Is there anyone alive judged as much as a mother?
This occurred to me last Saturday when I was on my lunch break from work. I really felt like sushi, which was readily available, but my first thought was “but now that I think I actually look pregnant, what if someone says something?” I still bought sushi, but it took it back into the store to consume out the back in shame.
It got me thinking about all the decisions a mother has to make that opens her up to judgment, and how it starts right upon conception. How early do you tell people you’re pregnant, how you choose to eat and drink, where you’re comfortable birthing, what pain relief (or if any) you use, whether you required a caesarian or whether you just elected for one because of your own deeply personal reasons.
Even as to whether you’re married or not. I know when my rings stopped fitting my swollen fingers in my last trimester with Jack, I’d see fellow commuters take notice of my pregnant belly and then glance at my bare left hand, whether out of curiosity or silent judgment I’ll never know. But I couldn’t help but feel judged and want to wear a dress ring that fit that finger, even though I personally couldn’t give a rats what your marital status is. It’s none of my business and these days it doesn’t matter in what order you have a child/buy a house/marry or not marry. Everyone is different.
Then of course when the beloved child arrives we are judged on how we are supposed to feel towards and bond with the baby after the birth, how we feed, how often we feed, whether we sleep with our child or not, whether we circumcise and when we decide to get our daughters ears pierced. Not to mention the pressure put upon women to bounce back after pregnancy, as if amongst everything new mothers have already been though, it matters at all. It just never ends. Jump on any forum today and I promise you there will be threads closed down because of arguments got out of hand surrounding many of these issues.
It seems so incredibly unfair. For a time at least, we leave the workforce or give up our careers and work for free for our children and care for our husbands, in the hardest yet most rewarding role we’ll ever take on. We all feel the same anxiety, worries, fears and all have days where we can only cry. Yet we are the judged. Not only that, everything we read and everything we hear makes us judge ourselves. Am I doing the wrong thing? Am I a bad mother?
I’m going to be honest, because I’m a prime candidate to be judged. With the full support of my excellent obstetrician, I eat exactly the same while I’m pregnant than when I’m not and I’ve been on the receiving end of some comments. I devour feta, deli meats, sushi and soft cheese. I can’t even name everything I’m not supposed to have because I don’t know the full list of what I’m supposed to be avoiding. I just use my common sense and judgment as to whether I think something is fresh. I’ve had at least 3 half glasses of wine or champagne this pregnancy. One to celebrate our 6th wedding anniversary, one to celebrate a 70th and another last weekend celebrating a friends 40th. I was exactly the same with Jack and I’m immensely proud of the funny, happy, healthy little boy I’m raising. Having said all that, I’m never going to judge YOU because you choose to avoid these things. You are doing the right thing by YOU and how you feel is all that matters both to yourself and the health of your child. I actually admire your discipline.
I think a good rule for those that might want to judge someone’s choices is to ask themselves “how does their choice directly affect me?” If it doesn’t, leave it alone. Mothers heap enough pressure on themselves without everyone else doing it too.
I’m off to cook dinner load up the newest episode of The Bachelorette (US version) cause hubby and I are obsessed – please, no judgement haha.