Maybe you’ve heard the news: Chrissy Teigen was spotted at dinner with her husband, John Legend, less than two weeks after giving birth to daughter Luna Simone—and the Internet promptly freaked out about it. Among the commentary: “Who wants to leave a one week old baby to go to a bar?” and “She’s hitting the streets already????”
As one of Teigen’s Twitter followers said, “Welcome to motherhood: the land of judgment.”
As a mom of three, I’m hardly considered a “new mom” anymore. But seeing as my oldest is only 4 years old, I remember those new-mom days well. I remember how overwhelmed I was at the generosity of others and how my front door was like a revolving door with everyone stopping over to see the new baby and to bring me a casserole.
I also remember all of the unsolicited advice I received while out and about with my new little baby. I remember how everyone freaked out when I showed up for my last semester of classes as an undergrad just a week after having my baby. Although people were appalled, nothing was going to stop me from earning my degree—not even giving birth.
I heard so many hateful things about how “babies need their mothers” and “you should be resting, not studying.” It was like everyone expected me to have a baby, become a hermit for three to five months and then rejoin society.
Honestly, I applaud Teigen for taking time to go out with her husband (who wasn’t the subject of nearly as much ire, might I add). Why, in a world where we applaud independent women and mothers who do everything and anything for their children, do we shame women who dare to take care of themselves, their marriages and their children?
I don’t understand our society’s obsession with shaming others, particularly new moms. Instead of encouraging and supporting them, we treat them like delicate little flowers that are going to blow away with the slightest breeze.
We give them unsolicited advice, thinking that we’re somehow helping—when instead we’re just making women feel like they’re hopeless at parenting. We show no mercy when it comes to bashing new moms and their decisions via Twitter and Facebook.
It’s time to encourage and support all moms, even those who choose to walk the path of motherhood a little differently than we might.
I do have some good news for Teigen: People might not be as critical by the time she has her second or third child. When I brought home my third child from the hospital six months ago, only three people stopped by to see the baby. The unsolicited advice had stopped, and I received just one casserole and a Papa John’s gift card—although, if I’m being honest, the gift card was my favorite gift.
Jessi Fearon is the writer behind the personal finance site The Budget Mama, where she writes about her family of five’s real life on a budget.