I have quite a bit of experience when it comes to bullying. Girls can be mean, but where does it start? It is a learned behavior, and now I can see where it comes from .
Honestly, I was scared when I found out I was having a baby girl. I feel like there are so many stigmas that we are subjected to as women, and more boundaries that need to be pushed. And then there are the inevitable “mean girls.” I grew up with them-everyone did- and I even was one for a while, but why is this normal? Why are girls taught so young, that we are in competition with one another? I could probably rant about that in another blog post, but for now I wanted to share my feelings on a recent event.
I have joined a few Facebook groups about natural parenting, mom connections, breastfeeding conversations, pregnancy etc. And these groups have helped me so much. Many have provided me with educational pieces, words of encouragement, and positivity during my journey so far. And here I have discovered some beautiful women I even refer to as “sisters.” But now I have already seen the ugly side of being a mother in this competitive world of women. The “Mean Girls” of the mom world. The “Mean Moms”.
Yoga Girl Rachel Brathen recently shared a post about her 12 week old daughter’s vaccinations. I saw the post myself on her Instagram story, but soon after it appeared again on one of my Facebook “mom” groups. The horrible responses this post acquired really struck an emotional chord in me, as a fellow mother and human.
Someone on Facebook shared a screenshot of Yoga Girl’s post to the group, saying how “sad” it was, and a string of distasteful comments followed. These women were going on and on, making fun of her and her decision, questioning her integrity- just straight up shit talking. I didn’t even want to go look at the comments on her Instagram-and I really didn’t even need to-because I could see what these women were saying and it truly came from a place of hate.
Right now, I am going through a similar phase in my motherhood. My fiancé and I are struggling with the decision whether or not we will vaccinate our 2 month old daughter. So far I have chosen not to follow the CDC’s recommendation for vaccinations.
And at first, I’ll admit that I posed judgement on her decision. Then I remembered my personal wellness practice to obstain from judgement. But these comments I read were so much more than judgement. They were fueled by hate. I mean, we are all adults here. Theses people posting their opinions probably have children in order for them to feel so strongly about vaccinations, which blows my mind even more. Parents, of all people, should understand how much goes into a decision made for the health of your child. We all want what’s best for our children
So, my baby girl is not currently vaccinated, unlike Lea Luna. BUT guess what– I’m not sitting here attacking anyone via social media for a choice they have already made. Why? Because it’s not my decision, and nothing will be accomplished by it. Rachel Brathen, like many parents, took action that she believed to be best for her family, and nothing anyone is going to say now can change that. The decision has already been made. This is not her asking for advice before she made a decision (you know, where opinions could have some impact). The only thing people are doing with these spiteful remarks is spreading hate. I feel like people get so caught up in their own opinions, that they feel they always need to argue, and worse, hurt anyone who doesn’t agree.
I am all for meaningful, productive conversation. Our words do have huge impact and we need to take advantage that. And I can see where some may argue that this is exactly what the intentions were, but the idea here is the timing. That opportunity has fled, and now you are merely ridiculing someone with ill intentions.
On a personal note, Rachel has really motivated me to pursue my passions. All of the vulnerable, raw moments she has shared with her followers is inspiring. She is a social media personality who reminds us that she is still human. That we all have struggles, and feats, but accomplishments as well. It is so great to know that someone who is seen as successful has still experienced similar struggles as little ol’ me. And this is probably the FIRST post I’ve seen of hers that I do not agree with, but it still does not change how grateful I am for her positive impacts on this world.
Whether or not you agree with the decision, Rachel obviously means no harm by her decision. She didn’t vaccinate her daughter and try to convince everyone else to do the same. Or state that vaccines are necessary for everyone. She acted purely out of love for her daughter, and to question that is in no way constructive. And even still, nobody deserves to be talked to do terribly.
We are so quick to judge each other-especially online- that we hardly ever stop and consider the effect of our words. We forget to think about how our words will affect our peers, or worse, we aim to hurt them. We want to seem superior and smarter. Like we did more research and we know more so we have to let you know that we feel we are a better person than you. It is just purely hurtful.
Yoga Girl is a public figure, so I’m sure she expected a controversial response. I’m not telling people to hide how they feel, I would simply like to remind people to be mindful of their words. Share your words with intention. Use them to better this world and better lives of the people we share this planet with, and aim not to inflict emotional pain onto others. It is the one of the most elementary lessons we are taught- be kind to others. And now as adults, with the knowledge, experience, and opinions we’ve gained, we have lost sight of kindness.
There are so many public figures in this world who put no meaning behind their words . They send messages to our youth culture encouraging violence and drugs. Or teaching young girls that their physical appearance is their most important trait, and presenting unreachable standards. And here is someone who uses social media to welcome you into her personal life. Her flaws. Her strengths. She makes it easy to see that she too is human. And she uses her following to promote positive change in our world. She has founded a dog rescue, a humanitarian organization, and she shares yoga in a way that strengthens characters and minds, not just bodies. Rachel Brathen has reminded me personally about how individuals can make positive changes to this world. I followed her for yoga, but I have gained so much more. And for that I am thankful.
So here I am, sticking up for someone I only follow on social media, in a ranting blog post. I am personally offended by the complete disregard for human emotions that I have seen. Maybe because it’s Yoga Girl, or maybe I’d feel this way for anyone – but please, just remember the impact that your words have and share them with intention. You may believe that you are simply being an activist, but are your comments making a positive impact, or are you reacting from a much darker place?