'90 Day Fiancé' 's Paola Mayfield Opens Up About Mommy Shamers: 'I Don't Need to Change Who I Am'

"I try not to let [mommy shamers] affect me, but sometimes it makes be double think my decisions," Paola Mayfield shared with PEOPLE

Paola Mayfield Axel
Photo: Paola Mayfield/Instagram

Paola Mayfield is more than confident about her abilities as a mom, but that doesn’t mean comments implying the contrary don’t get to her at times.

The 90 Day Fiancé star spoke with PEOPLE on Tuesday at the Summer of Love with 90 Day Fiancé event in New York City — which she attended alongside husband Russ Mayfield — and opened up about how she has handled mom-shaming remarks since welcoming son Axel on Jan. 1.

“People think that because I became a mother, I had to stop being like the way I was. That I had to start dressing as a mom, and I don’t even know what that means,” said Paola. “I don’t need to change who I am, because I was proud of who I was before I was a mom.”

“How I raise my kids, the things I need to do, they have an opinion about how for me to be a mom,” she added. “How I dress or the things that I do are not going to change who I am or the great mother I am because I love my son. But a lot of moms try to make me feel bad, that I’m not a great mom.”

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Paola Mayfield, Russ Mayfield
Paola and Russ Mayfield. Amanda Edwards/Getty

While the new mother usually strives “to ignore the bad comments” and “not to let them affect” her, she can’t always be a solid wall in that regard.

“Sometimes it makes be double think my decisions and it makes me wonder if I did something right or wrong,” she told PEOPLE. “But the decisions I am making for my son are in my heart.”

According to Russ, the shaming has “inspired” his wife as opposed to dimmed her light. “She received the backlash and she was like, ‘No, this is who I am and I’m not going to change because you suddenly think I’m supposed to be this stay-at-home mom,’ ” he told PEOPLE. “I have responded to them to show my support. She doesn’t need to change who she is and we want to teach our son to be yourself.”

“That’s what Paola’s taught me throughout this journey together: to be yourself and be proud of it,” Russ praised his wife. “So I don’t feel like she’s doing anything wrong. We need to continue maintaining that mentality.”

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Paola has been on the receiving end of multiple mom-shaming comments since sharing she was expecting last year. In November, some people started calling out the reality star for owning a pit bull while being pregnant after she posted a snapshot where she posed with her dog, Phoebe.

“My dog isn’t a pit bull she is a hound mix and she is the sweetest dog,” Paola responded to one fan who asked her to “please never allow a pit bull around your child.”

In an impassioned message shared on Instagram earlier that month — alongside a video showing off her baby bump and backside in a bathroom mirror while wearing a white halter top and thong underwear — the reality star preemptively dismissed critical comments about her body by implying to her followers that they should keep negative thoughts to themselves.

“No I’m not worried what my kid’s friends will say about me when they see my photos or videos, that is way down the road for me to even worry about. Plus, I haven’t even pushed this baby out yet lol!😂,” she wrote. “I’m not changing just because I’m pregnant or becoming a mom, I was proud before of who I am and what I’ve done so there’s nothing to be ashamed of 😏”

New episodes of 90 Day Fiancé: Happily Ever After? premiere Sundays at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

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