A few weeks ago, the picture above popped up on my Instagram feed.
I don't know about you, but when I see this picture - I see a cute baby girl enjoying a little treat. I see a collection of images posted online by a mum who loves her little girl and thinks she's the cutest thing going, and wants to show her off to the world.
Much like I myself do on a pretty much daily basis via Instagram. Much like many of us new mums do. Its the most natural thing in the world, particularly as a first time mother, to be in awe of every little thing your baby does and want to share your favourite images of them.
But the mother here is not a normal, every day person - she is a celebrity of sorts. She is Imogen Thomas - former Miss Wales who had her 15 minutes of fame on Big Brother a few years back and became almost a household name following the public outing of her relationship with a certain married footballer and the super-injuction that followed.
And so - she has a higher number of Instagram followers than most people, and they are not people she knows in real life - they are "fans" in a way I suppose, perfect strangers who follow her because they're interested in her rather than because they know her.
I became interested in Imogen Thomas because she was pregnant at the same time as me - I also developed more of an interest in former Playboy girlfriend Holly Madison and Shakira for the same reason, when you see famous people with bumps growing at the same rates as yours for some reason it makes me more interested in them - so I followed Imogen on Instagram and like to see pictures of her cute little daughter who is just a couple of weeks older than Tyne.
So I saw this picture - I thought "Awww...how cute"...and I got ready to move on with my day.
Until I noticed the comment thread below the picture....
First up, a comment from imsimonoakley23 - some guy who thinks he has the right to question Imogen on whether or not her daughter should be eating the ice cream at her age.
This annoyed me a little bit....and then I scrolled down further...
LaurenCross89 - pictured with what I assume is her own child, who also appears to be a very young baby - commenting with "Just fill your baby with sugar why don't u #no1mum"
THIS annoys the living daylights out of me!!!
One mother attacking another mother for their choices.
One mother thinking themselves superior to another for the choices that they make for their baby.
One mother thinking that they have the right to judge another mother and hurl insults at them because they have a different view point on something.
WHY?!!! Why do people like LaurenCross89 think that it is acceptable for them to force their opinions onto other mothers?!
Ok, ice cream is full of sugar - yes. But this is a photograph - it's a little snapshot of a single moment in somebodys day. This photo does not indicate that Imogen Thomas is shoving ice cream down her childs throat constantly and "filling her full of sugar".
It is Imogen Thomas' call on when she chooses to give ice cream to her child - I am sure this was just a lick or two, I highly doubt there is any danger imposed on this child from a taste of ice cream.
So what makes people like these think that its ok to call other mothers out on what THEY think is wrong?!
Since having Tyne, I have constantly found myself made to feel inferior by other mothers for the choices I make...and it is NOT acceptable.
Why, when they become mothers, do some women automatically assume that every choice they make for their child is the right for EVERYBODY?! Why do they judge other people for doing things differently and think them a lesser parent for going another route?
Here are just few examples of instances where I have faced the collective I refer to as The Mummy Mafia:
1. My Birth Choice
I am a BAD mummy because....I chose to have an elective c section.
The Mummy Mafia say...."Natural birth is best!", "Why would anybody choose to have major surgery?!", "Are you too posh to push?"....etc
I say....I have my reasons for wanting an elective c section, and they have nothing to do with being "too posh to push". I have crippling anxiety issues and my main phobia is death. My fear, like most fears, is not a rational one - and in my mind a c-section in an operating theatre feels far more controlled and safe than a natural birth. Particularly after I had read some rather harrowing statistics about people with my medical condition dying during childbirth.
I do not care how many people tell me that the statistics show c sections to be more of a risk - my mind thinks otherwise. I have the right in this country to give birth by c section and I exercised that right. And it was the right choice for me and my baby.
My body, my baby, my choice - BACK OFF.
2. Formula Feeding
I am a BAD mummy because....I did not breast feed.
The Mummy Mafia say...."Breast is best!", and my personal favourite from the Mafia Members who like to think they're being supportive of people who make alternative choices but are actually just as bad as the rest ... "Its your choice but obviously nobody can argue that breast milk is best for baby...."
I say...Actually, in my case at least, you are very very wrong.
My breast milk - contaminated with all of the many different kinds of medication I have to take on a daily basis - would be like administering poison to my baby. My breast is most certainly NOT best. And this is, I'm sure, the case for a lot of other people - so please think a little harder before you go around making sweeping general statements like these. They are not true for everybody.
And regardless - how to feed a baby is a personal choice. I realise that breast feeding is difficult but it annoys me a little that formula feeders are made to feel inferior - its fine to state that you are a proud breast feeder, but to state that you are a proud formula feeder is met by a barrage of criticism. And why should it be? My formula fed baby is nourished, he is gaining weight at the correct rate, I am paying good money to keep him well fed - why should I feel guilty that the milk isn't coming out of me?
Truth be told, I don't feel at all guilty - I just feel fed up of being expected to support breast feeding and just quietly accept that the same support doesn't exist for formula feeders.
I mean - for goodness sake, even major high street retailers such as Boots think that they have the right to judge mothers who don't breast feed by not allowing you to collect points on formula - why on earth do BOOTS get to judge me?!!!
My body, my baby, my choice - BACK OFF.
I am a BAD mummy because....I started weaning before 6 months, and I didn't do baby led. AND....shock horror ....I am NOT making my own purees!!! *cue dramatic music*
The Mummy Mafia say...."Baby led weaning is better for baby", "Babies should be able to call the shots on weaning", "All babies should be eating home cooked food from the start"
I say....Nobody knows my baby better than I do. I know when he's tired. I know when he's not feeling well. And I know when he's hungry and when his bottles aren't enough for him any more.
I trust my instincts. I don't like the idea of baby led weaning and that is my choice to make.
As for making my own purees - I started off doing this. I made pear puree - it took 45 minutes and tons of pears to make a tiny amount. I then tried carrot puree - 11 carrots and one teeny weeny bowl of carrot mush later - I looked at an Ella's Kitchen pouch and discovered it contained exactly the same thing I'd just sweated over making - 100% carrot, 0% everything else.
So yes - from now on, I'll be using those pouches. Why do I need to make my own when they contain the exact same things and one is a lot less hassle than the other?!
My body, my baby, my choice - BACK OFF.
So to sum up - I just really think its time that we all started to concentrate more on looking after our own children to the very best of our ability.
Do what you think is right for you, bring them up the way you want to. But for gods sake don't preach to other mothers and don't assume that YOUR way of doing things is best for everybody else.
When you are judging another mother for a choice she is making - I can absolutely GUARANTEE you that there will be something that YOU do that SHE thinks is wrong too.
All any of us can do is what is best for us and our kids - support other mothers in their choices, embrace their differences and accept their choices.
I may not agree with the choices that YOU make as a mother, but I support your right to make those choices and I wish you the best with them.
Have you been on the receiving end of Mummy Mafia criticism? What are your thoughts on mothers judging each others choices? As always, I'd love to hear from you!
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An eclectic blogger, blogging about a miss -mash of miss matched ideas piecing together one blog post at time. From mummy things to beauty you will find it all here.