By Karmen Thulin, PsyD
If you are on the internet as a new mom, you’ve almost definitely witnessed it or felt its searing burn – mom shaming. It is that comment often housed in the phrase, “I just couldn’t do that to my baby.” Mom shaming cuts right to the heart of the fears many of us hold – that we aren’t doing this parenting thing right. Sometimes it goes to an even worse fear – that we are actively harming our child. Shame is an insidious emotion because it urges us to hide and, like mold, shame will just continue to proliferate as it sits there in the dark. While mom shaming has probably existed for eons the internet makes it difficult to avoid and so encourages the hiding/shame-growing scenario. Why seek support when in doing so you could just be shamed again? But then how do you do this intimidating-hairy-beast-thing of mothering without a community of other parents?
Luckily a solution exists. Many birth centers, community spaces, therapy groups, and hospitals have begun to provide post-partum (and beyond) mother/parenting support groups. Because they are moderated by a health or mental health professionals, these groups are intentional about preventing a shaming tone. This makes space for moms to share the real experiences and emotions that aren’t necessarily Instagram-pretty or what you’d want to broadcast on Facebook. There are two particularly beautiful things that can happen in this sort of space. One is a realization and acceptance that there are a million different and good ways to be a parent, you just need to find your particular way. The other is an understanding that both sides of mom-shaming usually come from the care and love for our kids – and that is a glorious thing that we should never feel like hiding.
Here are some options for Denver and around the country.
Denver Area Groups:
- The Catalyst Center’s New Mom Group – 720-675-7123 or visit www.catalystcenterllc.com
- Belly Bliss – bellybliss.org
- The mama ‘hood’ – www.themamahood.com
- Families First – familiesfirstcolorado.org
- Children’s Hospital Colorado – https://www.childrenscolorado.org/doctors-and-departments/departments/psych/programs/mental-health-moms/
- Psychology Today – listings of local support and therapy groups – psychologytoday.com
- Mocha Moms – support and service group for moms of color – mochamoms.org
- La Leche League – breastfeeding support – lllusa.org
- Because I Love You – parent support for youth and parents – bily.org