There has been a wave of celebrity mums, including former TOWIE star Kate Ferdinand and radio presenter Kate Lawler, who have spoken up about feeling low, in both their mood and self-esteem, post-birth. And for many new mothers who have been struggling with lockdown, feeling isolated and lacking any motivation to “snap back” into shape, their honest approach has been reassuring, and relatable.
But a fresh debate was sparked, when new mum, TV presenter Laura Whitmore, who gave birth to a daughter – whose name has not yet been revealed – last month, took to Instagram to share a positive post.
“I’ve been told I won’t be able to leave the house and should feel s--t. But I actually feel the best I’ve ever felt and the happiest I’ve ever been in my entire life. And maybe feel a bit guilty for feeling good as I’ve been told I shouldn’t,” Laura wrote.
“But I’ve created something incredible. I had a positive birth with thankfully no complications and a baby that LOVES the boob (and jaysus those boobs are looking good!)”
Laura, 35, asked others not to compare her journey to their own, and her fans praised her positive approach.
But others couldn’t help but note that “not everyone has the same experience”, and with “comparison culture” – the habit of scanning social media and comparing your life to the snippets of other people’s lives – on the rise, it’s been claimed that these posts could even be harmful.
Here, Closer speaks with two celebrity mums who have differing views on whether these so-called “smug mums” should think before sharing their thoughts on social media.
Casey Batchelor: ‘Seeing boastful posts would have depressed me after my birth’
Celebrity Big Brother star Casey Batchelor, 36, is mum to daughters Florence, two, and one-year-old Sadie, and is expecting her third daughter this summer. She believes glowing reports of early motherhood could be damaging and says mothers need to be mindful of other new mums at such a vulnerable time.
Casey says, “It’s great that new mums have positive and happy birthing and parenting experiences, but for most first-time mums, feeling the best they’ve ever felt seems a very distant hope. In my own experience, after my first birth, I was so ill I couldn’t stand up for two weeks. I had been cut and stitched, I was bleeding heavily and I cried so much about how my body had changed.
“If I had seen another mum’s post about how brilliant they were feeling at the time, I’d have felt even more depressed and asked myself, ‘Why don’t I feel that way? Am I wrong to be feeling how I’m feeling?’
“Of course, I would want to be positive towards another mother, and I don’t want to bash any one, but it takes an incredibly strong person not to feel resentful and not to compare themselves.
“For women who have given birth just before and during the pandemic, a lot of those new mothers will be feeling low and isolated, or could be single mums without support.
“Women should celebrate having a positive birth, which is incredible, but I think it’s important to show solidarity with the women who aren’t feeling that way by extending sympathy, or even just by recognising that everyone is different.
“I feel that if you have a large following, like Laura, it’s so important to be mindful of how others are feeling. The best message for new mums is just to take care of themselves, and that it’s OK not to feel on top of the world.”
Chloe Goodman: ‘It’s barbaric to knock mothers for their success stories’
Chloe Goodman, 27, whose daughter Isla is nearly one, says mums shouldn’t feel bad about feeling great and shouldn’t shoulder the blame for other people’s bad experiences.
The Ex On The Beach star says, “It really bothers me that new mums can’t share their journeys into motherhood if they have been positive. Why would we look at a post like Laura’s and think she’s gloating? She is sharing her own journey – if you don’t want to see it, then don’t look.
“It’s nice when pregnancy, birth and parenting have gone so well for someone, especially a first-time mum. I don’t think they should be torn down or trolled for celebrating their success stories – it’s barbaric!”
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Kim Woodburn's explosive row
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Christopher Biggins' shocking removal
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Stephen Bear and Chloe Khan's bathroom saga
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Stephen Bear's love affair
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Gemma Collins' controversial decision
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Megan McKenna's meltdown
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'David's Dead' confusion
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Stephanie Davis' knickers humiliation
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Winston McKenzie's homophobic slur
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Lewis Bloor and Marnie Simpson's shower scene
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Perez Hilton's sexual threats
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Perez Hilton harassing Katie Hopkins
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Alicia Douvall banana-gate
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Ken Morley's racist slur
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Lee Ryan, Casey Batchelor and Jasmine Waltz's love triangle
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Leslie Jordan's row with Frenchy
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Dappy's raunchy bathroom scene
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Spencer and Heidi Pratt's villainous antics
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Lauren Harries falling over 24/7
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Denise Welch's drunken antics
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Frankie Cocozza and Nicola Maclean get steamy in the hot tub
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Julie Goodyear's banana scene
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Jedward get vajazzled
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Alex Reid's beauty regime
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Verne Troyer's drunken collision
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Jade Goody vs. Shilpa Shetty
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George Galloway's cat incident
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Jackie Stallone's shock arrival
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She continued, “For me, some days I feel like Supermum and some days I’m barely keeping it together. I previously lost a child through a missed miscarriage and my pregnancy with Isla was really difficult as I had to have stitches so I could carry her, and I was banned from being intimate and having baths.
“There were lots of limitations and I struggled to bond with Isla for six months, but I would never look at somebody else and say, ‘Why me?’ I’d just think, ‘Oh, bad luck’ and just be happy I had a child. There are always people who are worse off.
“I was also worried about losing myself after becoming a mum, so seeing other women who are able to be mums and work, and who have found a great balance, is inspiring for me and other women.
“When I was pregnant so many people would tell me my life would be over. Yes, of course it’s hard, but it gets better! Instead of blaming people we’ve never met for how we feel, and dictating what they should post, we all need to appreciate and enjoy our own lives – and we’ve all certainly had enough doom and gloom this year!”