I thought that being pregnant attracted unwanted advice. How wrong was I? Now, as a new mom, I can feel the judgmental eyes on me when I do something in public with my baby.
The unwanted advice only escalates once I step foot outside my door. No one is shy about it either.
My poor nappy bag was the first victim. I had it securely clipped on my pram handle. The moment I unzipped it to take a bottle out to feed my baby, a woman walked past and told me how careless I was, as something would get stolen out of my nappy bag. With my phone and money tucked into my pockets, I chuckled and joked that my nappies were made of gold.
I wasn’t prepared for what happened next in the grocery store. The store assistant pulled me aside and told me how my pram wasn’t suitable for my baby as she clearly looked uncomfortable. I simply replied with a stern “no”, and walked away. The reason why my baby looked uncomfortable was the unfortunate surprise in her nappy that I was on my way to change. Perhaps my attire of a cartoon T-shirt and shorts made the advice seem like a good deed by the store assistant, who probably thought that I looked like a teen mom.
Soon afterwards I was a repeat offender of my baby looking “uncomfortable”. This time, I had no pram as it had been returned to the manufacturers due to a fault. I sat in my car debating how I’d carry my 7kg baby and a heavy nappy bag around the store as I grabbed a few things for my mother-in-law’s birthday. I found a regular trolley and seated my baby in the chair, as she was already sitting with little assistance. We quickly dashed through the store without a comment until we reached the tills.
It felt like I was jumping into a ring of fire. The questions began with my baby’s age and then the comment that she was too young to sit in the trolley. My response of being pram-less fell on deaf ears and I returned to my car.
Once the pram debacle subsided, weaning my baby became the next topic of unwanted advice. I was by no means feeding my baby cheeseburgers, but by the comments you’d swear I was. On the paediatrician’s advice, I was told to start weaning my baby, which I slowly did, following the recommended amount of food she should consume. I felt the unwanted advice flying in like war plans: “She’s too fat”; “Surely, she shouldn’t have five teaspoons of food?”
At the end of the day, unwanted advice is not always necessary nor appreciated, especially when said in a tactless manner. Let’s rather have a little faith in new moms and offer assistance if they look overwhelmed. Now that I would appreciate dearly!
Visit www.heartsinhershoes.co.za to read more about Nikita’s journey as a new mom.
Xanet is an award-winning journalist and Living and Loving’s digital editor. She has won numerous awards for her health and wellness articles and was a finalist for the Discovery Journalist of the Year in 2009 and again in 2011 for the Discovery Best Health Consumer Reporting and Feature Writing category. She is responsible for our online presence across social media channels and makes sure our moms have fresh and interesting articles to read every day. Learn more about Xanet Scheepers.