“You drank cows milk, and you're fine!” my traditional mother shouts at me after I mention buying organic milk for my baby boy. “Que organico ni organico,” she mutters under her breath. I end the conversation immediately.
I bring up topics about the healthiest baby formula, the best bottle warmer and the perfect stroller with my mother because I'm afraid of the Mom Mob. Since announcing my pregnancy on social media, old friends, colleagues and acquaintances with children have come out of the woodwork to give me unsolicited advice. A few gems from the Mom Mob:
“You should really do a water birth. I can give you the name of my doula.”
“I’ll email you the link to the brand of the organic formula I bought for my baby. It’s from Paris.”
“You really should go to a breastfeeding class and buy as many breastfeeding books as possible.”
“You won’t be sleeping for long. And say goodbye to your sex life.”
“Here’s a list of safe diapers, bottles, cribs, crib bumpers, and breast pumps.”
I want to scream, but instead I nod and thank them for their input.
But no more. Pregnancy is scary enough. My body is changing. I feel achy in ways I never have before due to ligament pain. I can no longer shave my own vagina. I grunt whenever I bend over to pick up my shoes from the floor. It’s all so overwhelming and new and — yes — magical. But I don’t want to be told what to do anymore.
The only mom allowed to boss me around is my momma. And my momma believes most baby and pregnancy items are unnecessary, wasteful and expensive. The second eldest of nine children, my mami was raised in a campo in the Dominican Republic. She wore cloth diapers, drank water from el tanque and chased chickens in coops. My mami and her siblings even played in (and sometimes ate) dirt. Breaking news: they didn’t die. She then moved to America and raised three children on a factory income. Guess what? We didn't die either.
I know what you’re thinking: Don’t you want the best for your baby? You’re in America, you have the means, why not give him what you didn’t have growing up? Of course I want that, and I'll try my best to do it. I find myself on PotteryBarn.com multiple times each day, choosing the best linens and furniture for his nursery without even glancing at price tags. But it’s my choice. If I don’t want to breastfeed past three months, that’s my prerogative. If I choose to disinfect baby bottles the way my mom did (dropping them in boiling water), that’s my decision to make. As long as I’m not feeding my baby dirt, Mom Mob, I don’t need your unsolicited advice.