When I got pregnant, it was like being given a licence to kill…a bitch with a hormonal badge that wouldn’t take shit from anyone. I knew exactly what I wanted from life, for the first time in it, and exactly who I was and what kind of mother I wanted to be.
Then I gave birth and became more insecure than I have ever been. Ever. Not ME, per se, but insecure in my ability to instinctively know the right thing to do (no, I don’t always think I am right), or at least what is right or will work for me. And, because I was hormonal, OF COURSE I was right all the time.
Now the hormones have abandoned me and all I am left with is little old me. I have never heard of mothers wanting their hormones back, but me? I could use a dose. Add a post-pregnancy body to that and what do you get? Someone who has to be told to leave the house. I have days where I know what to do, and days where the same situations leave me completely baffled.
I joined a storytime group at my local library, and despite my fear of judgy moms I actually enjoyed myself. I think there was only one there, and it might have been me. I couldn’t help looking around and deciding who I thought I should avoid: the one who probably makes their child’s food from scratch with gluten-free organic ingredients only, and the ones who let their children run around while they gabbed with the other moms.
Because, of course, I wanted to neither been engaged in a discussion on free-range chicken nor gossip while my child went rangy. Which, in and of itself, is fine – I shouldn’t have to engage if I don’t want to. I have no qualms with the way other moms want to raise their kids!! I just didn’t want to be told their way was the BEST and ONLY way.
And that is my problem, I think. At at time when we’re probably all second-guessing ourselves and defending our choices in products, sleeping, feeding, creams, clothing, burping, and all things baby, shouldn’t we be able support each other? This is really my first live experience in a mom-group; I have many friends who have/have had babies, and in fact my brother-in-law and his wife had a son in September, so I am surrounded by a great support system. It’s The Others that I fear.
I had joined many MANY online groups when I found out I was pregnant, and I found them to be moderately helpful, mostly in feeling not-so-alone in my pregnancy fears. But once those ‘birth-month-group’ babies were born, though….I quickly left all of them. Man, those women can be MEAN. I was astounded by some of the reactions women had to others simply asking a question, or posts that were made announcing the ONLY way to do things.
A few other posts by friends on various social media sites, as well as posts by people I am not friends with, made me feel icky about how we treat each other. Why are we, when we need support the most, attacking each other?
I read an amazing article on bullying on The Shriver Report, by Elizabeth Flora Ross, called “Are Moms the Worst Offenders in Online Bullying?“, and it was a really timely read for me. After reading the article, I went to Ms. Ross’s website, and took the pledge – something all of us moms need to do. You can find the pledge at Elizabeth’s website above, and I have added a link to her site on the front page of this blog. You can also find Elizabeth on Twitter .
Take the pledge….even if you don’t, pledge to be a kinder woman, to yourself too.