Being a new mom is supposed to be an exciting time for women, however, “sanctimoms” are lurking in the shadows waiting to crush the excitement. Britney Joray, 29 of Monson, Massachusetts and Tessa Colon, 19 of Holyoke, Massachusetts are both new moms but have experienced two very different versions of parenting. Joray experienced the unsolicited suggestions while Colon experienced judgemental and hurtful comments. Joray has a 15-month old son while Colon has a 3 year old and a 7-month old. “Your life is officially over,” a sentence heard by both women when they were pregnant.
Age may play a role in why both women received different treatment. Colon is a teen mom who had dropped out to care for her first son, Jayden but did receive her GED and is currently attending college courses. Joray is a much older mom who had different life experiences prior to becoming a mom. Colon was told multiple times that she was “too young” and to “enjoy depending on the government to care for her kids.” Though she is a single mother, she takes care of her kids without government assistance and attends school. Joray has been told to “read certain books” and to “not give her son a binky at all.”
Parenting is hard enough without the judgement of other parents claiming to know what is right and wrong. Both of these women live different lives, are of different age and parent differently from one another but there is one thing that makes them the same; they are moms. Despite the criticism, Colon has adjusted to her life as a teen mom and is thriving well. “I was told that I will never amount to anything in life,” said Colon. She is studying to become a forensic anthropologist. She believes that if she puts her mind to it, she can do anything even with the harsh judgments.
Both Tessa and Britney have parented the way they see fit to what is best for their child/children. “Listen to your kid and hear what they need,” said Joray, “that is what I did and that is what worked for me.” Colon said, “I make mistakes but I learn every day how to be a better mom by simply listening to my kids and remembering that they rely on me to take care of them.” Both agree that they love being moms and would not change it for anything despite the issues they may face every day.
Britney Joray holds signs with sentences she heard while she was pregnant with Oliver. (photos courtesy of Danielle Viens)