Family

Amy Schumer responds to her mom shamers on Instagram - but the truth is she should never have felt she had to

What most mothers quickly find is that becoming a parent opens you up to all levels of criticism.

By Karyn Henger
On Tuesday comedian Amy Schumer was flattened by a tidal wave of judgement from other mothers after she posted an image of herself on Instagram doing stand-up comedy just 15 days after giving birth.
"I'm back," she proclaimed.
"Already?" many responded, and the 'mom-shaming' began.
So now she has followed up with another post showing her pumping breastmilk from her bed, looking dishevelled and tired, captioned, "Sending out love to the moms shaming me for doing standup last night!"
Let the wars begin.
Yes, good on her for standing up for herself, and good on her for being brave enough to let us all see how vulnerable she really is in her new daily reality mothering a newborn.
But she shouldn't have been made to feel like she had anything to prove to anyone. She shouldn't have had to explain herself to her critics because it's her life, her career, her baby, her choice. And no one knows anything about the circumstances that were behind the decisions she and her husband Chris Fischer have made thus far.

What most mothers quickly find, after they've been part of the 'new mother's club' for, oh, about a week, is that becoming a parent opens you up to all levels of criticism.
"You're not eating enough, that's not going to help," I was told by a family member 12 hours after I gave birth to my third child.
"You should put a hat on that baby," a member of the public told me when I ventured out on my very first walk with my very first child after spending weeks recovering from an emergency caesarean. That was a confidence crusher - and that was one person on the street, not an army of trolls on social media.
Women are vulnerable after giving birth and very much still feeling their way - being told you're doing 'something wrong' doesn't help, yet the saddest thing of all about becoming a new mum is that you often discover other mothers - who you might have thought would make great allies - are your biggest critics.
I used to edit a parenting magazine, and posting on its Facebook page was the most terrifying part of my day. Our readers, in their isolation and sleep-deprivation, could easily take offence and turn on us or one another in a nano-second. If they'd all been in an actual room together, would they have said such nasty things? Probably not. And that's the real danger of social media; people say beyond what they'd ever say to a person's face.
Going back to work was one of the issues that elicited the most judgement and debate - as well as whether or not to use 'controlled crying' to help your baby go to sleep.
Amy and husband Chris Fischer taking their baby Gene for a stroll through the park in New York.
The thing with parenting is it's all so personal - a reflection of who you are and your core beliefs and values. It's tied up in the way you were brought up and what the people you love most have imparted to you. So people find it difficult to understand other's choices. But knowing that you are doing your best in the circumstances you are in must surely help you understand that others are doing the same.
The reality of living in today's world is that often work does filter into our personal lives. How many of us answer emails from the boss long after we've left the office for the day? Or take paperwork home to finish? Or get irritated with our kids because they're trying to talk to us and we're still distracted by something that went on that day in the office?
Some women embrace new motherhood, and are privileged to be able to take long stints of time away on maternity leave. Others have to return to work before they're ready to, because of finances or contractual obligations. And still others feel lost with a new baby, or prefer to work because it provides a haven in a sense of normality, an avenue in which they can still feel in control.
Whatever a mother's reasons for working or not working after having a baby, they are reasons that make sense to them and are particular to their life scenario.
Who are we to judge or put another person down?
We all say it but in my opinion, very little has changed - mothers are hard on one another and should be supporting one another more.
Becoming a parent is a levelling experience, yet many behave like it has suddenly made them superior.
Stop the vitriol, learn to show humility, and the world could be a much nicer place for a new mother.