Are “Mummys” the new cyber bullies?

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When I fell pregnant, I was overjoyed to be finally part of the club.  So happy, I just wanted to share the whole experience with other mums. I had my girlfriends but I stumbled upon loads of closed mummy facebook groups online, a place where I could keep my anonymity, but be part of a supportive community. A place where I could talk about being a “mummy” to other mothers… sure what can go wrong?

 At the 20-week scan, I couldn’t wait to find out the sex of my baby ,its a girl woohoo…   I couldn’t wait to share.  I logged on  and I posted to a facebook mummy group “ yippee… I just found out I’m having a girl!! So excited, “I have a pal for life.”””……. Two minutes later “… ten comments under mine. The first one being “so if you were having  a boy, it wouldn’t be a pal???… another one was “you can’t be so sure , your having a girl, my cousins, friends sister was told she was told that too , she painted everything pink, bought a small  fortune in dresses and had a boy, (just imagine)… another one sniped in “ I’m a mother of 3 boys, my boys are my pals, so what do you mean?

I spent “what was meant to be one of my happiest” days trying to defend my first comment. Ok so I could have worded it better, but .. when I shared the news with my friends and family, that’s what they said, you will have a pal for life, I just didn’t think it would offend…

I licked my wounds and got on with my pregnancy, and was extra careful, with what I shared with the “mummy” facebook groups.

Baby arrived and I had a fairly emotional experience trying to breastfeed, to cut a long story short, it just didn’t work out for us. I was craving a bit of support and flippantly posted to a mummy group “ Breast wasn’t best for us, it didn’t work out, would any of you recommend a good formula, that’s easy on baby’s tummy”…….mummy-facebook-groups

My god, it was like a bomb exploded, in the space of ten seconds there was a barrage of comments, (ok so maybe I could have worded it better, just like before) but these comments got really abusive in a short space of time. “Breast is always best, why would you give up so soon on your baby? was the first” it escalated really quickly and got quite personal. I sat reading my phone, feeling numb with my newborn, in my arms in floods of tears. ,I was a new first-time mother and felt like the worst mother Ever….. it was bad enough not being able to  it, but these comments made me feel like a useless mother.

From then on, I decided  not to share anything with the mummy groups, but have a scout in the background and observe. I witness another mother on the other side of the breastfeeding debate get a barrage of nasty comments too … She posted a  photo of her last breastfeed with her toddler and said “I’m going to miss this so much” it seemed to me like it was a special moment she wanted to share.  The comments  flooded, below her photo  were downright degrading, you wouldn’t have seen it on the Donald Trump campaign trail . One saying “breastfeeding a toddler, that’s just wrong on all levels”… hinting that it was borderline child abuse!!!  Seriously what is wrong with us, that we have to knock another mother’s choice, I get it… we are passionate about breastfeeding, but come on,,, if our babies are getting fed and we are trying our best by them, sure that can only be right… some mothers got very hurtful, very quickly and in the end the mother deleted her photo,  i thought to myself, how low and sad she must feel, to then feel the need to delete the photo..

Different parenting styles like, Discipline and guidelines versus  gentle parenting  is another topic that can bring out the “wee people that live under bridges” on both sides. I’ve witnessed some mothers exercising the “gentle parenting” approach with their children, being not so gentle on fellow mothers, accusing rules and guidelines as child abuse… and then I’ve also saw,  mothers that disagree  with “gentle parenting” call it barely parenting, picking holes in eachother… 

   I’ve also watched Baby led weaning mothers tear strips of each other (putting it mildly)..…   A mum in one group posted a photo of her 11-month-old eating a happy meal,, ok I’m extremely passionate healthy food for children, (its the backbone to my blog)  but in this case it was a treat on a day out.  The abuse that was hurled at her was outrageous, you would swear she was giving the child “hard drugs.. the 11-month-old was feeding her self.. just on that occasion it wasn’t “corn on the cob”, so she was branded as an irresponsible parent.. 

What has happened to us? Is it because we are behind a screen and its a closed group. Is that making us braver? lacrimaWould we walk up to a mother in the street and shout our parenting opinions at her?   

Just because a mother’s parenting style is different than our , doesn’t make them wrong and us right…  debate is fantastic… but whens its a barrage of abuse and its personal,  it’s cyber bullying no matter what age you are… we all vulnerable, when it comes to our children… and just want to feel we are doing right by them… 

 What happened to women supporting women , we are all unique, let’s embrace it. Why do we have it in us, to bring a person down a peg or two… is it a pack mentality? Does it make us feel better ,to think we know better?

“Mummy groups” have their place, of course they can have a positive impact too, but  If you’re feeling fragile needing advice, a bit low or unsure about the daunting task of being a motherfacebook-groups-leave-group, talk to your loved ones, the real guys that know you and care about you,  if you want to remain anonymous talk to your gp…  if a group is  making you stressed, feeling belittled, putting you down…press that button…  Leave Group…   

whats your experience of “mummy” closed FB groups?

get in touch, whether it be positive or negative I,d love to hear from you….

 

 

One yummy mummy

26 thoughts on “Are “Mummys” the new cyber bullies?

  1. Oh my god mummy groups are the worst. Luckily i have found an amazing supportive group that i love. The admins are hilarious but they defend you when it gets nasty. Its a science based, fed is best group! Other groups i am in i see mothers put others down, even on twitter, like one comment was “ive had more kids, im more experienced, i know more than you.” Like no. We all parent differently. If our babies are healthy and perfectly happy, why judge? Loved your post!

    • ah thanks so much for taking the time to comment… i think we should be support other mothers, instead of tearing strips off each other

  2. So true. It’s shocking how some Mothers rip each other apart on the internet. I would never dream of leaving a judgy comment about how someone raises their child. It’s actually insane and a little bit scary. The internet has gone pc mad. You can’t say anything without someone having something to say about it..

  3. I avoid posting on large groups because of this. People are too quick to get offended and attack each other without giving anyone the benefit of the doubt. Small online groups tend to be more friendly I find – especially if some have met up in real life. Sorry you had such horrible experiences when you were just looking to share your good news and get helpful advice.

    • yep.. i think we can be quick to attack.. in stead of supporting other mothers.. which is sad really… thanks for taking the time to comment x

  4. Ah Jolene what rotten experiences you had! I never joined any mummy Facebook groups & I’m glad I haven’t after reading this. It is a shame that there isn’t more support & open mindedness out there between mom’s. Great post & well done for putting it out there!! x

  5. I have been lucky to find an amazing birth group, 2 years later we have shared everything from pregnancy to parenting one year olds. We all have very different parenting styles, but we hear each others opinions, no one gets bitchy or knocks anyone else, it’s all very respectful and I enjoy interacting with my cyber friends!! I have left a breastfeeding group becausr basically they were of the opinion that formula was poison. I left a baby led weaning group because I was sick to death of the salt content, sugar content judgement, it became too much. I think we need to learn when to hit the off button when absolute strangers are making us feel bad, they are taking their issues out on others, time to move on.

  6. I’m sorry to read you’ve had bad experiences with groups, I’m in a group of ladies that were all expecting the same month and I honestly wouldn’t know what I’d do without them. I’ve found them hugely supportive about everything, and it’s great having someone to ask things, even if it’s just a silly first time mammy thing.

  7. I wish I could have hugged you that day. It’s such an emotional time. My baby is 9 weeks now and I looked up a lot of stuff at the start, I didn’t join any groups though, probably too tired to! I’ve noticed the rise of this cyber bullying though on pregnancy sites over the last year and it seems that bully mummy’s are the worst. It’s sad.

  8. I can completely relate…the same thing happened me. On my first pregnancy I started having pains at the top of my abdomen and ribs, i asked a question in one of the gentlebirths forum naively wondering could an experienced mother put my mind at ease. Like you within minutes I had vicious comments and stories warning me of what happened to their cousins friends sister whose baby died. One comment even accused me of being a bad mother by asking a question in a forum rather then going straight to a hospital and getting checked out. I am very weary of any of these forums now. I don’t know what gets into these women!!

    • yes!!! its just awful … omg you must have been worried sick … so glad it all turned out ok tho .. thanks for taking the time to comment

  9. Well… as a mother of 3 beautiful yet “challenging” children I could not Breastfeed any of them. After a lot of trying on the first two I decided on my Third with a gap of 6 years between the 2nd and 3rd child and a year off from work on maternity leave I tried everything. I went to the breastfeeding groups and even hired the electric pump from the pharmacy with all the bits and pieces to make my milk come in! After a week there was talk of bringing baby to the hospital as he had lost over 10% of Body weight. That was it, the public nurse suggested formula then breast so baby puts weight on! After 3 more horrible weeks of trying it was asked did my breasts change over pregnancy. Answer was no! That was the game changer. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to breast feed, I felt my body had let me down. However, with all the scrutiny around not breastfeeding I decided only I knew what was best for my baby at that time and it certainly wasn’t my breasts!! So yes, breast is not always best! Xx

  10. Ohhhhhhhhhh my Gaaaaaaaaaaaawd you could be reading from my life story. I resorted to these groups as I came “late” to motherhood, so most of the girls I knew had children waaaay before me (finishing primary school by the time I got around to the mummy thing). I was was 38 having my first and (gasp……..41 (almost 42) having my second. So, I though, (THOUGHT BEING THE OPERATIVE WORD HERE) that these groups could be a way of getting connected to people who were going through the same kinds of things that I was.

    My age was the first thing that prompted derision. I am FAR too much of a lady to repeat some fo the comments I was subjected to. Particularly the second time round (both were very much planned). You would immagine I was, I don’t know, some kind of freak for not only considering, but actively pursuing a pregnancy at my “age”.

    The breastfeeding thing, well do NOT get me started. Suffice to say, that having had my daughter (10 lb) and spending weeks desperately attempting to feed her, suffering one permantly split nipple, 104f temp due to mastitis which left me delusional, and first degree friction burns on whiat was left of BOTH of my nipples caused by the breast pump I decided after 3 months that enough was enough. My daughter switched very happily (and gratefully) to bottles, but the damage had been done to our relationship due to the onslaught of judgment, pressure and derision that my “pathetic attempts” as one person referred to them at feeding my baby caused.

    Thankfully I survived that drubbing but I do fear for the kind of future adults are being raised by people who feel that it is acceptable to behave that way on line.

    When the time came to consider having our second (now 4), I was much more wary of these groups but being an eternally optimistic (well most of the time anyway) soul, I decided to give it a go. That didn’t last long. Thankfully I have since built an network of friends who are friends first, and mums second through school. From now on, face to face is the way to go for me (most of the time anyway)

    • omg Anastasia.. how dare anyone put age as a factor of parenting skill…. you sound like you have more wisdom that any of them will ever have.. (and you dont need age for wisdom) i can believe you kept going at the bf for 3 months… that goes to show your strenght… thanks so much fro taking the time to comment xx

  11. What an awful experience. I’m a member of a small (150ish) group of mothers who were all due at the same time. While we have different approaches regarding feeding, weaning, sleeping, etc we are all in agreement that each mother is doing what works best for them and their child. We are all supportive of one another and abuse like that would not be tolerated. We have even raised money to help women in the group who are going through difficult times, such as cancer, miscarriage and domestic abuse. So I just want to say not all groups are bad and if you find one like mine it’s worth its weight in gold.

    • Hi Eileen, wow that sounds like such a lovely group to be part of… and its fantastic to hear a story of women supporting other women… thanks so much fro taking the time to comment

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