Please keep your opinions to yourselves, especially when it comes to how a woman chooses to feed her child
Everyone has been offered advice when they didn’t ask for it. Pregnant women seem to be beacons for unsolicited advice; from family, friends and oftentimes complete strangers. When one mom overheard such a situation taking place, she decided she’d had enough. “I just watched a stranger shame a total other stranger, who is by the way, like 10 months pregnant, in a freaking Starbucks.”
Rachel Hollis, who blogs at The Chic Site by Rachel Hollis was standing around waiting for her coffee when she saw two pregnant women notice each other and begin a conversation. She said the strangers started talking about their pregnancy and due dates, a familiar back and forth for the expectant mother.
Hollis said that’s when overheard one mother ask, “Oh did you nurse?” The other women answered that she’d only breastfed her first baby for a couple of weeks because it didn’t really work for her. She said that’s when she heard the other mother gasp and say accusingly, “You didn’t breastfeed? Oh, well, with this baby you definitely need to. You really need to work on that. I mean, this is your child’s health.”
Oh, hell no.
When I was six months pregnant with my first child, my boss, a man, asked me not if, but for how long I was planning to breastfeed. I sort of stammered that I wasn’t sure if I was even planning on it and he laid into me for a full ten minutes about how important breastfeeding is. At work. Without my soliciting his opinion about my body or my unborn child.
Hollis said she was so angry watching the interaction that she felt compelled to make a video for her 520,000+ blog followers and anyone else who would listen to say, “You are not allowed to tell anybody else how to live their life. How dare you.”
Mothers are our own worst critics, especially when it comes to all the ways we feel we are somehow failing our family. Most of us have experienced ‘mom guilt’ over something with our children. “Often times we’re beating ourselves up for 50 things,” Hollis said. “When you shame someone further, it only beats them down into the dust. It doesn’t make them feel like they can take anything on.”
“You don’t know her story, you don’t know how hard it is (…) Please, please, we are supposed to support each other and never more so than for another mom who is trying her best.” We couldn’t agree more. Motherhood is freaking hard. No one wants to hear all the things you think we are doing wrong; we just want people in our corner, whether you agree with our decisions or not, to simply say ‘you got this.’
Hollis’ parting advice is one we should all remember: “Your place as a fellow mom and a fellow woman is just to love and encourage her where she is.”