Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Mummy Judgement

This post has been written in my head for a long time but its a difficult one to get right, it could sound like I'm being petulant or selfish but I'm not, I'm trying hard to strike a diplomatic balance on a difficult and unspoken subject, Mummy Judgement! Let me set the scene or scenes of my inspiration.

I have a friend who birthed at home pain free, peacefully and found it life affirming pride making and amazing, but a friend of hers made her feel so bad for being proud of this that she no longer talks with passion about her home birth, she and her husband keep it to themselves so that they don't upset anyone?!?!?!? How scewiff is that, in this society of medicalised births we should shout from the rooftops about how amazing our bodies are and instill positivity and not fear into mamas to be.

Mama 1 'I breastfed for 15 months and it was the best thing for us, no cold night bottle making and I'm super lazy so not trudging up and down stairs is a winner' 

Response from a non breastfeeder, (angry tone) 'Well I couldn't breastfeed and my baby is just fine some people cant you know!'

Mama 1 'Oh Homebirthing is great it was so peaceful and calm a really brilliant experience'

Response from someone who didn't home birth 'yes well I had 76 hours in labour and ended up with forceps and stitches it was the worst experience of my life

OK let me set the record straight, If a mam is proud that she breastfed and she shares that with you, she isn't being judgmental or smug, she is rightly being proud of something important to her. She is not passively aggressively saying You are doing it wrong for  doing it differently. you don't need to make her feel guilty for successfully breastfeeding, she isn't trying to make you feel guilty for successfully bottle feeding, you are mamas and you are loving your babies and that's what counts

And if your friend tells you she gave birth at home naturally and peacefully and it was the best experience of her life, she isn't saying you are less of a mother for taking drugs, having a section, forceps or anything else. Shes sharing her pride with you, its ok to say 'wow that's fab'  it doesn't matter how you both chose to birth, you are mamas loving your babies and thats what counts

There is a real culture of stamping down pride in doing things differently, these are some examples, and its sad that we seem to be losing a culture of sisterhood. It doesn't matter that you do things differently what matters is that you support each other.

Here is another example, I re-shared  a pic of the queen on twitter, I cant share it here as I don't have permission but it was the queen holding a tiny Prince Edward in her bed surrounded by her children after giving birth at home. I said 'The Queen Homebirthed and breast fed all of her children she rocks being a mama'

Me and Termite mere hours after our homebirth

The thought behind this tweet was that I don't reckon many people want to high five the Queen for being an amazing Mama and someone should, same as someone should high five the mamas who had 2 sections in hospital and bottlefed her kids. Because being a mam isn't the easiest and is sometimes not bigged up enough. 

But apparently this tweet caused some offence because I had a tweet to say not everyone can breastfeed and us commoners cant homebirth. I was quick to try to put this right, I'm a commoner and I home birthed and I wasn't saying anyone who doesn't breastfeed doesn't deserve praise, I just personally think it was a nice thing to know about the queen. But  was left feeling like I had insulted someone, which is never ever my intention.

Similarly I once commented on a facebook discussion that so long as mum and baby were happy the she should try not to be so hard on herself, the mum was saying she felt a failure for having a c section! Oh how I was shot down for discounting the mum, apparently by suggesting she shouldn't feel guilty I was worsening her grief! Now I see the benefit of supporting a woman through the process of coming to terms with a birth that wasn't how she imagined BUT lasses come on, if we say something supportive to a fellow mum we are trying to be supportive we aren't trying to lord it over one her.

 I guess what I'm trying to say, Mummys  of the world is,  do not let society make you feel anything. If you are listening to a pal shine with pride, shine with her, build her up dont shoot her down beacause your paths are different. If you hear of a mammy feeling like she's not enough, share with her support her and give her a damn hi 5 because lord knows we appear to be treating motherhood as a race instead of a team sport.

We are all in this together and we need to build each other up no matter how our paths differ because we are all heading for the same destination..... Happy Healthy Children who feel warm and loved and secure


  1. What a lovely and heartfelt post. I can relate to this a lot, I chose a largely unmedicated birth and to breastfeed into toddlerhood. These are my choices that I'm proud of, however I'd never discount anyone else's choices. We're all simply parenting in the way in which we think is best for our families.

    1. But do you feel like you can't be open about your choices? I always feel guilty talking about my positive births in case I upset someone and that shouldn't be

  2. Oh Karen, I understand this completely! I had a nice birth with James, and breastfed him until I fell pregnant with Noah and he weaned himself. A friend of mine stopped talking to me, now blanks me if she sees me out, because she had a difficult birth and refused all help to breastfeed when she had her heart set on it but couldn't. I never judged, I always sympathised, and yet she found my experiences so abhorrent to her - like I had achieved something she couldn't and therefore I was wrong - that she could not be my friend any more. And what was my crime?! Being able to breastfeed and not needing any emergency intervention during the birth.

    It is difficult, it is a touchy subject. I am so very proud that Noah has been able to feed into toddlerdom after our really rocky start (thanks so much to La Leche League for that!) but I understand completely what you're saying about having to withhold the pride for fear of upsetting others.

    Great and heartfelt post. And I never knew that about the queen, though I have been to Edinburgh to look round her yacht, and seen some really lovely photos of the family, so I do like the queen as a mammy :)

  3. I'm always made to feel 'guilty' on now my daughter is 7 months doing things I shouldn't "be doing anymore" she's not in the baby stage. Wether it's in the public or my family relating to 'still' breastfeeding or baby wearing, bed sharing and refusing to let her cry. (For the record I'm not I am incredibly happy how far we have after a tough start with tongue tie, thank goodness for le leche Sunderland!)

    I'm just so pro attachment parenting I feel like I can't speak out or explain I still breastfeed for what reaction I will get.

    For example I was in Mac n Alli, the staff are fantastic in there regarding breastfeeding but I had a pair of old dears staring and talking about me breastfeeding my 7 month old I smiled my daughter un latched and smiled too!

    I think we are still stuck in a time here where what a doctor/midwife or mother grandma says is golden, completely lost touch with our bodies and babies breastfeeding isn't the norm nor is attachment parenting.

    I think south tyneside are very stuck behind the times there would be more support if they have more information about doulas, delayed cord clamping, breastfeeding and let's not forget to improve the breastfeeding help after! (I've already put in two complaints about the clueless breast grabbers! )

    I go a lot of negative reactions to the fact I wanted a home birth, the fact I was considering lotus birth or placenta encapsulation. I usually keep quiet now i find no one with the same views and mindset.

    I find the people who make you feel the guilt are worse on Facebook, I see constantly stunning photos of breastfeeding mothers and offended formula feeding mums on them complaining it makes them feel inadequate, yet if a breastfeeding mum comments on a perfect prep post then we are the 'breastapo"?

    Don't get me wrong I do judge sometimes but bite my tongue it's human nature to judge just some people don't admit it, for example my partners best mates girlfriend said 'I considered breastfeeding but no way I was going to go any longer without alcohol' I found this incredibly selfish, yes I did judge, I would never ever spend time with her as a friend.i found it incredibly sad and selfish. My few friends have very similar views with attachment parenting, I like to keep it that way then I suppose you don't get attached to people or accused of making them feel inadequate. Which we all know no one else can make you feel inadequate but yourself, if you feel that way for parenting choices the problem lies with you not making someone else feel like crap.

    I do feel a lot of baby groups wether it's breastfeeding or baby groups are horribly cliques, it's not nice for a postpartum new mum to try and fit into that kind of environment, I was happy to find the riverside breastfeeding group where cliques aren't allowed everyone is welcomed and it is lovely but I guess it's another part of human nature, it is still nice to be with like minded mums, although I feel I can never talk about some subjects a good ap friend of mine I do and she doesn't judge because we really are like minded in our approaches.

    Brilliant article it's nice reading about like minded parents.

  4. I'm not sure I would say it's geographical j think society and country wide we've lost our sense of sisterly solidarity where parenting is concerned

    Pop over and join in our chats on

  5. I'm not sure I would say it's geographical j think society and country wide we've lost our sense of sisterly solidarity where parenting is concerned

    Pop over and join in our chats on

    1. That's true very true, but I find its just the way people are here, I find Geordies a bit stuck still in old times of the way their mothers or grandmothers did stuff, we all find our way is best.

      My nana still gets on my case of 'shouldn't se have a bottle now' and didn't invite us for Xmas dinner out because I would have had to feed my baby, I don't feel angry I just find it sad.

      I know we don't have a huge breastfeeding rate here, for whichever reason, I formula fed my first due to PND, my friend who breastfed did make me feel gutted I couldn't but I admired her immensely I didn't make her feel like crap because I couldn't, it wasn't my fault, it wasn't her fault I felt like that, that was nearly 7 years ago and have breastfed two babies since then, my son stopped himself at 18 months and now still going at 7 months I am very proud of where we are.

  6. Fabulous post. I'm a breastfeeding Mama to a 6 month old baby girl and I had an unassisted pain free homebirth, delivered her myself and I'm bloody proud because it was a really cool, awesome experience. I can understand why I Mother who hoped for a similar experience and didn't get it for any reason would feel grief. I also understand that its some peoples idea of hell!

    I wrote a very similar post on my blog when I was pregnant because I felt as though I was treated quite unfairly for being outspoken about enjoying pregnancy. I approached pregnancy with a lot of positivity, I ate well, meditated every day, swam, did yoga. I really loved every minute of it and when I talked (or wrote) about being pregnant it was about how lovely an experience it was turning out to be, how bonded I felt with my baby, and yeah, I was passionate about that. I had people make a real 'point' of in following me on social media because they hadn't had a similar pregnancy experience and that was surprising and hurtful. Someone said something about how they expect me to go on about how great my birth was and how well my baby sleeps when she arrives and I'll be 'one of those' and that made me really conscious and uncomfortable when in fact I DID have a really positive birth experience.

    I love talking about my birth but I don't do so to make others feel shit.

    Funnily enough those people who took offensive to my positivity began to engage again when I really struggled to breastfeed and was very down!

  7. Well I'll have to.pop over and browse your blog I love positive pregnancy and birth stories. I did not have a typical glowing pregnancy with my first two in fact I could walk for most of them BUT I'm happy for your joy I feel good that you could share with others and give hope to people thinking about taking those steps to becoming a family we need More positivity and more praise and more support

  8. At the end of the day if you and your baby/ies are happy and healthy, that's all that matters. Everyone else needs to pipe down and worry about their own kids instead of yours.

  9. At the end of the day if you and your baby/ies are happy and healthy, that's all that matters. Everyone else needs to pipe down and worry about their own kids instead of yours.