The former Olympian became a parent, with husband and NFL free agent Andrew East, just three months ago, and already she’s become familiar with the unsolicited advice and negativity that comes with posting about your child on social media. But she refuses to sit silently as strangers shame her for the decisions she makes as a mom.
The response to her critics was posted to Johnson’s Instagram stories on Monday night, just after she shared a video on her feed of baby Drew Hazel East doing her “first flip” on the beach. In the video, Johnson holds the 3-month-old securely as she slowly and gently flips her just above the sand. The caption reads, “Roo’s first flip!!” with a parenthetical, “(she was PERFECTLY safe...so don’t even haha).”
Despite the extra assurance to her followers, Johnson received some judgmental comments.
“While she may have been perfectly safe, sometimes you are a bit rough handling such a young baby, and not making her warm enough when you take her out,” one critic wrote. “She needs at least socks if not shoes, as well, and hats.”
Almost immediately, Johnson responded. “Were you holding her? Have you physically felt her sweat when she wears socks? Or felt her strength when she stands? Or seen her fuss until she stands up because she hates laying down? Nope. You haven’t. I’m her mama. I know.”
Others came to the new mom’s defense and reminded critics that Johnson knows best for her own baby. Still, the 28-year-old wanted to send a clearer message to mom shamers to explain the impact of their comments, and to express support for other mothers going through the same thing.
“Mom shaming is a real thing. Like a real, real thing. And I truly don’t understand it,” she said in an Instagram story on Monday night. “There’s comments that come across like, ‘You’re doing this wrong. How could you do this to your child?’ And those just aren’t good, those aren’t nice. Those aren’t worth the effort, and they make mamas feel like crap. All of us mamas are doing the best that we can. We’re trying, we’re crying, we’re pushing our way through it.”
Johnson went on to encourage people to “celebrate all of the mamas out there,” for doing their best while figuring motherhood out.
“I mean, let’s be real, none of us know what in the heck we’re doing and we’re all just trying to figure it out. But be kind,” she continued. “Talk to people the way you would want your daughter or your son to talk to people. And just be nice. And stop picking on our little babies, ok?”
People have since shared their support for Johnson on her Instagram video.
“She’s your baby...flip her if you want to!” someone wrote.
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