When I had my first child 16 years ago, I was thrilled. After four miscarriages, the fact that I could finally hold my gorgeous son in my arms was a miracle.
I loved being pregnant, but I was also terrified that something would go wrong. I controlled some of this fear by planning the perfect nursery and researching the best products for my new baby. Every decision, from what stroller to buy or the outfit to bring my son home from the hospital in, felt as crucial to his well being as deciding to leave my job and becoming a stay-at-home mom. I was a tad obsessed.
Now that my son was finally here, I was relieved, grateful, and so happy. But I was also insecure about my mothering abilities.
Those first few weeks home, it could take me over an hour to just change and dress Tom. I started cursing all of the sweet baby clothes it took me months to pick out because those darn snaps were not at all easy to master. I was also nursing, so my day was spent feeding, burping, changing, and repeating the process over and over.
My husband worked long hours, and I hadn’t made any mom friends at first. I was lonely and needed adult contact, but I barely had time to take a shower, never mind getting outside and using my brand new stroller and all the other baby gear I had lovingly picked out.
It was no small feat that first day I finally had it together enough to put Tom in the carriage and take him out for a stroll. I stopped at the library hoping to find another new mom to talk to or at least exchange a greeting with. I wanted the company of someone who didn’t spit up all over me. I was so glad to be out of the house and join the living. I even picked up a few books on child development to take out. I was starting to feel that maybe I could do this stay-at-home-mom thing after all. I smiled at the librarian as I checked out the books, feeling pretty darn proud of myself.
That lasted until I started to leave and overheard her tell her colleague that she was tired of seeing all these stay-at-home moms with their fancy new baby carriages. Part of me wanted to turn back and explain all we had gone through, and why I was taking such joy in my new role. But I didn’t. I just went home, feeling very foolish and more alone than I did before I went out.
Feeling judged as a new mom can be as common as diaper rash and teething. It seems everyone has an opinion on how to raise a child or be a mom. According to The National Motherhood Decisions Survey conducted by Mom Central and Similac, 9 out of 10 moms feel negatively judged on their parenting decisions. It’s a growing problem that needs to stop.
That is where The Sisterhood of Motherhood comes in. Similac launched the campaign in January 2015 to encourage parents to support each other’s parenting choices, even the ones we may not understand or agree with. The idea is that we are all working toward the same goal of raising happy and healthy babies.
This message is poignantly conveyed in the #EndMommyWars documentary. This new film, directed by award-winning director Cynthia Wade, follows seven new moms who have different parenting styles. Each of the women share honestly how they have both judged, and been judged, by other moms. The goal of the film is to show that there is more than one right way to raise a baby and that we need to support each other’s decisions.
Watching the film brought me right back to those first few months with Tom, when everything was so new. I wanted the best for my son, and I vacillated between being 100% sure I was doing the right thing for him to being just as convinced that my choices were scarring him for life.
I also remembered how I started to feel more confident as a mom when I met my group of mom friends and had a community who supported me, whether they agreed with my choices or not. As Jennifer, one of the women in the film, says, “There is nothing more satisfying to hear from another mom than you are a great mom… that is sometimes all you need to hear.”
Similac partnered with bloggers such as me for its Sisterhood of Motherhood Program. As part of this program, I received compensation for my time. Similac believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Similac’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.