12 December 2017

Give a Mum a Break…

I’m a first-time mum to an amazing, funny and bold little fifteen month old boy. Becoming a mum was something I’d always dreamed of, but my journey to reach motherhood was a tough one. I experienced challenges with infertility and pregnancy loss, which too many women know too well. Every day I can honestly say that I look at my little guy and I’m thankful. Even on those tough days when I have no idea what to do, I know that I’m fortunate to be experiencing this chaos. I know motherhood will not be an easy ride, and sometimes it may push my limits, but I’m ready for this challenge. I have always been ready!

Nonetheless, there is one thing that still bugs me, since the day my son was born. I was warned by my other mummy friends, but I guess I never appreciated the impact it would have on me.

What is it you say? Getting my baby to sleep through the night? Dealing with ever-changing eating habits? Socialising? Managing the baby with high temps, flues and other ailments? Explosive nappies?

Nope it’s none of the above…

It’s the critics! You know them. You’ve probably dealt with several of them!

From the very beginning of my son’s arrival I faced them. I had an elective C-section due to several risks that I won’t go into right now.  However, it must have been only a week after I returned home from hospital when I was asked: “Do you feel like you missed out on a real birth experience?”

What? I mean isn’t holding your healthy baby for the first time the ultimate birthing experience? Also, what is a loaded question like that supposed to do to a mum who is not only learning to navigate motherhood for the first time, but is also recovering from major surgery, with hormones surging all over the place.

It doesn’t stop there. Then there are the questions surrounding breastfeeding versus formula, or even mum versus dad responsibilities. Suddenly, you’re not just learning to be a mum, you’re also in constant defence mode as you try to excuse your way out of the social pressures and expectations that are being forced upon you.

As your baby develops you then start being questioned on his development stages. “Is he smiling yet?” “Is he crawling yet?” “Has he started walking?” “Is he playing Beethoven’s fifth with his eyes closed?”  It’s a constant pressure, and whilst we know our babies all develop differently, naturally these start to conjure question marks around our baby’s development.

Now, I’m facing that next dreaded question. “When are you going to give your little boy a sibling?”

My standard answer is that I’m ‘One and Done’.  Mostly because I don’t know if I want to go through that struggle to conceive, the anxiety of a high-risk pregnancy, the risks of being a forty plus mother and more. As well as this, my little boy is perfect, and our family balance is just right.  This may all change, but right now there is no deciding factor.  But why do I really need to explain myself.

Regardless, the critics don’t stop …

“Don’t you feel selfish not even trying for a brother or sister for him?” Or, “What if he resents you when he’s older?”  Gee, thanks for the future guilt trip.

“The second pregnancy is always easier.”  Says who? Did you specialise in my fertility and gynaecological issues?

“What if he’s lonely, or spoilt, or entitled, or selfish?” Thanks for the pep talk around my parenting skills.

The reality is that none of this is anyone else’s business but mine and my husband’s. However, it still stops me in my tracks, makes me question if I am making the right decisions for my family – and it shouldn’t. 

No one has the right to question or judge another if they have not walked in their shoes. We need to stand up for those mums out there, as many are already struggling with this amazing but challenging journey. To guilt them on top of that struggle is just plain unfair.
So to all the mum, mums-to-be, friends of mums, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and even those neighbours or strangers walking by, I say this: “Just but out! Give a mum a break. Instead of asking questions, why not congratulate her? This mum has grown a little human inside her belly. Every day that mum and her partner nurture that little human as best they possibly can, with the resources that they have. Give her a smile of encouragement, tell her she is doing a good job, and stop with the questions. She will proudly tell you everything about that little human you need to know. That’s it. End of story. No further questions needed!

By Rachel McGrath


1 comment

  1. Well said. Love this post thanks for sharing - we need to stand behind us mummies


Blog Layout Designed by pipdig