There are soooo many things no one ever tells women before they become moms. Too many things, actually — which is why our new digital original series, Modern Motherhood, exists.
Each Modern Motherhood episode provides a real, unfiltered exploration of an issue like breastfeeding, body image, pelvic floor problems, postpartum mental health and more. On Monday, dozens of moms gathered at Made by We in New York City to eat brunch, sip mimosas and discuss the raw realities of new motherhood with Sheinelle Jones, co-anchor of TODAY’s third hour and Weekend TODAY, and Catherine Belknap and Natalie Telfer, the Toronto comedy duo better known as Cat and Nat for their hilarious “Mom Truths” videos. Sheinelle and Cat each have three children; Nat is a mom of four.
The funny, freewheeling discussion shed light on the isolation many new moms feel. Nat recalled how shell-shocked she and her longtime friend Cat felt when they first became stay-at-home moms.
“We were never alone, but we felt so lonely,” Nat said, noting that this pervasive sense of loneliness prompted the pair to start sharing videos online with the aim of creating a “sisterhood of motherhood.”
“Do you ever get to feeling like you know what you’re doing as a mom?” Sheinelle asked Cat and Nat. They confessed that they’re always learning and growing as their kids enter new phases.
“Every year, you’re a new mom,” Cat said, adding that every phase is as different as every child from the same family.
“Each child is a different language,” Sheinelle said, revealing that she often wonders to herself about her three kids: “I’m the same me, but how are you all so different?”
Monday’s Modern Motherhood discussion touched on pelvic floor issues such as urinary incontinence and body image issues such as stretch marks. Cat and Nat mentioned that during a recent vacation with their two families, the kids thought Nat didn’t know how to swim because she wanted to stay covered up rather than take a dip in the pool. Eventually, though, Nat decided to stop feeling so self-conscious, and she had a blast swimming with all the kids.
“Confidence comes from practice,” Cat said. “You’ve got to keep doing it.”
Sheinelle shared some candid thoughts about stretch marks.
“If there was a cream where I could wipe it away, fine — but there is a point where you look in the mirror and you think: You know what? I earned this,” she said.
The discussion also delved into the painful realities of mom judging.
“I think sometimes the judging comes out of the insecurities of the judger,” Nat said.
Cat said she’s developed her own philosophy about mom judging.
“Women are their own worst mom judgers and mom shamers,” Cat said. “We wake up thinking, ‘I’m a bad mom’ ... but we can flip the script.”
More from our Modern Motherhood series: