknowingly.
I experienced this recently and it was not fun. As a new mom, one is already rather unsure and cautious (sometimes overly cautious) how one parents one’s child, so when someone makes you feel bad about a decision you have painstakingly taken for your child, it leaves a bitter taste in the mouth and sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach when someone makes you feel bad or unsure about your decision making.
So you may ask what constitutes ‘mommy shaming’ – well it could be anything from passing judgement on a mom choosing to formula feed their baby instead of breastfeed, or decide to start feeding their baby semi solids at four months old instead of 6 months, it could be frowning upon how a mom dresses their baby – it could be anything really.
But this ‘mommy-shaming’ is a global occurrence, in the US, a nationwide poll of 475 mothers was conducted. It found that it’s a familiar experience for most with kids under age 5 and the source of the shaming is most often a woman’s own parents.
Major areas of criticism include discipline (70 percent); diet and nutrition (52 percent); sleep (46 percent); breast- versus bottle-feeding (39 percent); safety (20 percent); and child care (16 percent).
If this is what the situation is overseas, I can safely say, we are experiencing the same this side too.
So how does one avoid said shaming – rather choose to be silent when you feel the urge to judge, the truth is, there is no one way of parenting a child and what works for one baby may not work for another – so rather than make an already nervous first time mom feel bad about what she chooses for her child – rather say nothing and smile and nod. Be compassionate and mindful of the mother’s feelings and rather choose to not pass judgement.
If you absolutely must give advice, give it with the utmost amount of empathy and encouragement.
Happy Healthy Fabulous