By Brittany Rust
When I was pregnant with Roman, I had every intention of breastfeeding; it was something I really wanted to do as a mama. I never imagined what would end up happening after I gave birth to my precious little boy that would throw my plans completely off track.
I gave birth to Roman on a Friday night and that Sunday, I was excited to go home with my little man. When we did finally pull into the garage with our little bundle of joy, I felt sick so Ryan made me lay down for a few hours to get some much-needed rest. After a bit of resistance, I finally caved and took a 3-hour nap.
When I woke up I felt much better and enjoyed a bbq on our back porch with my sweet family. Later that night, Ryan, Roman, and I excitedly (but also nervously) settled into the bedroom for our first night at home.
That's when I took a bad turn. Within a half hour, I went from a slightly icky feeling to an 8 on the pain scale. I was in excruciating pain and knew something was wrong. My husband and I made the call to go to the ER and with tears in my eyes, I said goodbye to my newborn son as he looked up at me with those baby blues.
I ended up spending the next 3 days in ICU for an ovarian blood clot. More than the physical pain, though, was the emotional bottom I hit and shame I experienced. Due to the blood clot and blood thinners I would have to be on for several months, I would not able to breastfeed. This wrecked me with shame and guilt.
One thing I dreaded as a new mom was the question I would inevitably get about breastfeeding. Because the answer was, "No, I wasn't." With each question I felt I needed to defend myself; to explain why I wasn't breastfeeding my son. Mom-shaming was a fear for me and I didn't want to be on the receiving end of any of it.
It's so sad that mom-shaming is even a thing. Social media certainly makes it worse because a woman can judge other women they don't even know from the non-confrontational safety of their home. Honestly, most moms likely believe they aren't doing anything inherently wrong; they probably rationalize they are just "helping" or "offering advice." How devastating one comment can be for a mom, though.
Mamas, you are responsible for your child; not another's. Obviously, if harm is being done to a child or injustice is being committed, say something! But to judge another mom for not doing something the way you think it should be done is wrong. Nor is it ok to talk about one mom to others--it's gossip. These and all of the above tear down and cause harm.
If you're going to have a critical spirit and call others out, you can expect it to come right back to you. Truth is, women don't want to be friends with other women who are critical. This world is already hard on us, and often we are too hard on ourselves as a parent, so the last thing we need is other mamas making it worse. Making us feel devalued.
Words are powerful. YOUR words pack more punch than you can imagine.
Your words can either build up or tear down. Your words to a fellow mama can either rip at the heart of a tender-loving mom or encourage a weary mother. Place yourself in the shoes of a recipient. How would it impact your heart to have someone criticize you as a parent? Pretty crappy, right?
In contrast, Proverbs 16:24 illustrates the good that your words can bring.
God created you (and your mouth) to worship Him and edify others. He didn't create you to gossip, hurt, or lie, so don't act outside of this! Worship him and love others as you were created to do.
Let's be people who uplift, support, and honor people. Furthermore, and above all else, may our words be pleasing to God, whom we worship and adore.
If you are a mama who is hurting after someone shared critical words about you, know that you are more than their words. You are valuable in the eyes of the Father, and you are worth more than anything to your little one(s). Shake off those words and remind yourself of your identity in Christ. In doing so, you also show your children how to do the same and rise above the criticism of others.
Friend, you are so beautiful and a wonderful mom. Surely in the eyes of your child, ain't no mama like the one they got!
Let's support each other on this motherhood journey. It's not easy, which is why we need each other all the more to be cheerleaders--celebrating the wins and loving one another in the hardship.
How will you encourage another mom today?