When my husband and I started Soul Analyse in 2015, it was in no way intended to be associated with parenting, and it still isn’t. But there are some things I need to say, and seeing as Soul Analyse is a hub for making people feel better, it seems like the perfect place to do it.
In March of this year, I became a mum to a beautiful baby girl. Having my daughter is the most precious thing I’ll ever experience, I’m sure, but it is with sadness that I feel the need to write these things. Becoming a mum has been an experience in which I have never felt more judged.
Everyone Knows What’s Best for Your Baby, Apart from You Of course!
For first-time-mums the world seems like a scary place, everything is new and different, including ourselves. I was like a scared rabbit in headlights – for a moment I stopped trusting myself, my instincts, because I was being told by so many people how to do things.
Entering into the world of motherhood, suddenly everyone has an opinion on your life. Suddenly you and your child are public property.
Don’t get me started on health visitors, aren’t they just the worst?! I did have one very nice experience with a health visitor who was clearly only out to offer love and support but the several others who visited me in those early days made the experience excruciatingly painful.
*If you are a health visitor reading this, I’m sorry if my words hurt but please let women enter into motherhood in their own way and at their own pace, please don’t disagree with their every move. A mother is at her best when she is reminded that she’s doing a good job, please be the one to remind her.*
Decisions that I’ve made for my baby have been judged, I’ve experienced other mums talking behind my back about my choices, which I do not wish to disclose here because this isn’t supposed to be a controversial post. This is a post to let other mums know that I experience it too, the judgement, and together we can find a way to combat it.
Be Resilient – You’re Joking, Right?
If we’re talking business, resilience is my middle name – knock-backs don’t faze me usually, but when we are talking about my baby, there’s no resilience involved. Judgement hits me where it hurts and no amounts of “tough stuff” could ever stop that.
Besides, why should I get used to people telling me how to parent my own child? Why should I accept judgement from others about my parenting? I’m not willing to become resilient to judgement, and I don’t believe you should either.
But I do believe there is another way…
Mum Knows Best (about her own children)
I love the idea of mums, and women in general, lifting one another up. I love the idea of non-judgement and understanding. I love the idea of letting every mum do it their way, because they know what’s best for their baby. But unfortunately, this isn’t the reality.
The reality is that many women, whether it’s a health visitor or another mum, tend to have a rigid view of parenting. They aren’t willing to accept that others have their own way of doing things. They aren’t willing to be that positive light that a mum needs in her darkest hour. Instead, they believe that they are right and other mums are wrong.
Just because you know what’s best for your child (and you do), that doesn’t mean you know what’s best for every other child. You can be part of the solution by accepting other mums and their individual decisions, and not participating in the problem.
If we all allowed one another to parent the way that we want, there would be no issue. No judgement. No bad feeling. Nothing but acceptance.
You’re a Natural
I can say myself that I have an unprecedented amount of respect for mums. Every single mum on this planet. Whether you had a natural birth or caesarean, let’s be honest, there’s just no pain like it. That desperate exhaustion we feel in the early days (I’m hoping it will end soon, maybe it won’t?), from sleepless nights and intense days, while still having to care for our babies to the best of our ability, makes us the most inspiring creatures I know.
For me, what’s really helped is reminding myself that I’ve got this. Being a mum isn’t something we learn to do from others, it’s a journey we take on our own. That’s not to say sisterhood isn’t important. It is. But I believe motherhood is also a very personal thing. We each have different ways of doing things, different beliefs, different wants for our babies, you’ve just got to believe in your way and be comfortable with it, no matter what others think.
Trust in your instincts and remember, you can do this. Every bit of it!
Being a mum has given me untold understanding and respect for women. I feel for women now. I feel deeply compassionate. And I want to help.
I know there are women out there that make other mums feel good. I know there are women who don’t judge. I know there are women out there that want to offer nothing but love to other women when they are embarking on the scariest journey of their life.
I want to be one of those women. And you can be too.
Next time you see a mum in need, help her. Next time you don’t agree with the way a mum is doing her thing, take a little longer to think about your next step. Don’t put her down, give her compassion and help her. Next time you see a mum looking overwhelmed and exhausted, offer her nothing but support. Help her.
Together we can create a sisterhood of women uplifting each other and, in turn, one-by-one becoming stronger. Standing apart, we fall apart. Be the best sister you can be and help her.
Sending love to all the mamas out there,
Stephanie is a professional writer, blogger and the co-founder of Soul Analyse.
While she always tries to live in the moment, she feels it's equally important to look back at past experiences with open eyes to connect the missing dots and work out what we can learn for the future. She uses writing as a way to share her story with others in the hope that her past experiences can help someone else moving forward. She's also keen to gain knowledge from others' experiences and believes we can learn a great deal from one another!