The media seems to spend a lot of time pitching mother against mother, putting us in boxes and labelling us. This feeds on all our insecurities that we’re not doing it right, that we have let down our children by not being perfect. And then, that guilt and insecurity leads us to turn on other mothers and get defensive ands judgemental. Which just makes the whole cycle worse. Just look at the comments below any online article about breastfeeding, it’s very rare for things not to get ugly, quickly.
Just think if we used all this energy to support each other instead. I personally had such great support from other mothers, a lot of that via the medium of Facebook. There were people there, some I hadn’t seen in real life for years, who knew just the moment to send me a reassuring message, to let me know that they understood, that they had been there too, that I wasn’t alone. And they may not have known, but it was messages like those that got me through some of the toughest times.
I understand that it can be hard to support other mothers sometimes, particularly in those first days where we are at out most vulnerable. You don’t want to feel like you’re pressuring, or patronising, don’t want to seem smug or judgemental, like you have all the answers. I understand that lots of new mothers feel like they get the wrong kind of support, and I have definitely felt like that at times.
I am a huge fan of The West Wing, and feel it covers pretty much anything you need to live a good life. One of my all time favourite scenes talks about finding yourself down a hole, and a friend jumps down in the hole with you, because they’ve been there before, and they know the way out. I discovered that there are actually many different ways out of the hole, and you need to find your own way, but at times it was really great to know that other people were down there with me! That’s what mother to mother support is all about, sharing a hole sometimes, and realising we’re never alone in this journey. So maybe I’ll just say “I’ve been down here before. I don’t know the right way out for you, but I have total faith that you will find it. And while you’re working it out I’m ok to stay here with you for a bit if you want. I brought tea.”