To the New Mom in Target Who Yelled at Me to Stop Staring

The other day, as I was standing in line at a Starbucks (yes, I know Starbucks) that was stationed inside a Target, I noticed a new mother trying to feed a fairly newborn child in a Starbucks booth. The mother’s hair was ratty, she had tried to put on makeup and she was struggling feeding her baby. As I waited for my drink, I noticed she had spit up on her shirt and tired looking eyes. In her struggle to feed her baby in public, she was trying as hard as she could not to make a scene with her screaming baby. Then she looked at me. I thought she looked beautiful. And in all honestly, I was jealous of her. So I was taken aback when she harshly asked me to stop staring —and I froze.

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How did I look to her? I do not normally give myself compliments, but that day (due to a big meeting) I was wearing a nice dress, 3 inch wedges, my hair was done and I was taking the small opportunity to spoil myself with Starbucks and teacher goodies. Her eyes did not look kindly on me.

A brand new mother balancing a baby with errands, spit up and public feeding I must have looked like a jerk. But in reality, I was green with envy. How was I, a complete stranger, to tell her that my husband and I had been trying to conceive for over 7 years?  That I thought her moment in time was beautiful and that as a new mom, she should should know that she looked amazing doing the best she could? Even the spit ups and the screaming baby in public were cause to make me jealous.

Yes, I have a child. One beautiful, 16 year old, Autistic young girl that was born before I was married. I would love to give my husband a child of his own. We have spent money on surgeries, looked into adoption, we have fought, cried, stopped speaking, gone to church, had angry words with God and asked for forgiveness; only to come back and start all over again. Our journey is a completely different story, but at this moment in time, we are unable to have a child of our own union.

I love my daughter and I thank God I was so blessed with. But I was very young and ignorant when I had her. I wish I could have enjoyed being a mother with her more. A new baby cannot replace her, but the pain and loss of not being able to experience that joy again, tears at my heart every time I see a new mother in distress. Because I envied her.

So, new mom in public with a screaming child, disheveled hair, and stains on your shirt? Please know…you look exquisite to me.


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Sharon Norden
My name is Sharon Norden. I was born and raised by my maternal grandparents in Wichita, Kansas. I graduated college from WSU and I am a big Shocker Fan! I have a wonderful family; my loving husband and a beautiful daughter. We live and attend church in Mulvane. I have proudly taught in the educational system for eight years.