Being a new mum is hard bloody work at the best of times. From feeding to working, mums are pretty much superheroes. Being a mum can also be quite stressful, with so many people feeling judged and ridiculed by their peers. 

 

This poses the question: do we feel more judged than our own mums did? The short answer, according to a new study, is yes, we absolutely do. 

 

The research, which was published in the journal of Families, Relationships and Societies, explored the issue of judgement through interviews of six mum and grandmother pairs in Wales.

 

"Intergenerational research with mother–grandmother dyads suggests that the intensity of the gaze directed towards mothers has increased in recent decades," the authors of the research said, which is something that many of us can relate to.

 

The research also honed in on something we know all too well: "How good a mother is, has come to be measured by whether she breastfeeds, and the use of infant formula has been reconciled as 'somehow symptomatic of a woman's failure as a mother."

 

 

"Feelings of being watched, evaluated and judged, with some direct experiences of being questioned by strangers, were centralised in many of the participants' reflections," the researchers wrote, and we totally get it. 

 

One new mum, Tanya, shared an experience of a waiter in a restaurant acting "like the kinda food police" during her pregnancy, refusing to serve her certain items, as if he was some sort of "pregnancy expert". Her experience was in "stark contrast" to her own mother, Diane's, pregnancy years earlier.

 

"It's just totally different. People try and police your behaviour. When I was pregnant - when no one cared - you could have asked for any food or drink; I never got stopped having anything," said Tanya's mum. 

 

The research highlighted "a significant intergenerational shift, where pregnancy has become experienced as a public, as opposed to private, phenomenon".

 

The differences in pressures faced by new mums were evident in discussions around feeding.

 

"I don't think there should be so much pressure for mums to breastfeed and then feel guilty about it," said Tanya. Diana, who exclusively formula fed her babies, didn't feel any amount of scrutiny when raising her children.

 

Ultimately, ladies, we're all doing the best we can, so let's support each other rather than judge each other. 

Latest

Trending

Hello Mama!
Help us help you by allowing us and our partners to remember your device as having browsed MummyPages and serve you better content and ads

We're on a mission to help our mums and their families thrive by informing, connecting and entertaining.

Join us in our mission by consenting to the use of cookies and IP address recognition by us and our partners to serve you content (including ads) best suited to your interests, both here and around the web.

We promise never to share any other information that may be deemed personal unless you explicitly tell us it's ok.

If you want more info, see our privacy policy.