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Please Stop Saying “Real Moms” When Discussing Motherhood

babyI have been hearing the term “real moms” a lot lately when discussing all things motherhood. From what “real moms” look like when they’re pregnant to what “real moms” look like after birth or what “real moms” look like immediately after having a baby — these terms are very common things to hear right now. I know generally this is used to emphasize the “non-celebrity” or the everyday person, but I don’t think any of these terms — more specifically the word “real” is fair in any discussion about motherhood.

We’re in an interesting age where the trend of discussion seems to lead to a glorification of overbooked schedules, over-the-top stress, and the desire “to have it all” without ever being able to make whatever “it” is happen.

Talking about our busy lives filled with stress is no longer few-and-far between complaints. It’s now happening so often that there’s an understood consensus that being frazzled, over-worked, and unhappy is now what “real” looks like — because to us, having it any other way is not the norm for whatever reason.

When it comes to pregnancy, birth, and motherhood — there is no “real” because no matter what your circumstance is — it’s real.

The mother who didn’t gain any weight during pregnancy — she’s real.
The mother who gained 50 pounds during her pregnancy — she’s real.

The mother who looked like she stepped out of a spa after birth — she’s real.
The mother who says she can see the exhaustion in her afterbirth photos — she’s real.

The mother who shows no signs of having been pregnant shortly after birth — she’s real.
The mother who has had her body forever changed by birth — she’s real.

As women and mothers, why must we always look at everything as a competition? When did “having it harder” become such a symbol of motherhood? I understand the frustration when walking through the grocery store and seeing the latest magazine cover that shouts how a celebrity “got their body back” in a shorter time than I did. I can see how there are a lot of unrealistic expectations placed on women and mothers to look a certain way during pregnancy, birth, and labor, but these “real” statements to me are just as harmful.

I think it’s time to stop all the comparing. We need to stop beating others down, pointing fingers, and placing labels on women and mothers simply because they may not have had the same “real” experience as we had. It’s unfair, unrealistic, and not doing any of us mothers any good.

Photo credit: © Devan McGuinness

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Devan is a freelance writer living in Toronto, Ontario with her husband and four kids. No, those aren’t her kids real names – they’re online pseudonyms.  Read more from  on Babble and “like” Accustomed Chaos on Facebook!  

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