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Every mom is different, with a different experience of pregnancy, childbirth, early motherhood, and other things. Why question her normal?
For the longest time ( 2 years to be exact), I have been meaning to write about the unsaid “norms of normal” that make rounds in our society.
After delivering a child, I thought the most frequently asked questions would be something like “how are you?” “How does it feel?” “How’s the little one been doing” etc. But, surprisingly, the most asked questions were two:
Was it a normal delivery or a cesarean?
Is the baby on breast feed or formula?
Now, the problem here is not asking these questions. The problem lies in trying to judge a new mom on the basis of the answers that she gives.
I had a cesarean delivery. And it was normal for me. All deliveries are normal. Each body reacts differently to pregnancy and my recovery, weight loss and the entire journey was super smooth. So, by the time I hit the 45 day mark post delivery, I was fitting into my regular pre pregnancy jeans without having done any exercises and without starving myself. This was my journey. Its not good or bad. It’s just how my journey has been.
The thing that surprised me was, a lot of people (especially women) judged me for having lost the weight, came to the conclusion that since I have lost my pregnancy weight and I had a cesarean, I definitely am not breast feeding my child and hence, I am a “modern” mother with low parenting values.
This is an unsaid phenomenon in the society and I have faced it many a times be it at social gatherings, friends you bump into, relatives you meet etc.
Another amazing thing that I get is, people questioning my decision to have a single child. To substantiate their intrusive questions, they often end up telling me: but you had the baby through operation, you don’t even know what delivering a child means. So, you can have more kids!
Bravo! What logic. And I get this A LOT. I used to be confused in the beginning but when I finally realised the stupidity of the whole thing, I started answering back in my own way.
A couple of months ago, I was at a party where I met a new mother and I walked upto her and asked how she has been doing and how’s the baby been doing. Well, to tell you the truth, I wanted to tickle the cheeks of the infant (my kid is now 2 and I miss those early months).
As we started talking, she shared with me how she has been judged for opting a cesarean and how women judge her for feeding formula to the child to the extent of calling her up and WhatsApping her their kid’s pictures when they were infants just to show how “healthy” they were because they were exclusively breastfed.
I wonder how fair is it to judge a new mother who is figuring things out, is exhausted and probably going through postpartum depression, or feeling exceptionally low, on the basis of the choices she makes.
I wonder how justified it is to judge a woman who has been trying to feed her baby all night, is taking medication to increase the breast milk supply, is super exhausted, has backache from feeding and to take a break decides to give a formula feed to the child. And even if she is not exhausted, she is not having lactation or latching issues, she just needs a break for a while. Who is anyone to judge her?
We have no right to judge anyone for their choices. Why I had a cesarean is nobody’s business. How I take care of my child is nobody’s business, how many kids i choose to have is nobody’s business.
To strike a conversation and ask questions or to just suggest something or share experiences is normal and that’s how I have learned a lot of things in my initial days. Frankly, I have come across some amazing women from all across the globe and have one of the best gang of girls who give very realistic and practical information and advices. But, a lot of people and women to be specific, try to get information for the sole purpose of judging a person and demeaning them by devaluing their choices an act, that is morally and ethically wrong.
As women we go through a lot physically and mentally when we have a baby. It’s a roller coaster journey and each woman has her circumstances and choices. We need to be more inclusive and less intolerant about women who don’t fit a particular mould of a mother. I joined back work in 6 months post delivery and a lot of women judged me for having gone back to work “so soon”. There are so many judgements and so little compassion around the choices a woman makes that its a bit disheartening, to say the least.
What a person is going through, we don’t know. How much the person is trying, we don’t know. Who has what medical conditions, we don’t know. Who is going through mental health issues like postpartum depression, we do not know.
So, stop judging people by just looking at them. In fact, we should stop judging people completely. To each to it’s own, right? Let’s respect people and their choices even if they don’t fit a particular social mould.
First published here.
Image source: pixabay
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