Yesterday morning I met with a lovely life coach who had stumbled across my blog. Her special area of interest is new mothers and to this end she wishes to put on a series of workshops and panel discussions next year. I was meeting with her because she is interested in having me on one of the panels. I’ll keep you updated next year.
After Lathamgate yesterday it is more important than ever to host these events for new mothers. Latham indicated that if you work you don’t love your kids, if you take medication you’re a coward, if you do anything at all for yourself you’re selfish. But this is hardly the first attack levelled against mothers. There’s a whole industry out there just to guilt mothers. If you use controlled crying your child will be psychologically damaged, if you cosleep your child will end up with an Oedipus Complex plus never be able to sleep on their own, if you give your baby mushy food it goes against nature, if you don’t give your baby mushy food they won’t be able to digest enough nutrients, you have to exclusively breast feed for at least six months preferably 24 months if you truly want your kid to be healthy, if you don’t bottle feed you won’t know how much your child is consuming, if you use disposable diapers you are killing the environment by increasing landfill, if you use cloth nappies you are killing the environment through water pollution, if you put your baby in a forward facing pram they are traumatised because they have lost their connection with you, if you put them in a backward facing pram they’re development is impaired by lack of new stimulation, if you put them in a pram of any kind you aren’t bonding with your baby because you must wear your baby, if you wear the incorrect carrier you are causing your children hip dysplasia, if you walk near your child as they play you’re over parenting and denying them the ability to explore, if you let your child out of arms reach they could get hurt or stolen and you’re an irresponsible parent, it takes a community to raise a child, grandparents are overused, too many kids are in childcare. I could go on. There isn’t an area where mothers aren’t judged. So not surprisingly, what I have termed, Postnatal Anxiety, is at an all time high. So that’s why we as mothers need to stand up and say ENOUGH. Different but safe choices are fine. Any event, cause, article, program that helps mothers to do that is invaluable.
As most people know, I’m a bit of a writer (a lot of a ranter) and I do enjoy a good Writers’ Festival. I think it’s time that we had Mother Festivals. Not Mother and Baby shows where merchandise is pushed on us and there are one or two speakers but an actual festival that focuses on connections and relationships rather than products. I was at the Emerging Writers’ Roadshow the other week and as always the first panel was 5×5. Five authors sat down and gave the five best pieces of advice they wished they had when they started writing. This same premise could be used for a mothers festival. Panels on multiple births, ethical responsibilities, juggling work, staying at home, maintaining a sense of identity, Postnatal Depression are just the tip of the iceberg for discussions to be put on in various rooms. Sure, have a market where people can buy stuff but we’ve got enough festivals for consumerism, so just have that small and on the side. Let’s get the focus back where it needs to be, support and wellbeing, not judgement or product placement.
Now go out and hug a fellow mother today and tell her you respect the heck out of her.
Any women who suffer from any form of depression or anxiety are welcome to join my own FB group which is pro mystical troll but doesn’t allow any nasty trolling.