Support the Mamas

Thumbs up!

I talk a lot about the hardships of women, both on here and my daily life. The stress we put on ourselves. The shaming that others chose to heap upon us. Even the judgements we make as we look at others.

A good chunk of the time, I don’t think people are actively trying to be assholes. I think they see/hear something they don’t agree with and they react. That’s not always the case, but it is the case a lot of the time.

What sucks is that it doesn’t necessarily happen both directions. What I mean is, those reactions towards negativity tend to be more forthcoming than reactions towards positivity. So, while you may be quick to comment on a screaming child who repeatedly smacks into you in a line, you may keep completely silent about a perfectly well behaved child who quietly waits next to his/her parent.

Even little compliments are often withheld. Sometimes because we are afraid of overstepping some social line.

While waiting in a rather long food line at the CNE this past August, an attractive woman hesitantly started talking to me. “I’m really sorry,” she began, “I wasn’t going to say anything, but I hope you don’t mind…I think you have really beautiful eyes.” She went on to say how she’d been debating with herself for most of the line on whether or not to say anything to me. I thanked her and told her I completely understood. I shared that I had grown up in the South and how complements were handed out a bit more freely there.

It was such a nice moment because, for one, who doesn’t like a compliment; and, for two, it was so nice to feel like this pretty lady looked at me and saw something lovely, rather than “fat”/preggo. It also, oddly was the first time that someone gave me a compliment and I immediately thought of Spawn. I hoped that whatever it was that made that woman comment on my eyes was something I passed on to Spawn.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my eyes. That certainly wasn’t the first compliment I’d ever gotten on them. I do think it was the first from a complete stranger who wasn’t a makeup artist, though. You see, my are a true hazel, complete with a tri-coloured iris. Near the pupil it’s a mahogany brown, then a lot of amber, with a ring of dark brown. Sometimes they turn more green than gold, but it depends on the light and my mood.

With MFH’s light green eyes and my hazel, I already had high hopes for Spawn’s eyes.  Having that woman compliment me made me realize that whatever colour they turn out, they will be beautiful. My baby will be better than my hopes and dreams, because he/she will be real.

All this because one woman was brave enough to offer a compliment…

In keeping with that mindset, I read a post today that I think is absolutely lovely. It’s about telling someone they are a good mom. Maybe someone you know, maybe someone you don’t. Either way it’s about taking the time to just say good job. Not for amazingly heroic acts of motherhood, but for small, simple things. It’s about how those small, simple things can completely change a person’s day.

I encourage you to read it in full:
Tell a Friend: You Are a Good Mama | Raising Kvell.

 

***I’d like to add as a postscript here, that this doesn’t have to be exclusive to mamas. There are some pretty awesome Daddies out there that deserve their fair share of “good jobs,” as well…***

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Driving Me Bonkers – Part I

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.

I could be completely off-base here. I may have the most amazing, Zen pregnancy that leaves me as completely free from being antagonized and happy as a fat Buddha.

Fat Buddha

Me at 8 months?  [photo via Milei.vencel]

Somehow I doubt it, though. I’m just not the kind of person that can swallow the bitter pill without making a face or simply toe the company line. It seems like pregnancy makes that sort of thing worse, not better. Like getting old. Grandparents can say and do stuff we whippersnappers couldn’t dream of getting away with.

Keep Calm or Not

This message has been approved by Ms.I

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
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.

Preggo Shaming

No! Bad commenters! STOPIT!

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…