To pierce or not to pierce – that is the question

Where I’m from, girls ears are pierced more or less at birth.

This act of putting a small hole in both ears in the first weeks of a baby girl’s life was done for me, my cousins, my mum and possibly all the women in my family. In fact, girls of Gem’s age back in Nigeria would have a set of earrings for their mums to choose to wear for them by now.

Now the dilemma arises for me because this doesn’t get done as instantaneously for baby girls here in the United Kingdom as what I’m used to and not only does it not happen, people have very strong views against this being done.

I was listening to LBC radio recently and Katie Hopkins (ex apprentice star always in search of publicity) was going on about how she’s keen to screen the friends her kids make. For instance, she’d hate it if her daughter was hanging around “Charmaine with the pierced ears and pink leggings” – her exact words.

The breastapo are out there judging people for failing to exclusively breastfeed. Once again, I feel like I will be judged and in addition to that, according to Kate Hopkins, I could be destroying my child’s friend-making prospects because of an ear-piercing trip to Claire’s Accessories? A trip – which in the part of Africa where I grew up – is well and truly overdue.

I mean, my mother had to stand up for me and explain categorically to my Aunty who was here on holiday that we needed to wait until Gem had all her jabs before her ears were pierced. My Aunty couldn’t mentally compute why Gem’s ears hadn’t been pierced at birth.

This issue of being stuck in between two opposing cultures raises it’s ugly head very often and is sometimes hard to bear.

As I live here in the UK, I’m not sure how many times I can go through explaining why we have chosen to inflict pain on our child. I can already see the faces of the NCT lot who I find quite judgemental and painful to hang out with anyway. See Mummyland – the playground mentality.

A part of me thinks I’d better live my life doing what I believe is best for my child as her mum regardless of what culturally might be wrong or right.

Quite frankly, the judgement of mine and ❤Throb’s actions for her will not end at whether or not we pierce her ears. It will carry on to what childcare option we use, school choices, what we do or don’t feed her, whether we let her go out till late etc etc.

To end this post, I will say thank goodness that we didn’t end up giving our Gem-of-a-daughter a name like Chardonnay or Charmaine in the end. With pierced ears and a name like that, she might have been consigned to appearing on TOWIE as opposed to studying PPE and Astrophysics (obviously at the same time) in Cambridge like we really want. 😉



9 thoughts on “To pierce or not to pierce – that is the question

  1. At Amummymuses thanks for posting this subject, I felt the strong urge to comment, because this issue is one I feel very strongly about. Must state I am not a Mother yet but totally appreciate that I may not fully comprehend the sort of judgement you encounter when making decisions about Gem. However, please try not to stop the explanation, because it is the only we can educate; unfortunately the media is not at all helping.
    Whilst I am fully in support of a well integrated society, I also support a society that allows us to be our own individuals, we are not judged harshly by our choices, and we do not lose our identity in trying to “integrate”. Back home as you rightly stated piercing a baby girl’s ears shortly after birth is what we do, in fact the new Grand Mothers look forward to that time like Christmas day with the gold diamond encrusted earrings. I suppose a time will come that you might be judged perhaps about braiding Gem’s hair – (lack of understanding of how painful combing natural hair is), living in an area where plantain is not sold, list goes on. There are so many things we deal with to integrate and not be stereotyped but at some point, one has to decide, whose life is this?!
    Whether Gem pierces her ears, braids, decides to call herself Charmaine or Chardonnay will not define her future – whatever the case, society will learn to accept her for the person she is and stands for. Let us not let attention seeking, media hungry, playground mentality individuals etc turn us into chameleons, and make you think you are making a bad choice as a parent.
    When Gem decides to run for Prime Minister the deciding factor will not be about whether she has earrings or clip-on, drank breast milk! – for me and the majority, it will be about her stance on whether I continue to have free TV licence and/or she gives my pension to bail out her fellow Cambridge cronies.
    Final words, please try not to give up on the explanation. xoxo

  2. Just spotted your post at brit Mums and wanted to comment. My 14 year old daughter asked to have her nose pierced recently and has since gone on to have it done, with my permission. I’m with the idea of being the individuals we are and challenge the norm. We live in what i would describe as a small “c” conservative area, some would say back of beyond. Anyway ears are ok, nose, well that throws you into new territory, my daughter is now a “rebel”!!!!!!! Honestly have people nothing better to do. I like that my daughter has made her own decision and interestingly has not had her ears pierced. She is taking responsibility for keeping it clean and it looks lovely.
    The more we stand up for who we are and what we believe in the better. And would you even want your child to be frinds with people with such narrow views? X

    • Thanks a lot Mairi. I like your comment.

      Apart from you and her Father, it is nobody’s business if your daughter decides to get her nose pierced. In fact it will teach her responsibility and I can imagine she’ll look cute with it.

      I just wish people will live and let live.


  3. I hate how judgemental fellow mums can be. At the end of the day its completely up to you and Gem’s father what you do with her ears! I really think its down to personal taste. I was a new mum in North London with my first son and I learnt to find the mums who would just let me be me and not hang out with the ones who wanted identikit children and lives. We were a motley crew in the end but we were happy!

    • Thanks for your comment.

      It should be more a live-and-let-live approach.

      Wow – another similarity – apart from our musing nature of course. We live in North London at the moment and love it. I have made some good mummy friends here.

      We are moving to Herts once house purchase goes through.

      Where did you move to?

  4. We went through the same thing with our daughter. My husband is Spanish and piercing your baby daughter’s ears is the norm in Spain, whereas it’s so not here! We decided not to until she is older – personal choice. I think there is such pressure on parents to conform in so many areas of parenting, it’s really quite exhausting. I think, do what you decide is right for yourselves and your children and forget what others think – for all you know they may secretly be wishing they had pierced their daughter’s ears! x

  5. Pingback: What is the point of Ms Hopkins? | amummymuses

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