Before Jane, I was a judger. A hardcore judger. If you gave your baby formula. Judged. If you couldn’t kick postpartum weight. Judged. If you gave your kid sugar too early in life. Judged. It’s a wonder I had any friends at all!!
But then came Jane. Jane taught me that everybody has a story.
See before Jane was born I had a great story. Simple really. My husband and I dated for 2 years. Married on the 2 year mark. Got pregnant and had Jane on the next 2 year mark. We had good jobs. We had just bought a house. I had an easy pregnancy. We went on vacations. Young wild and free. Easy. That was my story.
After Jane, I had a different story. I had messy unkept hair. I never wore make up. I wore the same navy blue zip up hoodie everyday in the hospital with maternity leggings. It was suspected that my baby had galactosemia, a disorder in which she could not absorb my breast milk. So my baby was fed soy formula (a HUGE no no if you had asked me prior, and a huge no no amongst the “natural” minded people I hung around) through a feeding tube.
With such exposure to diseases that lie dormant in a hospital environment and no first line defense of my skin to skin contact, or breast milk, vaccinations seemed almost like a no brainer where before we were “on the fence”. My sciatic nerve was pinched in giving birth to Jane and made walking postpartum almost unbearable. So I hobbled everywhere and it took me double the time to do “normal” things during our 4 week hospital stay. I ate nothing for 1.5 weeks out of nervous shock, then ate EVERYTHING for the next 1.5 weeks out of… aftershock?
My how my story had changed.
We would go to places like Whole Foods (ya know, where all the cool soccer moms shop? Oops, I just judged again…), and a little hip coffee shop full of entitled college students (Whooooaaa, judging again!) that became our oasis. It was in these public places that I could feel the eyes. The questions. The judgement.
“Wow that girl should do her hair”
“Well that girl’s not a threat in those grungy clothes”
“Why is that girl limping?”
“Oh, she must be like 5 months pregnant” (All you postpartum mommies feel me on that one)
It was then that I realized that they didn’t know my story! They didn’t know that I had JUST had a baby. That she was currently getting hooked up to IV’s in ICU. That we hadn’t been home in 3 weeks. That I had only used a public/community shower since I had given birth. That my husband and I weren’t just 2 college kids on a date, we were celebrating our 2 year wedding anniversary in a way we never expected right after being told that I could no longer breastfeed my baby.
I just wanted to scream, “Don’t you judge me! I have a story!”
Or more recently, today at Big Lots I did a REALLY bad job of pulling into a parking spot . I guess I cut off a lady walking in the street because she not only gave me a really dirty look but started talking to another guy in the parking lot about me. Then as she drove away she pointed her finger at me and her lips were moving really fast and her face looked really mean and based off her countenance I’m guessing she was thinking things like,
And probably lots and lots of expletives 🙂
What she DIDN’T know was that I hadn’t slept in 2 days. Jane is teething or growing or manifesting demons. Not really sure which one. Maybe they’re all the same? She didn’t know that I was a sleep deprived woman thinking about money, groceries and the evening’s dinner plan, trying to squeeze in an errand between work phone calls and while my mom watched my cranky child. And while she may have been right about my horrible parking decision, she was most likely not seeing that I actually had a story.
And everybody does. The trendy hipster at the coffee shop. The nurses who do or do not administer your child’s vaccines. The mom who doesn’t breast feed. The one who can’t lose weight after baby. The one who loses “too much” weight after baby. They all have a story.
Instead of seeing a person at face value I began to try to my very hardest (we are only human afterall) to see passed the “obvious”. That woman looks really happy on Instagram but is she actually really lonely right now? That mom acts so protective over her children but did something traumatic happen to her as a child? That woman sure does post a lot of selfies! Is she reaching out for compliments she never receives? That single girl does whatever she wants, what a life! Is she really longing to settle down and for a family of her own right now?
I guess my point to all of this is, be kind mama.
Be kind to the woman handing her kid a bag of cheetos for a snack, be kind to the one who breastfeeds till 2 yrs old. Be kind to the full time working mama who can’t wear her baby all day long and the one who doesn’t let her baby go. Be kind to the one who cosleeps and doesn’t cosleep. To the telemarketer and the door salesman. To the one who vaccinates and to the one that doesn’t. To the one who is back at the gym and the one who can’t get out of bed. To the angry checkout clerks, or hasty baristas. To the mommy who wants to work. To the one who doesn’t , and to the one who has to.
Their story may not be yours, but they have one. Everybody does. Even the soccer moms at Whole Foods and the cranky ladies found in Big Lots parking lots 🙂