Thursday, February 05, 2009

The Motherhood Crazies

This wasn't at all what I was going to write about today, but I really wanted to share something, or I should say someone, I stumbled upon while listening to NPR.

On Wednesday's broadcast of The State of Things on our local affiliate WUNC, the discussion was about Postpartum Depression (PPD) and it's effects on both mother and child's health as well as how it is treated and responded to in our current society. According to the show at least 15% of new mothers experience PPD, but most experts believe that number is low as many mothers simply do not seek help.

It was a very interesting discussion and wonderful to learn that some of the greatest advances in helping PPD moms are being made right here in the Triangle. (Click here to listen.)

However, the most exciting thing to me was one of the panelists they had participating. Faulkner Fox is a local author and mother who has written a book about her experiences with new motherhood called, Dispatches from a Not-So-Perfect Life: or How I Learned to Love the House, the Man, the Child. I was very intrigued simply by the title but also her contributions to the discussion. She was speaking about the pressures to be the 'perfect' mother that society places on mothers. To say I was doing my best bobble-head impression would be underestimating my reaction. I found myself identifying with so much of what she was saying.

After listening to the discussion on my drive home from playgroup, I quickly logged on to the library site to see if her book was available. I intend to check it out as soon as possible and devour as time allows. Want to join me?

In the meantime, I also found myself nodding in agreement while reading an article she has written about mommies judging other mommies and the harmful effects of this kind of behavior. In all honesty, I've found the constant judgments from other parents to be one of the greatest challenges of being a new parent. And, I'm guilty of it myself. I've found my network of mommy bloggers to be one of mostly support but occasionally there are lurkers out there waiting to spew their ugliness (see anonymous commenter on this post of Steph's or Razzle on Kristen's fabulous post).

For my part, I try to be honest in my writing about the challenges, emotional ups and downs, and stresses of motherhood. I try not to hide it. I prefer not to just write about the happiness that my son and family bring me but also my struggles. I want other mothers to know that being a mother is not easy... not for me anyway.

So, I guess what I want to know from you is how can we change it? How do we stop with the ridiculous judgments and move forward to form a community of mommies? How will you yourself make an effort to change?


Crossposted at Triangle Mamas.


Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I think it's hard not to fall into the judgment trap--women are not kind enough to each other as a rule--there is a strange competition intead of community--and a lot of weird guilt carried around to boot. I wonder if it wasn't simpler to just be a mom and help other moms--instead of work and spread ourselves so thin that we can't help each other out nor do we admit we need help. Just a theory.

Suzi said...

I listened to that too yesterday on the way home. It was a great conversation!

Midwest Mom said...

I guess I just try to share what works for our family and urge new moms I know to be patient with themselves. I remember the transition to motherhood being so difficult for me -- at times I felt like I just wanted to run away. But I talked to my own mother about it (a lot) and got through it with a little time and work.

I think one way to help new moms is to encourage them to get together with other new moms. When my first was born, I knew three other women having first babies at my church. They ended up being my island of sanity in babyland.

Thanks for this post today, Abby. It touches on some important issues. - Julia

Miche said...

You make such a great point-us girls need to help each other out instead of trying to tear each other down. I guess all we can do is be as supportive as possible, even to the "haters", because they must really feel down about themselves if they are trying to tear others down.