I’m not even pregnant yet, but I’m already finding myself really tired of hearing/seeing certain things. Right. So assuming things will continue on in this vein, I’m preemptively making this DMB Part I. No idea how many to follow.
What is rising my ire, you might ask? (Alternatively, maybe you’re just wondering when the heck – or if – I’m actually going to get to the bloody point. Patience, grasshopper.)
In a nutshell: preggo shaming and “how would you feel” ers.
Preggo shaming seems to occur mostly on pregnancy and conception boards or comment sections of articles about the same. I get that breastfeeding (or not) and how a baby is diapered are two super hot button issues. What I don’t get is why any woman (or man) feels the need to tell another woman that her/his preferred method is the only way. As if there is no alternative. No single reason why you cannot exactly replicate their experience.
Have a medical reason why you cannot produce enough milk, so you’re feeding or supplementing with formula? TOO BAD! You’re POISONING your child!! You just aren’t TRYING hard enough! According the most extreme, you can’t even bottle feed with breast milk. You’re confusing your child and they won’t be able to properly breastfeed.
The debate between whether to use cloth or disposable diapers rival actual wars. And you know what? If it all came down to a hearty discussion, I’d be completely for it. It’s a great way to see different sides of an issue and really get an idea of what you might like to do.
But that’s not generally what happens. Preggo shaming is what happens. You know the dog shaming trend of late? It’s like that.
How Would You Feel ers
These people crop up in the same places as the Shamers. They seem to be everywhere else as well. They, in my mind, are worse than the Shamers. While the Shamers seem to have an utter lack of empathy, the HWYFers mask their asshattery by confusing fear-mongering with sympathy. It comes in a million variations, but the just of the HWYFers is this question: “How would you feel if you did [insert random action here] and something happened to the baby?”
Are you kidding me? I would feel like a worthless mother. I would feel like God was pointing down at me shouting, “Epic Fail!” How the hell do you think I’d feel?
If you golden spiral that to try and get to the final conclusion, you cannot do anything. Move? “How would you feel if something happened to the baby?” Stand perfectly still? “How would you feel if something happened to the baby?” Oh dear god, I can’t make a decision and something is going to happen to my baby!
Just STOPIT! I understand that the majority of people who say this literally think they’re helping, but it just adds to the overall fear. Especially for woman trying to become or newly pregnant. Some of the HWYFers even say it to contradict actual medical professionals. “Oh, your doctor said that was okay? But how would you feel if you did and something happened to the baby?” Thank you layperson who’s never even held a child, I’m sure the decades my doctor has studied and practiced taking care of pregnancies amounts to mere drivel at your feet.
In the end, the thing that bothers me the most about all of this boils down to one issue. Why can’t women love and support one another? Is it so hard to look at a woman who is growing another human – creating in almost a biblical sense – and just try to help her keep herself together? Must she be torn down and shamed if her best efforts do not aline with yours?
At the end of the day, I have to trust my own body and the person or persons I choose to put in charge of my care. My plan is to pull the people who help me closer and push the ones that don’t a bit further away. I have the wherewithal to traverse the online world and collect the gems while leaving the rest of the crap behind. That doesn’t mean it all leaves me untroubled on my journey…