This just in: sometimes moms (gasp) look exhausted after they have a baby.
In what is apparently breaking news but shouldn’t be at all, news anchor Erin Kiernan of WHO-TV in Des Moines received some serious criticism after she posted her real-life morning mom selfie, joking that she used to think she knew what exhaustion was.
After she posted her picture, Kiernan received loads of hateful comments and messages about her appearance, so the new mom fought back.
“Newsflash!” she wrote in a response post on Facebook. “These ARE NOT pictures of the same person. The woman on the left is well rested, spent two hours on her hair and makeup, had a professional photographer take her picture (and photoshop it, I’m sure), and is in the ‘glowing’ second trimester of pregnancy.
The woman on the right got two hours of sleep (maybe), hadn’t looked in the mirror, took a selfie, did not put a filter on it and is covered with spit up and drool from a teething and very crabby baby.
You are an idiot if you think these are pictures of the same woman.
Any mother should be proud to post her realities as a new mom, but Kiernan had special reason to be proud of that selfie. After having a son at age 16 that she placed up for adoption, Kiernan had battled infertility for eight years, going through four rounds of IVF and artificial insemination before she was able to get pregnant again. It burns me just a bit more when you think that someone had the audacity to comment on her appearance after all she has been through.
And unfortunately, Kiernan is not the first news anchor who has been in the spotlight for what she looks like. Reporters have been shamed for being “overweight” to even one unbelievable case of a mother who was pregnant with freaking triplets being compared to a “sausage in a casing.”
I mean, seriously?
Let’s be real: most of us don’t portray the ugly parts of motherhood. The middle-of-the-night drooling in a rocking chair because that’s the most sleep you’re going to get, the stains in mysterious places, the looking the other way when your kid drops something on the floor and then proceeds to eat it.
But the less glamorous parts of parenthood are part of our stories too, and it’s OK to share them, without glossing them up or filtering them for anyone’s viewing pleasure.
You don’t have to look professionally polished to be a parent. You don’t have to even wear deodorant to be a good parent, although if you happen to have a partner or are raising a pre-teen, it’s highly recommended.
The point is, those unfiltered, real moments of motherhood? Are some of the most beautiful, in my opinion. Parenthood is the great equalizer, and nothing grounds us like being thrust into the reality of honest-to-goodness not having time to brush our teeth in the morning. And that’s not an exaggeration.
Kiernan’s message is so important because it shows that there are no absolutes when it comes to motherhood. She can rock motherhood in her messy bun and housecoat and she can rock motherhood with that professional blowout and her microphone in front of the camera. She can rock motherhood however the hell she wants to look, even when she’s lobbying for bills to pass paid parental leave or advocating for the rights of birth mothers, both of which she has done. (She’s more than a pretty face, guys, do you get that by now?)
Women can be so many things to so many people, but we are more than our appearance, which I think is the real morale of the story here. Women are amazing and they don’t have to look “perfect” to fit anyone’s expectations. Kiernan, herself, admits that motherhood is changing how she views herself.
“I’ve said many times that I’m a work in progress — in every way possible. Thanks for understanding that sometimes the process is ugly and uncomfortable,” she wrote on her Facebook page.
I stand with Kiernan by being my own work-in-progress, and I’ve got the picture of my own exhausted, non-glamourous side of motherhood because girl, I get it. I feel you on the deepest, deepest level.
This morning, I set my alarm for 5 AM, rolled out of bed, threw on a robe and literally sprinted to the haven of my computer and coffee maker without so much as fixing my hair or brushing my teeth to do some work before my four kiddos woke up. And come 11 o’clock, when I finally had a chance to “get ready” for the day, I gathered up my courage to snap a selfie. Because gosh dang it, this is what I look like on a regular basis, and I’ll be darned if I’m going to be ashamed of it.
Also, I thought the sunburst was a nice touch to disguise the bags under my eyes, right? If you can’t use a filter, at least stand in front of a window. #tiredmomtip #yourewelcome
Let’s all stand with Kiernan — post your morning selfie and show her she’s not alone!