Being a mom is difficult. Between the hundred-and-one ways your body changes during and after pregnancy, the messy realities of childbirth, sleep deprivation, and learning to live your life in three hour increments to support a newborn, becoming a mother changes your life.
There are endless decisions to make for your little one, too. Will you feed by breast or bottle? Will you babywear? Will you sleep train? How will you entertain your child? When will you potty train? The list goes on and on.
Here’s another thing that goes on and on: mom-shaming. We wish it weren’t true, but some people still feel entitled in judging other mothers for how they choose to raise their babies.
If you’ve every been on the receiving end of mom-shaming, we want you to know that we support you. We believe in empowering mothers and building them up—not tearing them down.
Motherhood already lends itself to isolating moments (hello, three a.m. feedings!) so we wanted to let you know that you’re not alone.
Celebrities are mom-shamed constantly. For better or worse, their status puts their parenting on full display. And we’ve got to say, we love how these women have clapped back and rise above their critics.
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The Duchess of Sussex has been shamed for how she chose to announce her pregnancy to how frequently she held her pregnant belly. Last year, the British media published paparazzi photos of Meghan wearing baby Archie that set off a firestorm of criticism online.
While Meghan and Harry didn’t publicly respond to the mom-shaming, they have spoken to the effects of social media, criticisms, and mental health.
“I’m told that in 2019 I was the most trolled person in the entire world, male or female,” Meghan said in 2020. “Now, eight months of that I wasn’t even visible—I was on maternity leave or with a baby. But what was able to be manufactured and churned out, it’s almost unsurvivable.”
Harry added, “Vulnerability is not a weakness, showing vulnerability in today’s world especially is a strength,” said Harry. “The more we talk about it the more it becomes normal, and it is normal.”
When model Emily Ratajkowski recently celebrated her thirtieth birthday, she shared some sweet beachside snaps of herself holding her infant son Sylvester.
Mom-shamers were quick to critique how Emily held baby Sly with one arm, as opposed to two. It was needless criticism—the new mom shared several sweet pictures, including multiple where she was holding Sylvester with two arms.
Ratajkowski has yet to respond to her critics, though she has shut down comments on the Instagram post.
The Cravings cookbook author says she’s mom-shamed constantly.
“Any time I post a picture of them holding ribs or eating sausage, I get a lot of criticism,” she explained. “Vegans and vegetarians are mad and feel that we’re forcing meat upon them at a young age. They freak out.”
Teigen, mom to 5-year-old Luna and 3-year-old Miles continued, “If they get a glimpse of the car seat there is a lot of buckle talk. Maybe for one half of a second, the strap slipped down. And TV is another big one. We have TV on a lot in my house. John and I work on television; we love watching television.”
Teigen wants the shame to stop, not just for herself but for all the other moms who feel it.
“Hearing that nine-out-of-ten moms don’t feel like they’re doing a good enough job is terrible,” she said. “We’re all so worried that we’re not doing all that we can, when we really are.”
The Lizzie McGuire star and mom of three says she deals with “keyboard gangsters” all the time.
“I remember we had been to the zoo a couple of months ago and Luca had a mask on and was leaning on [Banks’s head during the car ride home] with his eyes closed, and I guess someone was like, “You’re really making that poor child wear a mask?” she said during an interview with The Unwind.
“Like, first of all, he’s [almost] 9. The days of him sleeping in the car are long gone. I don’t comment on other people’s posts like that, so I don’t understand, but I guess it’s just a need for attention or whatever.”
She continued, “It’s hard not to take it personal, so I really have to zoom out. At first, I want to be defensive, but when I zoom out, I’m like, ‘It’s one person. That’s not how everybody feels. That doesn’t really matter. That person’s, like, a keyboard gangster who just needs to be heard or seen.'”
The Desperate Housewives alum says “the mom-shamers of the world are real.” During an October 2020 appearance on the “Anna Faris Is Unqualified” podcast, the mom to two-year-old Santiago said, “I am never going to tell someone how to parent. I am in no way an expert of being a mom. That question of, ‘How do you do it all?’ Even answering it makes other women feel less sometimes. I’ll hear it, and I’m like … ‘Oh, great. She has it together. Maybe I’m not doing something right.'”
After actress Shay Mitchell shared an image of herself breastfeeding daughter Atlas at a photoshoot, one stranger commented, “She’s not even looking at the baby, she’s not connected with the baby.” Shay responded, “I missed the part in the baby books that stated I had to maintain eye contact with my daughter while she feeds rather than capturing an amazing moment we were having. Pls let me know where I can download your parenting manual, I’ll get right on it!”
Dewan is mom to 8-year-old Everly with ex-husband Channing Tatum and 1-year-old Callum Michael Rebel Kazee with her current husband Steve Kazee. The actress and dancer says she’s regularly mom-shamed, especially when she shares photos of herself in revealing clothing.
“Apparently, when you become a mother, you’re supposed to leave your sexuality at the door, and I never understood that,” she told Women’s Health. “I think there’s nothing sexier than becoming a mother. You give life. It’s everything. And you don’t change who you are inside just because you have a kid.”
The Transformers actress is a mom to three boys with ex-husband Brian Austin Green. The co-parents believe in letting their sons choose their clothes and hairstyles—something that is commented on often by strangers.
“I let my kids wear what they want!” Fox told TODAY Parents in 2018. “They will tell me what they are. It’s not my job to teach them that.”
When asked about the criticisms regarding the length of her sons’ hair, Fox said, “I thought it was illegal, honestly, to shame a child or shame a mom for what a child wears.”
Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher share children 6-year-old Wyatt Isabelle and 4-year-old Dimitri Portwood. During a 2018 interview with Vanity Fair, Kunis revealed that she felt very judged while nursing Wyatt in public.
“I support every woman’s choice in what she wants to do and whatever makes them happy, but for me, I did nurse my child and I literally breastfed everywhere,” Kunis said. “There were many times where I didn’t bring a cover with me, and so I just did it in a restaurant, in the subway, in the park, at airports, and in planes. Why did I do it in public? Because I had to feed my child. She’s hungry. I need to feed her whether it’s out of a bottle or out of my boob no matter where I was.”
She added, “It always made my husband and I feel a little weird. It took us a little back because people actually looked at us in a shameful [way], and we were like, ‘Oh my God,’ because it’s so not a sexual act. It didn’t matter to me what other people thought. That’s what I chose to do, but I think it’s unfortunate that people are so hard on women who choose to do it and do it in public. In the States and in our culture, we sexualize the breast so much that there’s an aspect of it that people just don’t know how to wrap their head around the idea of showing your breast in public. But I respect the opinions on both sides. If it’s not for you, don’t look.”
After Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade welcomed their daughter Kaavia James via surrogate in 2018, the actress said she received criticisms for everything from kissing Kaavia on the mouth to how she dressed.
“I had to hit the mommy shamers day one,” Union told PEOPLE in 2019. “I’m going to do it my way. I’m sure I’m going to make all kinds of mistakes and when I ask for help, which I will, I would love to hear all y’all’s advice. Everybody has been on my journey of pain and anguish and trauma, and I owe it to myself to enjoy every second of my joy.”
Union is also stepmom to Wade’s older children: Zaire and Zion and his nephew Dahveon.
Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi
The Jersey Shore alum was mom-shamed for drinking wine while breastfeeding and faced some serious criticism. She shared a photo to Instagram of herself nursing her son Angelo and enjoying a glass of red wine. While many users criticized her for drinking with a newborn, Snooki shut the haters down. “You’re not a mom. I allow myself to have a few glasses once a week to stay sane with 3 kids. I do what’s necessary to clean my milk for my baby. Let a mawma live and keep being 17,” she fired back.
The Dancing With the Stars pro says she hears from the parenting police “all the time.” In an interview with Us in February 2021, Carson said, “I mostly get positive things and it’s amazing, but one or two negative comments like, ‘You shouldn’t do that with your baby. You shouldn’t hold your baby that way. You shouldn’t let your baby sleep like that.’ Small stuff like that. […] I haven’t [responded] so far, but if anybody were to comment on Leo, I think my mama bear [would come out].”
Jamie Orsini is an Emmy Award-winning journalist, military spouse, and a mom to two busy toddlers. In her spare time, Jamie volunteers with the Solar System Ambassador program with NASA/JPL and reads anything she can get her hands on. She’s currently working on her first novel.
Original posted at www.mother.ly