During nap time this afternoon I took the (sadly) compulsory sweep of my Facebook news feed- enjoying a few minutes of peace and quiet. Barely skirting over headlines and quotes until something caught my eye. An article primarily focusing on 'the rise of baby bump shaming' I have to admit I started reading the article, but didn't get very far, feeling slightly sickened by the general subject content. It is not the first time this week I have read an article related to the body shaming of women. And it is definitely not the only article where it seems other women are doing the shaming.
As a race we are forever attempting to out do one another, with an insecure need of wanting to be the best, or know the most, or be the most attractive. By achieving these self-centred goals many of us are willing to put others down to get there. I have experienced a form of this negativity my whole life. I was an awkward, slightly geeky (alright very geeky) kid- who turned into an awkward slightly geeky teenager- but it's ok, as I once over heard 'friends' saying 'we like her, well you know, we can be friends with her without her ever being a threat- it's not like she will steal our boyfriends haha'. But it was not until I announced my pregnancy with my first daughter that I really saw the true colours of many I may have once considered friends; A female work colleague (already a mother herself) telling a friend of mine the morning sickness (mild Hyperemesis) was psycho semantic as she never had morning sickness (so how possibly could I?). When completing my birthing plan and stating 'if I want all the drugs give me all the drugs', 'oh no! How can you possible do that? You are young and fit you should have a natural birth'. When I ended up having a totally natural home birth, 'that was a bad idea, something could have gone wrong.'
It would appear your choices as a mother are constantly under scrutiny. If you bottle feed, it's just not good enough, if you breastfeed, don't do it for too long, that's just disgusting. Disposable nappies- you are helping destroy our planet, reusable nappies, oh these new age mothers know nothing, they just don't work, hippies!!! Co sleeping- just don't even go there. Really- I may as well just leave now, I mean it's a miracle I haven't killed my child with all these wrong doings!!!
My question today is why? Why does this keep happening and why has it been going on for generations. The saddest fact of the matter- more often than not the face behind the critique is a female one. Ask my husband- in complete honesty, he didn't care how our baby arrived into this world, so long as mother and baby were well. Breastfeeding? Ok a slight peak in interest in the word breast- but otherwise not fussed so long as the baby was fed. Co sleeping? Not sure he is usually snoring. So what happened to all the girl power? Any female out there knows how hard it is to be a female. There is acne, periods, magazines telling you how you should look and dress, pregnancy, childbirth. Any mother knows how hard it is to be a mother. One could argue it may well be the hardest thing you ever do. The sleepless nights, nursing sick children, the worry, the constant beating yourself up that you are not doing a good enough job. Why do we need others beating us up too?
I can't pretend I am immune, it would be a lie if I said I had never slagged off someone at least once, but I am going to try harder. Ladies, can I at least ask? Please can we bring back the girl power that we are so determined to talk about, but in reality so hesitant to act upon? The world is a scary enough place as it is- let's try to make it a little less scary by standing together. You are a woman, you are amazing, and you are doing a brilliant job just being you.