I’m writing this blog post after spending the last half hour deleting hateful comments on a blog post, or declining hateful DM’s regarding my baby Shiloh. Prior to having a baby, I realized that part of my job as an “influencer” and having my life on social media meant also being open to people’s negativity and criticism. Before having Shiloh, people would send hateful DM’s telling me I was ugly – my nose is too big, I’m too skinny, my eyebrows are awful, etc etc. After doing this job for several years, I learned to brush those comments off. I developed “thick skin” and hateful comments about me from internet trolls or people hiding behind anonymous / fake accounts didn’t really bother me anymore.
Then, I had Shiloh. And everything changed. Right after having my first baby, of course I wanted to post 10,000 photos of her and share every single thing about her – because I’m obsessed with her and she’s beautiful and I love everything about her (like any mom, right?). Shortly after having Shiloh though, it quickly occurred to me that the trolls who used to hate on me behind their fake accounts and computer screens…could now put that on my daughter. I realized very quickly that even though I signed up to have part of my life exposed to public opinion, Shiloh did not sign up for that. And as her mom, I wanted to protect her from that…while not hiding her from you guys entirely. Does that make sense? Hard balance. If any other influencer moms out there have figured that out…I’d love your input!
I have debated whether or not I should write this post for probably 5 months now. On one hand, I don’t want to give the haters and the bullies any attention or waste my energy on them. But on the other hand, ever since I started blogging, I’ve always wanted to be 100% real with you guys. I still want that. But now that I’m a mom I have to draw a line somewhere between what I share on social media and how I choose to protect and respect my family. But this issue, these bullies, this harassment, this hate has nearly driven me to the point of wanting to quit my job entirely. And I’ve decided enough is enough. I want to be open and honest and transparent about what’s going on – both with Shiloh as well as what I’ve been dealing with personally from these bullies and mom shamers.
Ever since Shiloh was born, she’s been small. For the first 7ish months of her life she was around the 6th percentile, which my mom told me I was too for about the first year of my life. Her pediatrician was never concerned because she “stayed on her curve” and was gaining weight just fine…she’s just small! That’s just how God made her. Her pediatrician said “if there wasn’t a 6th percentile, there wouldn’t be a 96th percentile. She’s staying on her curve and is a happy baby and that’s what we’re looking for.”
If you don’t know me IRL you might not know that I’m a pretty anxious / paranoid person. Being a new mom has amplified that times 10,000. Around Shiloh’s 6 month appointment…I started to feel a little concerned that I’d see other 6 month old babies doing things that Shiloh wasn’t doing yet. I knew all babies developed at their own pace but I just wanted to make sure that Shiloh was okay. So, I asked her pediatrician at her 6 month appointment if she was concerned that Shiloh wasn’t doing certain things yet. She wasn’t concerned. Her doctor said “Shiloh seems to be hitting all of her milestones, just maybe a few weeks / months behind other babies. She gets to them in her own time. She’s just marching to the beat her of own drummer. She’s gaining weight, she’s happy, she’s not fussy. I’m not concerned.” So I tried to not worry about it and just listen to the pediatrician. But, maybe it was “mother’s intuition”…I wanted to get a second opinion.
So when Shiloh was 7 months old, we went to see a different pediatrician because I wanted her opinion. This pediatrician said “I’m sure she’s fine. She’s just small and maybe developing a little bit slower, but it never hurts to get evaluated just to be safe.” So Michael and I decided to have Shiloh evaluated by Early Childhood Intervention specialists. If you’re not familiar with this, they basically ask you a bunch of questions about your baby, your lifestyle, watch them play, watch them move, and then evaluate where they are at developmentally.
After this evaluation, these specialists told us that Shiloh was showing a 25-32% delay in two categories: physical and communication [this is the smallest delay on the scale]. She showed no delay in cognitive, or social emotional behaviors. This was difficult for Michael & I to hear as parents but somewhat relieving to know we weren’t just being paranoid, and that we’d be able to get her some help so that she could catch up. Because of these delays in these two areas, this qualified Shiloh for physical and speech therapy.
As a mom, after you get results like this, of course your initial reaction is to blame yourself. My first thought was “I’m sure this is my fault. What did I do wrong?” So, I asked the ECI people, the speech therapist, the physical therapist, AND Shiloh’s pediatrician “what could have caused these delays?” Every single one of them told me, “in this case, nothing. Shiloh is completely healthy and normal, she’s just developing a little bit slower than most babies and that’s okay. All babies develop at their own pace. We’ll help her get caught up.” So, no one could really give me a concrete answer as to why. But, there is definitely peace in hearing from countless professionals that Shiloh is just fine. She just needs a little help getting caught up.
So about 3 months ago, we started doing physical therapy and speech therapy for Shiloh once a week, in our home. A specialist comes to our house and works with her (and us) for an hour, and it’s been great! Shiloh loves it and we love it. She’s made a ton of progress and Michael and I have also learned a lot.
Now, you’re probably wondering “why in the world are you telling us this whole long story now?” I’m telling y’all all of this for two main reasons.
If you’re a new momma out there (or just a mom in general) and your baby also seems a little bit behind…I know how hard that is to hear. I know how easy it is to blame yourself. I want you to hear me: you are the perfect mama for your baby and you are doing the best you can. and that is enough. If you are concerned about your babies delays, it is OKAY to go get him or her evaluated or get a second opinion! If you think your baby might need help, there is NOTHING wrong with getting help. It’s actually such a wise decision and I’m so so glad we’ve been doing this with Shiloh!
Being a mom can be so tough and feel so confusing and isolating and there’s this constant fear that you are doing everything wrong. If you are feeling that right now, I want you to know you are not alone. We all love our babies so much and just want what’s best for them. And God chose YOU to be your baby’s mama for a reason.
I have never in my life considered quitting my job until having Shiloh, and been so heart broken over some of the comments and DM’s people have sent me behind anonymous IG accounts or fake email addresses. Like I mentioned above, I signed up to have my life exposed to the public. Shiloh did not. Reading hateful comments about my baby makes my blood boil and tears my heart to shreds like you could never imagine.
People have made comments about how Shiloh is so delayed and I’m a horrible mother and why won’t I talk about this. So here you go, let’s talk about it.
Shiloh is perfectly healthy and happy and taken care of and YES she also does have some slight physical and communication delays. We are getting her seen by a physical and speech therapist regularly and doing everything within our power and control to give her the healthiest and happiest life possible. Why have I not talked about this before? Because that is SHILOH’S STORY. That is HER life. And as her mother, I have EVERY right to keep however much of her her life private from the internet that I think is necessary.
If you’re a mom – I’m sure you remember how hard being a new mom is. You worry about everything. You second guess everything you’re doing. You are constantly battling the feeling of being a failure. Could you imagine going through all of that while having hundreds of strangers on the internet telling you “you’re a terrible mom”? I have cried myself to sleep countless nights from reading these terrible comments and have also been considering going to therapy because of the toll these comments have taken on me.
People have also told me I’m a horrible mom because I travel with Shiloh all the time. Guess what – traveling is a huge part of my job and I breastfed Shiloh for the first year of her life. Would it have made me a “better mom” to leave Shiloh at home with a nanny? I see all of these other bloggers traveling without their babies (which – good for them! nothing wrong with that), but guess what. I didn’t want to. I wanted to be with Shiloh even on work trips and LOVED getting to travel with her. I LOVE seeing her experience different people and sounds and textures and foods and learning to adapt to new environments. Michael and I have made such amazing memories with Shiloh on all of our trips over this past year. Even Shiloh’s physical therapist told us that traveling is amazing for babies and teaches them so much. From swimming in the ocean to playing in the sand to seeing different types of people. Would you guys have thought I was a “good mom” if I left her at home all the time and was always away from her? There’s no winning here.
Here’s the truth.
I am not a perfect mom. I feel like I have no clue what I’m doing and I worry about things way too much and I’m constantly battling the feeling of failure. But you know what? I love Shiloh more than anything in this entire world. I pray for her and with her every single day. Michael and I both pray that God would give us wisdom as her parents everyday, to know how to lead and shepherd her well and make decisions that will always have her best interest at heart. We have wise friends and family we seek parenting advice / counsel from. And we love and care for her more than we ever knew was possible.
Balancing social media and motherhood
Before having Shiloh, I would share almost anything and everything with you guys! I was a “no boundaries” kinda girl on social media and always wanted to be 100% real and authentic with you guys. I still want to be 100% authentic with y’all (and I am, about my own life!), but having Shiloh has changed things. She did not sign up to be a “social media influencer” and as her mother, I get to choose what I do and don’t share about her life. And I hope you guys can respect that.
The mom-shaming and internet bullying. Enough is enough
I’d like to speak to all of the women who have harassed me or sent hateful messages over the last year. If you were in the grocery store and you saw a baby that you thought might be kind of delayed…would you walk up to that mother and tell her “you’re a horrible mom and you need to get your baby checked out.” I would hope not. And yet there are hundreds of you out there who feel that is okay to do when you’re hiding behind a computer screen or a fake instagram account. The poison you are putting into this world is what makes this world such a dark and evil place. Take a look in the mirror and ask yourself if you want to be a part of that. If you are a mother, you know how hard it is to be a mom. Why not choose to spend your time to speak life and encouragement versus hate and evil? If each one of us were women who would speak life to other women, tell a mom what a great job she’s doing…think of what a much more joyful and beautiful world this would be?
I love my job so so so much. I still wake up everyday feeling like this is a dream job and I cannot believe the Lord blessed me with it. I am building a positive and uplifting community of women here though. So I want to say, if you are here to be a bully or be hateful or to be an anonymous troll hiding behind a computer screen simply here to harass me…your comments will be deleted. You will be blocked. I will not tolerate it or stand for it. I’m here to build an uplifting encouraging community of women and we don’t need that here. And I’m also going to protect my family from your harassment at all costs.
To my LKS community
Although part of the downside of being an ‘influencer’ means being harassed or bullied…one of the beautiful parts about is the countless messages I’ve received from you guys since becoming a mom. So many of y’all have given me wonderful advice, the sweetest encouragement, powerful prayers, helpful tips, and so much more. Y’all have said the kindest things about Shiloh or me as a mom and it encourages my heart more than you know. Thank you, to each one of you who have chosen to speak life and I hope you know the impact you’ve made on my life and that you make in the world around you.
Let’s be women who build up. Let’s be women who can respect other’s boundaries. Let’s be moms who cheer on other moms.
Thanks for reading and letting me share something extremely vulnerable and lay my heart out there. Enough was enough. I thought it was time.