“I am the mother of two healthy, lovely daughters, Rosalia, who is three years old, and Eliana, who is two months old. My two successful pregnancies were both difficult (I also, unfortunately, had a loss before having Eliana). With both, I developed Cholestastis, a rare high-risk liver ailment that can raise the risk of stillbirth by 15% if not appropriately managed and the baby delivered prematurely.
Eliana was due at 36 weeks and 3 days, but she astonished us by insisting on coming into the world on Friday the 13th, under a full moon, at the age of 35 weeks and 5 days. Despite being healthy, she spent the first three days of her life in the NICU due to her young age. She’s my little rainbow warrior baby.
When I initially had my baby, I loved baby-wearing since it allowed me to use the entire cart and kept well-intentioned people’ hands off my prized cargo, all while keeping baby peaceful. I knew I had to have the beautiful rainbow ring sling from Maya Wraps when I saw it on sale for my rainbow baby! It’s since become my favorite carrier because it’s so pretty, easy to use, and even includes a handy pocket!
Momming isn’t easy, as any mother can confirm! My elder daughter is bright, but she also has a lot of energy and requires a lot of attention. It’s often daunting to add a baby to the mix! While I am still on maternity leave from my profession as an elementary art teacher, I have been at home with children on a daily basis. I usually have to go food shopping with the girls on my own. My spouse has returned to full-time employment and works away from home, as well as making changes to our home on weekends. When he was allowed to come to our local Aldi to grocery shop with us on a recent shopping excursion, I was overjoyed.
Then things started to go apart.
Our shopping trip proceeded in a rather routine manner. Ellie was in the ring sling, and Rose was riding in the cart with me. My husband went out for a few minutes, so I was pushing the cart by myself with my other hand on Ellie’s bottom, bouncing her when she got fussy. Rose requested yoghurt, and as I turned the cart around to return to the dairy cooler, a woman said to me, ‘Wow, I don’t know how you’re handling that!’ I laughed it off and moved on, saying, “That’s mom life for ya!”
After finishing our shopping, we started loading our purchases onto the conveyor belt. On the line, the woman who had passed me earlier was ahead of us. I didn’t give it a second thought. Ellie began to cry, and Rose demanded that all items, including fragile ones, be placed on the conveyor. I was attempting to conceal Christmas presents from her by concealing them under larger front-of-house objects. We moved forward after the woman in front of us completed her transaction. The cashier kept gazing as if she had something to say. ‘I don’t want to stir up any trouble, but the woman ahead of you claims your baby is a fake and you were taking yoghurts,’ she continued, confused.
She took a breath and stopped. I wondered aloud if she shared my sentiments. “But obviously your baby is totally real!” she added. With her, my husband and I had a wonderful chuckle. After bagging our items, I took a step to the side and took a selfie with Ellie in front of an Aldi sign, still goggling.
When we came home, I went to Lacey Township Chatter, a Facebook page for my local community. The following is what I wrote:
‘I don’t normally do ‘to the person who…’ blogs, but this one had me laughing out loud, so here it is:
To the lady who told the Aldi cashier I was trying to smuggle yoghurt out of the store with a phoney infant 1) My child is a genuine human being. 2) At Aldi, yoghurt costs about $0.25. 3) I’m lactose intolerant and avoid any dairy products.
But thank you for the chuckle. I was in desperate need of it because I had been up all night caring for my (completely real) baby.’
Tell strangers who notice a parent with their hands full at a store that they’re doing an excellent job and are a good parent. Give them a thumbs up or just a kind grin. If you think they’re really struggling, you could even lend a hand. Take a time to observe before making a snap decision. Parenting is difficult enough without the added stress of strangers’ judgment and views.
To the parents: There will always be someone who misunderstands or acts without knowledge. You could be sleep deprived, emotionally exhausted, or overwhelmed. Try to find the positive or humorous side of each circumstance. “YOU CAN DO IT.”