This is for the pregnant women who own every choice they make throughout all 40 weeks of gestation. For the expectant moms who drink a cup of coffee daily, and the ones who choose to forgo caffeine altogether. The ones who deny themselves deli meats and sushi entirely, and those who indulge once in awhile—without an ounce of guilt.
This is for the pregnant women who gain 20 pounds, the ones who gain 55, and the ones who fall somewhere outside those bounds. The ones who don’t care so much about statistics, as long as they’re healthy.
This is for the soon-to-be moms who never stop being themselves while pregnant. Who plan for their new maternal lives, but not without making room to be an individual as well as a mother. Who heed their own needs, as well as their budding child’s.
This is for the moms who realize that childbirth is indeed a miracle, but not one they’re all that unique for experiencing. The moms who get that, yes, they are awesome. But also, that every single person walking the planet is the product of this process.
This is for the moms who give birth “naturally,” out of their vaginas. And for those who have c-sections. The moms who choose to get an epidural, and those who elect to bear the pain of labor without any pharmaceutical assistance whatsoever.
This is for the moms who get pregnant via IVF. The moms who use a surrogate. And the moms who adopt.
This is for the moms who breastfeed exclusively. And those who don’t—because they can’t, or because they simply don’t want to. This is for the moms who harbor a deep-seated fear of floppy nipples. For the moms who choose formula because their baby just can’t latch. The moms who pump because they’re weirded out by the idea of feeding from the breast.
This is for the moms who Google themselves down a rabbit hole, only to realize that 50 Google searches will yield 50 million different opinions on any given subject related to childrearing. This is for the moms who learn to trust their instincts, not the Internet. Who understand that they are fully equipped to meet their baby’s needs if they just listen to their gut and a few trusted comrades.
This is for the moms who go back to work, and those who work as stay-at-homes. This is for the moms who are cornered into either choice for financial reasons or other circumstances beyond their control.
This is for the moms who take mommy shaming in stride. Who see it for what it is—whether in subtleties (Are you sure you want to co-sleep???) or overt criticism (What kind of monster lets their baby cry it out???)—and don’t really give a shit. This is for the moms who identify shaming wherever it arises—in the comments section of Facebook Groups, in opinion articles on parenting choices, and aimless chatter on the outskirts of the playground—and recognize that moms who judge other moms are counter to the progress of women, and to the progress of society overall.
This is for the moms who make their own decisions and refuse to sneer at others for making different ones. Who leave room for others to parent however they wish. Who know, at heart, that not every baby is the same. That not every child has the same needs. And that that’s a beautiful thing.
This is for the moms who know how to let go. Who don’t give a fuck about what you think when they hire a babysitter four weeks after giving birth, or choose to skip a PTA meeting so they can binge-watch Netflix.
This is for the moms who wonder why “dad guilt” isn’t a thing.
This is for the moms who know that they can only do so much to raise a responsible, well-adjusted human being. That some of it isn’t up to them, really. That some of it’s dictated by their baby’s genes. And another part’s written in the cosmos, maybe.