Friday, September 23, 2011

Why is Motherhood a Competition?

Why is everything about motherhood a competition? Even before having the baby, being pregnant and having the baby is a competition.

While I was pregnant I was extremely ill, for the whole pregnancy. To the point where I had to take drugs to help me though the whole day, AND night. It was exhausting. In the first trimester i thought i was going to die. I threw up so much that i lost too much weight. I was the smallest i had been for a long time. I went from about 52 kilos dropping to about 42!

It got better from about 6 months onwards. I started to feel a little human again. I still threw up everyday, and sometimes at night, but no where near as bad.

Then came time to have little G. And I can honestly say my birthing experience was fantastic. I look back on it and smile at how lucky I am. Walking down the hall of a birthing suite is frightening. All you hear is screaming, there are mother's to be pacing around wanting to get the baby the frick out! Not to mention midwives and doctors running around. When I got to my room, i was pooing myself. I was so scared of how this baby was going to come out! I had thought about this moment for a long long time. You can't help it when you are pregnant. This was the moment. After reading so many birthing stories online, i was finally having my own. I was having quite a good time, I was talking to my midwives, eating those lovely chocolate caramel eclairs to keep my energy up. I was even burning an essential oil i made, specially for the birth. Don't get me wrong, at one point, I was sucking down that gas like no tomorrow, but the truth is, the pain comes and goes. I had a shower trying to help ease the pain of contractions when one of them hit me so hard, I knew I needed a epidural ASAP. After that I went back to being calm, and chatty.

A neighbour that I know who is a mum, was so rude, and made me feel so bad that I had such a good labour, only 6.5 hours, told me out right, she hated women like me. This is not the only time this has happened. I dropped the baby weight the same week, while in hospital. It's not like I did anything. I wasn't up to it, I'd had stitches etc. I just ate and breastfed the baby the whole time there. I'm just lucky I guess. I was now told, by another mother, that I had to eat well if I'm breast feeding. I was very offended. The one thing I do well is eat! I love food. I also like to walk and do yoga or meditation sometimes. I think I'm very healthy. I'm not a fitness freak at all, but I choose to look after myself through walking. I find it wonderful for mental health as well.

Why is it that when you look after yourself, your told you are not healthy? I pride on looking after myself and my husband. I strive to make us healthy balanced meals most of the time and enjoy doing so! Of coarse I love to bake, so a cupcake or slice of banana bread doesn't go astray either! I personally think it is all about balance. What's life with out icing??? I am sick to death of making excuses and not being able to be honest and be myself, for fear of being so harshly judged.

Don't even get me started on the whole breast feeding vs formula. We all know how important breastfeeding is, that is much better than formula. I breastfeed little G, but every now and then she gets formula. For me breastfeeding was excruciating in the first 4 weeks. I was crying all the time in agony.

I would rather go through labour over and over if it meant I didn't have to feel that pain again! Now it doesn't hurt at all, but it can be tedious. Sometimes the baby will sit there for 2 hours feeding! I feel chained to the couch. I find it difficult to go out with her, fearing that she'll need to eat, when I can't feed her. I'm not comfortable feeding her in public, mostly cause other people make you feel dirty. I would always cover up, but haven't managed to get the whole public feeding down pat yet anyway. So I take a formula bottle with me just in case. So far we haven't needed to use it. I have found the mother's room's in Westfields' a God send!

Why do we always have to compete with one another?

Why can't we just support each other, and be happy with our children's achievements, no matter how small?


  1. Great post Leah!
    I hate the competition... I was very skeptical about joining up to the mothers group in my area, fearing it would be very competitive. It's not! There are some really great people there!!!
    So far, I haven't really come across much competition, but I know I will...
    I remember in hospital before my milk came in, Abi was quite unsettled and I was offered to give her a tiny (20ml's) bottle of formula. The nurse was very tentitive when asking me... Why the hell not! Lets get this baby fed and happy!!! Aprently so many people don't see it that way.
    I am nearly ready to supplement Abi with a bottle of formula to help give me a break, so I totally see where your coming from.

    I too dropped the weight within a really short time (I'm under pre-baby weight... Now to get to wedding weight! 3-4 more kg's!!!) and although I know some people have been a little funny about it, my good friends have been very happy for me and only praised how good I look.

    You are doing such a wonderful job raising little G, and I really enjoy reading your blog posts. Keep it up and who cares what people say... Cut negativity from your life I say!!!
    And keep up with the cakes and slices!!! Now only if I could motivate myself to make some of your scrummy cakes!!

  2. awww thank you so much Sammie :D

  3. Honey I agree with everything you meann(ohhh man, especially about the breastfeeding, my milk came in like a mofo and my lil one couldn't latch which led to lots of damage and pain for me until I discovered nipple shields, and now they're healed, my milk has regulated n it's all good), it really does upset me that we, as women, don't support each other. What happened to sisterhood? I can't stand women being catty to each other, put your pettyness or insecurities aside ladies, we should all have each other's backs and want only good things for others! If a woman wants my opinions regarding motherhood issues I'll give them otherwise I'm happpy to just support and love her.

    I say 'howwonderful your labour was somewhat 'enjoyable' and that 'losing' baby weight isn't something you will struggle with - take every blessing you can :)

  4. I think other peoples comments often stem from jealousy. I have also lost the baby weight easily all 3 times now as breastfeeding speeds up my metabolism so much I am always at my skinniest when doing it. Look a lot of this is down to genetics but it is also due to the fact I am not eating crap most of the time.

    I recently was guilty of telling a fellow mum that I hated her because according to her her baby had been sleeping through the night since she was 2 weeks old. I am going on 8 + months of sleep deprivation with my non sleeper & that is the last thing I wanted to hear. Still, she could tell I was just joking & simply desperately jealous of her good fortune. We were able to laugh about it together.

    We should do more supporting and less competing with one another that's for sure.

  5. wow darling how fantastic well done

  6. Thanks for the comment CC11, I agree what happened to sisterhood??

    I understand it is jealousy Aneets, at least you could joke around with your friend. I wish that the mum's I am talking of were able to be like that :(

    Thanks Anon, I know who you are! LOL, love you xo

  7. Great post, Leah. It sucks to have to deal with this. Try not to take such comments to heart. They say everything about the person making the comment & absolutely nothing about you. & I agree - what did happen to sisterhood?? Love love, you're a star.
    Heidi xo
    p.s. YES, breastfeeding terrifies me! completely going to do it (touch wood it all works out)... but, ouch.

  8. Oh dear! Imagine what would possess someone to be so rude. I'm sorry to hear that it is so competitive out there. It is really offputting and I wonder if these people realise how silly they are being?

  9. Oh, Leah! Now that a few of my older friends and cousins have had children, I've become so flabbergasted at how unsupportive other women can be. I also think it's truly damaging that people don't talk about how difficult breastfeeding is, because almost all the friends/family I referred to had troubles with it, and had to struggle with feelings of guilt and "not being good enough" that were so, so incorrect and they shouldn't have had to feel that way. I think it's fantastic that you got this off your chest. You keep doing what you know is right for you, and HECK YEAH to icing and slices! most of the time, when peopel get puritanical and obsessive about other people's food choices, it means that they themselves have problems with disordered eating. You just keep being your healthy, balanced self! xo

    P.S. Sorry if this is rambly :P

  10. Thank you dear Heidi!

    Lorraine I think that mostly they are very unhappy with themselves!

    Thank you Hannah, not rambly at all!

  11. Thanks for this post! I think you brought up many good points that needed to be said. :)

    xo Emily

  12. You have become such a fabulous mother Leah. I knew you would remember I told you it would come naturally and it did.
    Fabulous post.

    Mwa xx


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