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Mom to Gisele Bundchen: 'We're Not All Supermodels'

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Jessica KatzEveryone has her own idea of how to parent a child, and some notions are crazier than others. I have to admit, I used to be a huge Gisele fan -- until she became a mom. And it isn't just that we had babies days apart and she looks ... well, like a supermodel, and I don't.


First off, her story about her magical home birth in the bathtub sans drugs sounded fantastic, except for the fact that most people need pain meds, don't look amazing right after birth and feel just as connected to their baby when they give birth in the hospital. (Call it the neurotic Jew in me, but I wanted to be in a hospital with lots of doctors around me in case anything went wrong.)

Then she told the world that her 6-month-old son was potty-trained because diapers were bad for the universe (i.e., they're not "green"). I am pretty sure that is impossible. In fact, I know it is. Her baby wakes her up in the middle of the night when he has to pee, lets her know and makes it to a toilet?! Really?

And now Gisele says that breastfeeding should be made a law? While I agree that "breast is best," it doesn't work for everyone -- sometimes for many reasons. I think the most important job of all is to be a good mom for your baby. And if that means you don't have the capacity, energy, health, nipples or time to breastfeed, that's OK. We don't all make eight-figure salaries and have chefs, nannies, private jets and housekeepers.

I was dead set on breastfeeding. I took the classes, bought the bras, the pump, the ointment, the pillow and thought it was the only option. (Aww, the money wasted ....) Then I got sick, and after about two months had to give it up. I felt like a failure. I felt defeated, as though my daughter was missing out on what was best for her. I was convinced that we would never be quite as bonded as other mother-daughter duos -- that is, until a friend reminded me that my job was to be a good, healthy mom for my daughter, and nursing wasn't part of the equation for me. I was so embarrassed every time I pulled out formula that I felt the need to explain my whole medical history. People really could care less about my infections. They stared at me like I was lazy and poisoning my child.

Moms need not judge one another -- we all do the best we can. And while we would all like to look like models and have 6-month-old babies who use the potty, we can be super moms without being supermodels.

next: Going Gaga for Baby Lady Gaga Impersonators
38 comments so far | Post a comment now
Julia August 4, 2010, 3:49 PM

People are making a mountain out of a molehill. It’s a saying in Brazil: “There should be a law…”. People use it ALL THE TIME. Of course she knows not every mother can breastfeed. Although, it cannot be denied that there are plenty of mothers who CAN breastfeed and simply choose not to.

gizelle August 4, 2010, 3:54 PM

she’s out of her mind! potty training at 6 months? perhaps she has a servant walk around with a recyclable cloth.

she’s pretty, but she’s pretty stupid, too.

mccrn98 August 4, 2010, 4:07 PM

There is NO WAY Gisele’s 6 month old is potty trained. It is physically impossible as muscle tone doesn’t develop that early. I think she is full of it or herself. We have to take into consideration that Gisele is new to mothering and VERY inexperienced. She needs to keep her advice to herself as American Moms don’t want to hear her ridiculous advice. Like you, I took all the breast feeding classes but it didn’t work out. My babies did just fine. Gisele, this is America and no one has the right to tell us how we need to feed our babies. It is a personal choice. So, climb back into your little fantasy world and leave us REAL women to tend to our babies the way WE FEEL IS BEST FOR THEM!

Anonymous August 4, 2010, 4:23 PM

ahh, she’s one of those moms… My baby is better than your baby/I’m a better mom than you are. I can’t stand those types of Moms. August 4, 2010, 5:37 PM

She needs to stick to modeling and keep her SOCIALIST mouth shut!!! August 4, 2010, 5:38 PM

She needs to keep her SOCIALIST mouth shut and stick to modeling!!!

Christy August 4, 2010, 6:40 PM

Actually, I think you’re the one being pretty judgemental. No, most moms don’t “need” pain meds, they choose to have them. Yes, it is possible to potty train your child that young and it’s called EC (Elimination Communication). A nanny could not do this; a mother has to be with her child constantly to pick up on the cues that her child needs to go. Yes it works, but it’s difficult to do unless you are attached to your child 24/7. That tells me that she’s probably a pretty fantastic mother. Even through sickness and infection (probably caused by a mishandled hospital birth or mastitis), breastfeeding is still do-able. It’s the lack of information, education, and support in our country that makes women like you believe they can’t do the things that Giselle has chosen to do. Instead you choose to slam her because you feel inadequate. Next time empower yourself and hire a midwife instead of slamming the women who are able to achieve their ideal situation solely through choosing the right provider.

Suchada August 4, 2010, 6:58 PM

Hear hear, Christy. You said exactly what I was thinking. Another point about the potty training/elimination communication — it’s something that many people around the world practice, particularly in rural areas, which may be part of why it’s familiar to Giselle, who I understand grew up in a remote part of Brazil. I learned about it from my mother, who’s from a small village in Thailand. It tends to be misunderstood in the U.S., but it’s something that’s quite easy and fun to do, and a wonderful way to learn more and be close to your child.

natural August 4, 2010, 8:03 PM

Christy…you read my mind :) To the others…stop knocking something because you can’t do it.

Anonymous August 4, 2010, 8:23 PM

This was the most annoying thing I’ve read in a while, and I’m not even talking about Giselle!

Chrystal August 4, 2010, 8:42 PM

Thank you! The guilt we feel for not breastfeesing is punishment enough!

Jackie August 4, 2010, 9:21 PM

Reading Gisele’s comments regarding breast feeding felt like a slap in the face… I had to stop after two months due to medical reasons. It hurts me to know that maybe my daughter missed out on something…. Whatever a mom chooses is up to her— it should be a law to have compassion for moms who are unable to nurse!

tiana August 4, 2010, 9:28 PM

Geez stop knocking gisele. All mothers are snotty “my baby is better than your baby” woman, ESPECIALLY bloggers. Leave her alone. You have opinions too, except less than 100 of the percent that listen to hers listen to yours. Yes she’s a supermodel, she makes the money she can afford what help she has, not anyone can be a model but ANYONE can work hard enough to find a way to make 8 figures. Don’t be mad cause you feel inadequate. She didn’t personally call you out did she? Or let me guess your gonna be the on to “set her straight?” Just stop.

Daiane August 4, 2010, 9:56 PM

As a Brazilian (not a mom) I have to agree with Julia. People are overreacting and not taking into consideration her background. I don’t think she meant that there should be a law literally but that maybe there should be incentives for moms to breastfeed their babies. In Brazil, there are many campaigns about breastfeeding with famous moms encouraging the act. My mom breastfed me for 2 years! She wasn’t a model. She was a stay-at-home mom without all the appliances women in US are used to. It’s part of CULTURE to breastfeed the babies. And I think she is totally right!

Gisele said that her baby poops in the potty, because she knows that after feeding him, he needs to go potty. Peeing is harder.

My mom says she started potty training me when I was 1 year old. We don’t start potty training kids late. Again, culture.

Lemang August 5, 2010, 8:21 AM

About breastfeeding, some women breast feed because they do not have the luxury of buying formula milk, some breastfeed because of medical reasons.

as for potty training, I am remembering that in my culture, teaching a 6month old baby potty training begins by making small talk with the baby, mostly imitating the sound of pee when it leaves the body; “sese…sese..Pappy..or nana..” and the baby will pee. I think she alludes to her tradition as already noted by others.

Deanna August 6, 2010, 11:00 AM

Most women “need” pain meds? No, most women CHOOSE pain meds. Despite the lack of research of long-term effects on the children. You don’t NEED pain meds, you wanted them and chose them. Which is your right, but don’t judge those who don’t.

Lysa August 6, 2010, 7:10 PM

I don’t need Gisele to tell me that I’m not a supermodel. Everyday, my mirror does that!

bored August 8, 2010, 12:06 AM

oh please people really need to get a life .Does anyone really think that mothering is done within the first 6 or even 1 year of life.So u breast fed who cares ,i personally do not plan to breast feed and will take as many drugs as is legal so sue me.
Why don’t you wait until your children are fully grown b4 u start giving yourselves pats on the back for good parenting.Most of you(Gisele included) have not even left the start line yet are congratulating each other on a job well done.
Women should stop trying to make themselves feel good because they have kids and keep competing on who is a better mother.If you child is happy and well adjusted then you have done your job even if you CHOSE not to breast feed.

FM August 8, 2010, 1:25 AM

You say specifically that “moms need not judge one another” and yet you refer to Ms. Bundchen’s parenting choices as crazy—which seems rather judgemental to me.

Elimination communication is a valid choice for any parent, not crazy at all. And it is indeed not only possible, but the norm in many cultures. Just because our Western society practices one method, doesn’t mean its the right one. The trend towards studying the parenting habits of other cultures throughout history and practicing them ourselves is very welcome, in my opinion. We must educate ourselves and learn other methods that are effective. By effective, I don’t just mean just so in making our lives more convenient (although both elimination communication and breast-feeding both make our lives far easier than the other choices in many ways); but effective in caring for our environment as well. If one doesn’t care about the future of our planet and vigilantly do all they can to protect it for our children and future generations, than how could such a person claim to care about our children?
Get hip, not hypocritical.

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