If you have a c-section you just were not strong enough to cope with birth.
If you have a natural, home birth you put your baby’s life at risk.
If you breastfeed you are exposing yourself.
If you formula feed you are causing your child lifelong damage.
If you make your own baby food you clearly have too much time on your hands.
If you buy brought baby food you get publicly shamed.
If you put your children in daycare you clearly don’t want to look after them.
If you stay at home with your children you have no ambition.
If you have a night out with your husband, your children will require counselling (even though they are asleep).
If you never go out, your children have clearly taken over your life.
If you give your child chocolate at 10am they will get diabetes.
If you don’t give them any chocolate ever, you are depriving them and setting them up for lifelong eating disorders.
If your child falls into a gorilla enclosure at the zoo you will receive hate mail, death threats and told you should have your children taken off you.
If you experience the worst horror you ever imagine as a parent – seeing your child snatched into the water – you will not only have to deal with grief so insurmountable that I personally cannot even comprehend it – you will also have to deal with a global backlash of judgement, hatred and condemnation of your parenting.
Where has the love and support gone?
I have pondered this a lot lately especially in light of recent events and the global, viral responses.
I am wondering what on earth is it going to take for this to stop?
A few weeks back my three year old locked himself in the bathroom. It happened so fast. He had only just got the art of going to the toilet on his own but was getting frustrated at the time and he slammed the door before I had come in. Somehow the small wooden lock clicked in. After a minute or two I realised there was no way I could get him out and while trying to coax him to unlock it himself my son just got more and more worked up. Then he turned on the hair dryer.
The Hair Dryer.
My brain went into overdrive. I had all sorts of images flash through my mind. I called the Fire Service and they arrived in minutes and freed him. It could have been a very different story. I was racked with guilt and felt like the worst parent on the the planet. Imagine if that was a story that went viral. Imagine if that story would have had a different ending? Would I have people telling me that my child should have been removed from my care. That I should have been locked in the bathroom…..
I shared this story on Facebook.
I was lucky.
There was only love and support and other mothers sharing similar experiences.
I didn’t feel so alone.
I didn’t feel like a total failure.
It could have gone a very, very different way.
This week two other bloggers Toni Hammer and Melissa Fenton have also expressed their concerns for the indescribable shaming that has gone on. Melissa’s viral post begging for compassion for the Greves family had over half a million likes.
Just as these bloggers have expressed – my heart also breaks for the Greves family who lost their beautiful son. A parents worst nightmare. In what will be the blackest of nights for them I can only but pray that the hatred stops and that only love and support flourishes for them – when they need it more than ever.
So I second the pleas of these bloggers.
In a world where blaming and judgement is rife let’s unite against that – parenting is hard enough without it.
We all have things going on. We all make mistakes. We all struggle and we all cry at 3am.
Reach out. Step away from the keyboard. Take someones hand when they really, really need it.
xxx Dr Julie Bhosale