A few days ago I posted the images to the right on my instagram. It is an image of myself as a newborn in the hospital, shortly after my mom had me back in 1983. That is me in the first
container crib. :)
When I look at this image the first thing that comes to mind is the fact that not only am I placed on my tummy… but the baby behind me… In fact I am pretty confident every baby in that nursery was on their tummy.
Yet 21 years after that image was taken and I became a mom, you would have been crucified by medical professionals as well as other moms, if you placed your baby on their tummy. I remember when I first became a mom back in 2004, I was greatly criticized. 4 months after I had Caleb we moved to Northern Ohio. Where my husband served as an Associate Pastor and Youth Pastor. I was 21, a new mom and really a fairly new wife. This was our first FULL time ministry position. We knew no one in the area… and everything we knew was now different. My mom was 12+ hours away in Charlotte, NC… and this whole journey through motherhood was something I was about to face head on with no shoulder to cry on.
It was HARD.
I remember ladies in the nursery rolling eyes… talking down about the way I chose to do things… cracking jokes… and making me feel about as small as it comes. I remember dreading going to church many sundays because of the fear of what would be said next to me in regards to how I chose to parent Caleb. Are they malicious and hateful? Probably not intentionally… but it was hurtful. This is in no way meant to talk bad about the church btw… this can happen anywhere…
To add to the pressures of motherhood came the pressure that I began to feel by other moms.
My mom in 1982 with my big brother Kevin
Moms would throw things in other moms faces about their choices.
Underhandedly making remarks about what a mother should choose when it comes to child birth. How the epidural was for sissys and how dangerous it is for baby. I remember when I first got the epidural the judgement I felt from other moms made me feel less than. I remember feeling almost pressured into attempting a natural birth experience. With my 3rd born I finally made the decision to go through child birth without an epidural… and the first thing I yelled out after Owen entered the world was “NEXT TIME IM GETTING THE EPIDURAL!!!” haha. Yet with Reed I chose not to get it either. Not because I felt I had to prove something… but because I wanted to try a water birth experience…. We only live once after all :)
Breast feeding became an area of severe depression for me… baby after baby facing hurdles that seemed to never end. What was suppose to be so natural was so crushing for me. Moms staring me down as I filled a bottle of formula… and anonymous commentors on my blog would tell me how selfish I was for not nursing my children without even knowing why I couldn’t.
Even when I thought I was doing things right and babywore constantly, I still got stares… some maybe curious stares but often times not.
When I had my 2nd born Taite and decided to Cloth Diaper. You would not believe the remarks I got on that. I remember people thinking I was so strange… and I would often feel pressured to put my son in a disposable diaper just to avoid any looks.
When it came time for my oldest to enter school, that too even became an area of attack.
As if my choice to keep my son home to home school him was to hurt them. I remember hearing remarks from women who happened to be public school teachers, in around about ways would tell me how I was sheltering my child and he should be in public school. How my keeping him home was an insult to the hard work public school teachers put in. As if that was my intention, to insult….
When I turned my 1st born around in a car seat, you would have thought I stuck his head out of a car window. I cannot count the times I was rebuked for switching him early… and while I do believer it is safer to keep them rear facing until age 2 (IF YOU CAN), I do believe there is a better way to go about explaining this to a new mom… without sounding judgmental and harsh…
The photo to the right btw is myself in a carseat, not in the back seat but the front. I mean look at that thing! haha… you’d be burned at the stake today for that one. Yet it was what my parents knew then…
I often wonder if my mom back in the early 80’s got ridiculed by other moms like most of us do today.
I wonder how much less stressful motherhood was for her without social media… constant articles about what we need to do to be better moms. How we need to cook with these certain ingredients. How things should look in a mud room and how our nurseries should be pinterest perfected to make our homes complete. How our child may contract endovirus or whatever and they need x-amount of new shots in order to live… because chicken pox kills you apparently. Did our parents worry about such things? Did my mom feel pressured to get an epidural or not to? or to nurse vs. use a bottle? Did she feel less than if she didn’t have certain baby gear or feed us certain foods?
or could my parents just be… and enjoy us while in that season.
Me just after delivery
I have been in this battle for a while now with social media… knowing the great good that can come from it yet seeing and experiencing the bad as well. It is truly a love hate relationship. I love keeping up with old friends and family… yet each and every time I log in, I leave stressed. defeated. small. lonely.
I know that for my business and my blog… staying on social media is sort of a must. Most of my clients I find via facebook… and a lot of my blog promoting happens not only through facebook but instagram and pinterest. To do my job and bring in income for my family (that in this season we need to pay our bills), I can’t abandon social media completely… even though a huge part of me wants to do so.
One thing I have been trying hard to do is to cut the phone off.
To put the ipad down.
I feel a little bit like a broken record in this post… but I just cant stop thinking about it.
On a night where I feel a little weepy because of a situation I can’t yet really express fully… I can’t help but feel frustration over how we treat each other through social media... I just want to encourage all those reading to love other moms… to bite the tongue even if you feel the need to chime in (trust me, I have been there and done that…guilty…guilty…guilty…) Before you hit “enter”, remember that mom is doing her best… and loving those babies well… Sometimes keeping our thoughts to ourselves is best and wise.
… and if anyone reading my blog has ever felt judged… or less than. I am sorry. Whenever I blog those are never my intentions.
I am in the thick of motherhood just like the rest of you :) – and my decision may work for me but it isn’t gospel.
Lets love those babies and each other today.
I’m on my moms lap, brother to the left. Dad to the right.
Abuela (Grandmother) and center my Bisabuela (great grandmother)