If you are a new mommy or someone who has been a mother for a few years now, you will be all too familiar with the frequent online wars over what the ‘right way’ is of raising a child.
There will be groupies who will call your skill sets the best – simply because they’re doing the same. Yet, many others will contradict your parenting style. While some feel pumping milk and freezing it for later use is the best possible way to feed the baby, others will swear by the boob that nourishes, pacifies and heals all at once. While stay- at-home moms swear by the advantages of a child who has such a mom, the working mother will bring out studies that prove their kids turn out to be less dependent.
Being a new mom myself, I have often been witness to such wars and it is quite a sad way of looking at something as wonderful as motherhood. I admit to having many a sleepless and depressed night thinking of how I’m not doing the right thing for my 11-month-old, after reading these arguments.
Which is why, I believe, this Canadian mom blogger’s acting on this issue comes at an apt time indeed. When Shauna Stewart-Douglas, vice president of a tech company in British Colombia, had a daughter three years back, she created a collection of online support groups for mothers to get help and information round the clock. Her network now spans across 4,000 moms just within Canada.
This year, she went a step further and did a photo shoot with mothers belonging to different schools of parenting. However, they were united by one thing – their crazy love for their babies.
And the photo shoot proves just that.
The Photo Shoot to End All Mommy Wars
Shot by professional photographer Vivian Kereki and inspired by a project by CT Working Moms (another group about working moms and parenting) on the subject of supportive motherhood, the photo series has received wide adulation for propagating a parenting journey that’s free of judgements.
After my daughter was born in 2012, I started an online support group for moms (on Facebook) based in Victoria, BC, Canada. The premise behind the group was to create a judgement-free space for moms to be able to reach out to each other 24/7. A year later, I came across the project by CT Working Moms and it perfectly matched the community we were building in Canada. They were excited that we wanted to create a Canadian version of this worthy message and a couple months later, we launched our photo project.Shauna Stewart-Douglas
Bigger Issues Plaguing Mommies
However, Shauna realises that for many moms around the world, choosing a soother or no soother, a stroller or a baby sling, pales in comparison to some of the all- encompassing realities they are faced with on a day to day basis.
“Adequate employment, quality healthcare, a safe and equitable living and work environment, education, not to mention access to food, water and shelter – for mothers facing prejudice and unsafe societies, listening to issues often raised in ‘mommy wars’ must feel alienating,” she says.
She feels building a strong community based on a million small acts of constructive effort pays in the long run. “When we practise curiosity and compassion on the relatively ‘small’ things (soothers, diapers), it can help to pave the way to foster further understanding and unified action on the really big things (gender disparity and human rights to name just a few).”
Well, one doesn’t have to fully understand another mom’s story to have a keen insight. By simply understanding that every woman wants the best for her child, we can take down walls and build bridges of any kind.
(Runa Mukherjee Parikh has written on women, culture, social issues, education and animals, with The Times of India, India Today and IBN Live. When not hounding for stories, she can be found petting dogs, watching sitcoms or travelling. A big believer in ‘animals come before humans’, she is currently struggling to make sense of her Bengali-Gujarati lifestyle in Ahmedabad.)