The other day I read a blog post written by a very pregnant woman about why pregnancy sucks so much ass. I laughed and snorted and commiserated because I too was a miserable wretch of a pregnant lady. I scrolled through the comments to give an “Amen!” and a “Me too!”
I came across several comments that stopped my laughter and made my heart hurt. Comments from mamas who had experienced loss after loss, or who had babies born way to early, spending weeks in the NICU. My whole body hurt for these mamas, but I also felt anger. These mamas were calling the author out for being selfish, shaming her for speaking out about her miserable experience. The Self-Righteous Mom Army had arrived.
It’s the same old story: anytime someone writes a piece about their experience with parenthood, someone with an opposing opinion launches an attack! When did mothers become such a bunch of self-righteous assholes? The same 5 battles play out over and over again, and to tell you the truth, even after all of the fighting … NOTHING HAS CHANGED. It’s like a civil fucking war up in here, with a bunch of very pissed off people and no end in sight.
Battle #1: The Pregnancy Wars
On Day 7 past my due date with my second-born, I posted a pathetically sad complaint on Facebook, to which someone replied, “You know, you are very lucky to be pregnant; some people would give anything to be in your situation right now.”
I was taken aback. I was ashamed for complaining. I felt like I didn’t even deserve to be pregnant! Then I got mad. Does the fact that someone else can’t get pregnant change the fact that I wanted to hurl myself off a fucking cliff during my pregnancy? No. Pain is pain motherfuckers, so let me have mine and you can have yours. Now pass the goddamn pickles.
Battle #2: The Birth Wars
“I spent 196 hours in labor with little Timmy, and finally birthed him naturally through my glorious vagina into a 93.75 degree tub where my husband and 6 children were waiting to catch him and eat my placenta. No matter what, you should refuse the drugs because they will harm your baby.”
“I had an emergency c-section due to complications in labor; I was really heartbroken because I wanted to do it naturally and now I feel like a failure as a woman.”
Whatever your path to having a baby might be, guess what? YOU HAVE A FREAKING BABY! Who gives a shit how Jenny down the street had hers? Feel free to eat that placenta or work through your shame in therapy; the experience is yours forever and not to be changed by anyone else’s, so please, leave your baggage at the door.
Battle #3: The Breastfeeding Wars
I’d like to propose that people just go ahead and do what they have to fucking do without the army of self-righteous mom-tyrants waiting in the wings to bash them with their ideals, sad stories or know-it-all smirks.
Battle #4: The Sleeping Wars
“My baby slept through the night by 8 weeks! What? Your baby is 9 months old and still getting up three times a night? You must not have gotten him on a schedule early enough — that always causes problems.”
“We co-sleep with all three of our children so they feel safe and well-adjusted out in the world. What? You put your baby in a crib the day you brought her home? Mmmm, I hope she doesn’t develop an attachment disorder.”
I’m not sure why this battle is even happening. What are we getting out of it? Will my life suddenly take on new meaning if I convince an attachment parent that she is out of her ever-loving mind for co-sleeping with three children? I don’t give two fucks who is sleeping with whom, as long as my ass is asleep.
Battle #5: The Other Wars
Food Allergies. Vaccinations. Screen Time. Sports. Cussing. Homeschooling. Body After Baby. If there is more than one opinion that can be had, prepare for battle and look the fuck out because it’s gonna get U-G-L-Y. When the mentality of “you have no right to speak because I believe this, and I am right” prevails in our mom culture, what is left for us but shame, suffering, self-righteousness, competition, cattiness, judgment and misery?
It’s time to wave the white flag and put the weapons down. Each mother has a story that is her own, be it perfect, tragic or somewhere in between. Our words have the power to lift someone up or drag them down, and these so-called “Mommy Wars” are a big fucking waste of amazing feminine power. Next time you’re annoyed as shit by someone else’s story, make a choice: will your words be weapons or will they be tools? Just let her have her story, even if you don’t like it.
I am not immune to The Mommy Wars; I’ve engaged in a battle or two, but they make me feel sick, and I’m tired of wanting to be right at the expense of feeling like an asshole. Join me?