Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Mommy War Criminals and Heroes

I have a real disdain for the "Mommy Wars" - they have turned mothers against one another, and have distracted women from working together to identify and solve the very real problems with which modern women and families must contend. As a result of the "Mommy Wars", motherhood has become a polarized battleground with women arguing and criticizing the specific choices that other mothers make. There's been a whole lot of yelling, and not a whole lot of listening - many mothers have become caricatures and even more have become casualties. Worse yet - the focus on what really matters has been lost and opportunities to realize progress on the issues faced by women who happen to be mothers have been foregone.

This is not to say I do not think that there is not a war to be fought - there most certainly is, but it should not be women waging war on one another, but rather women waging war on the substantive problems faced by women as they contend with motherhood.

I think that the emotional health and wellness of mothers is worth fighting for - this means that resources need to be directed into better understanding and addressing the mental health needs of mothers. There is a lot about modern motherhood that is emotionally toxic to women - from unreasonable expectations about what being a "good mother" is to the stigma associated with admitting difficulty in coping with the circumstances in which a woman finds herself.

I think the physical health and wellness of mothers is worth fighting for - this means enabling women to have timely access to adequate healthcare that promotes and maintains health and wellness. This also means that mothers need to be full partners in their health care and given evidence based information on their choices and empowered to make the choices that best meet their needs and those of their families. It also means that more research on the physical health and wellness of mothers needs to be undertaken - including research on the impacts of pregnancy and childbirth that goes beyond pregnancy and the 6 weeks post-partum.

I think the economic health and wellness of mothers is worth fighting for - many mothers face substantive challenges with regards to being economically healthy. Mothers need tools and support to address the economic challenges they face constructively and to make positive steps towards economic adequacy.

People who blindly promote an ideology and make mothers feel bad about their choices in order to feel better about their own choices - should be considered mommy-war criminals.

In contrast, people who work to support the emotional, physical or economic health and wellbeing of women who happen to be mothers should be celebrated as heroes.

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