Moms Get the 'Nevertheless, She Persisted' Treatment -- & It's Perfect

Nevertheless, She Persisted
courtneympruitt/Instagram

They say it takes a village to raise a child, but these days that village seems a lot louder than it used to be. As soon as you become a mom, family members, friends, and perfect strangers come crawling out of the woodwork to offer their unsolicited advice. As the mom of two young kids, I know firsthand how difficult it can be to feel confident in your decisions when you've got a dozen people screaming at you to use cloth diapers, throw away the pacifier, and put a coat on your kid when it's 70 degrees outside. Sometimes simply standing your ground as a parent is an amazing feat, as evidenced by this stunning piece of art by Courtney Privett that borrows the popular phrase, "Nevertheless, she persisted," in celebration of the strength it takes to be a mom.

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The drawing features a mom standing with her two kids and staring at speech bubble after speech bubble of advice and cruel comments. "Breastfeeding is gross and unnecessary," reads one. Another asks, "Did you have an epidural? A C-section? A natural birth?" A third one reads, "She'll never become independent if you keep carrying her."

Beside the mom, in bold dark print, it says, "Nevertheless, she persisted."

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You might recall a few weeks ago when Senator Elizabeth Warren was voted into silence by fellow members of Congress as she attempted to share testimony in opposition to the nomination of Jeff Sessions for attorney general. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell described the vote by saying, "She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted."

The phrase became a rallying cry for women tired of being silenced and told their opinions and lived experiences don't matter. It also inspired hundreds of artists -- like Privett, who sells her work on Zazzle -- to illustrate their own adaptations of times women have persisted against sexism, racism, discrimination, judgment, and impossible odds.

In her Instagram caption, Privett explained why she decided to take the viral phrase and apply it to motherhood:

From the moment we make a pregnancy or adoption intent public, we are bombarded with commentary, much of it conflicting. 15-20% of new mothers experience a postpartum mood disorder such as postpartum depression, anxiety, OCD, psychosis, bipolar disorder, and PTSD. These disorders are influenced by hormones, but they can also be triggered or exasperated by a lack of appropriate support, and they can occur in the perinatal period in addition to postpartum. Fathers and adoptive parents can also develop these disorders.

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It's easy to overlook the strength it takes to parent in today's world. Not only do as many as one in seven new moms get postpartum depression, as Privett pointed out, but we're also subject to constant scrutiny. People have no problem inserting their opinions on everything from co-sleeping to formula to circumcision, and they have no problem bashing parents with whom they disagree.

These days, parents have to contend with more than just nosy neighbors or a particularly judgy mom at school. We've also got people online scrutinizing our photos to make sure we're using the right car seat, and new studies coming out every day that tell us what to eat, how to act, and which seemingly innocuous toy is suddenly toxic, dangerous, and reserved for bad moms only.

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Motherhood comes with a constant chorus of voices that tells you not to trust your gut, not to make your own choices, and that you may never be good enough. Nevertheless, we persist. We soldier on through postpartum mood disorders, a lack of paid family leave, no places to pump breast milk, rampant mom-shaming, the terrible twos, encounters with sanctimommies, and anything else motherhood can throw our way.

We shouldn't have to deal with so much bullsh-t, but until things change, we'll keep showing up anyway -- not because we're super human, but because we're moms, and persisting through any amount of adversity in order to raise good, kind, and healthy kids is kind of our thing.

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