“Mommy Shaming” is not a new topic and while it is something we do actually talk about collectively, individually we often stew in silence when it happens to us.
When Beth Bloster posted an innocent photo of her adorably naked 19-month-old the Mommy Police came for her hard. Shaming is a phenomenon that begins well before we become mothers and it's something that makes me think twice before sharing something about my son or posting anything personal lest I be “judged.” I fully recognize that oftentimes I’m projecting or anticipating judgment rather than actually being judged but, nonetheless, the culture and fear of scrutiny and the ease to critique, particularly online, makes many of us police ourselves or not share at all.
The inimitable teacher Brene Brown, quoted in this Romper essay, says that "Shame hates when we reach out and tell our story. It hates having words wrapped around it — it can't survive being shared. Shame loves secrecy. When we bury our story, the shame metastasizes." Oh, how I love this message.
I do believe I'm as sick as my secrets and that we as a culture grow sicker in silence. While some forums might feel better to share different kinds of experiences or opinions, that's an individual choice and we all should be able to post meaningful memories like the one Beth did: something carefree, unadulterated and 100% innocent.
Essays like these reaffirm my commitment to thinking about, talking about and shifting the way we think about motherhood, ourselves and each other. Sharing our true stories lies at the heart of the mission for TBD Mama — sharing information and experience with a community of individuals trying to navigate this motherhood journey with self-determination and support.