“I promise to teach my babies to love your babies. In a world where they can be anything they want to be, I will first teach them to be kind. I will teach them to love their neighbor. I will teach them to be an advocate. A friend. A voice for the voiceless.
This year, we’ve seen so much hate. Sometimes it feels inescapable and all-consuming. We can’t turn on the TV or go on social media without seeing some type of animosity directed towards a group or individual. It may be because of their skin color. It may be because of their political affiliation. It may be because of the way they look.
Since becoming a mom, I’ve dealt with my fair share of hate in my own life. I’m active on Instagram and enjoy talking about motherhood and connecting with other women who are in the same stage of life I am. For the most part, I’ve found a community full of women who love and support me, but of course, there’s always the flip side to every situation. When you share challenges you face, you’ll always find people who feel the need to tear you down while you’re trying to pull yourself out of whatever hole you feel stuck in.
My daughter, Rosie, was born almost a year and a half ago. She had two true knots in her umbilical cord and shouldn’t have survived. On May 15, 2019, she arrived via emergency cesarean. Her birth was everything I didn’t want. It was medicated, scary, and anxiety-inducing. We struggled with breastfeeding from the start, and I never felt like I could get a handle on it or create a supply for her.
At 3 months, we decided to forgo supplementing and switched to formula exclusively. I cried for days knowing the backlash I was going to receive. Instead of being worried about my child’s health, I was worried about the mom shamers.
I decided to share my story because I truly believe fed is best, and you better believe the hateful comments that came. ‘You’re just lazy’ and ‘Breast is best.’ Honestly, the list goes on and on. Should it have mattered how I chose to feed my child? No. Instead of being kind and supportive, people who didn’t even know me felt the need to bash my decision. A decision that was right for my family, my child, and ultimately, for both her physical health and my mental health. The mom-shaming and unkind comments exist no matter the situation. Breast versus bottle. Cosleeping versus a crib. Screen time versus no screen time. The list could go on and on. I don’t even want to get started on the comments about how my daughter’s birth wasn’t natural and how it was just the easy way out.
I can’t believe the hate I’ve seen my friend’s receive on posts advocating for positivity. I have several friends who do nothing but promote self-love and body positivity on their pages. My heart breaks when I see comments saying, ‘How did someone marry you?’ or ‘Stop sharing pictures like these. Being fat isn’t beautiful.’ The worst part is it’s other women saying these things. Being a woman in this world is hard, I think we can all agree on that. I don’t understand the need to tear someone else down just because they’re different from you, whether they weigh more, have a different hair color, or whatever reason you choose to belittle someone.
With it being an election year, we’ve seen hate coming from both sides of the spectrum. Recently, I saw a post, though, that talked about how no matter who ends up as president, your neighbor is still your neighbor. I’ve seen people being slandered for who they’re choosing to vote for. I’ve chosen to keep my political beliefs off of my pages mainly for the fact who I’m voting for shouldn’t matter. My vote shouldn’t change who you’re choosing to vote for. Therefore, I just want to keep it to myself. The best thing you can do as a voter is to make sure you’re informed, and my opinion shouldn’t be your main source for information.
No matter who someone is voting for, they are still human and deserve respect and kindness. Race. Gender. Financial Status. Weight. Religion. Political affiliation. The list goes on and on. All things that make us individual, yet all things that cause people to be unkind. All things that give someone a reason to tear us down, when instead we should be using those differences to build one another up and finding what makes us unique.
I promise to teach my babies their life is not worth any more than your baby’s. Whether they are fat or thin, tall or short, they are just as worthy of love and kindness. I promise to teach them the color of their skin does not make them better, smarter, or more. I promise to teach them we were all created by a loving God who made us different for a reason. One of our jobs as humans is to embrace and learn from these differences. If we were all the same, how boring this world would be.
In a few weeks, our family will welcome a new baby girl into our home. I am preparing myself for unkind comments about having another c-section. I am preparing myself for unkind comments about how I choose to feed my child, my postpartum body, and whatever else people choose to say. But I am also preparing myself for how I choose to react, and I choose to react with kindness. I want my daughters to know, despite how others treat me, I choose how I react. I could react with anger, but what good would that do? Choosing kindness is always the best answer.
I hope the world our babies grow up to know is better than the world we live in now. I hope it’s a world full of love, acceptance, and a place where every life matters and has worth. I hope together we can make this world a better place. For everyone. The responsibility falls on us. It falls on us to be kind and to teach our children to be kind. Kindness begins at home.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Erika Green from Columbia, SC. You can follow their journey on Instagram. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
Read more stories about kindness:
‘Breast is better,’ they said. I cried for days, unable to feed you. I heard I could never feel that connection with you, nor you with me, because I didn’t nurse you.’: Mom shares emotional breastfeeding struggle, ‘Did I love you any less?’
Provide beauty and strength for others. SHARE this story on Facebook with friends and family