Mothers need to be there for their babies

When a New York, Jewish psychoanalyst who is, predictably, a political liberal, has her book shunned by the mainstream media, there has to be something very wrong with it.

And you can see what the problem is just by reading the title: Being There: Why Prioritizing Motherhood in the First Three Years Matters.

That the author, Erica Komisar, even thinks there is a state called “motherhood” marks her straight off as an old-fashioned binary sex-role thinker.

As for “prioritising” being a mother for three years – she must be mad. How are women to maintain their jobs and careers?

Has she never heard of gender equality in the family? Does she not know that men can do child care just as well as women if they really try?

These are the kind of sentiments (not my own) that must have driven an interviewer for Good Morning America to tell Ms Komisar, seconds before the camera went live, “I don’t believe in the premise of your book at all. I don’t like your book.”

And that, according to The Wall Street Journal, was about the only air time she got with a major outlet apart from Fox & Friends, which liked her book a lot.

But let’s cut to the chase. Erica Komisar knows a thing or two. Unlike most gender theorists she has clocked up three decades of clinical practice, first as a social worker and then as an analyst.

She has raised three children, and put off writing her book for 12 years to be “emotionally and physically present” to them. Presumably she kept her professional practice going for some of that time.

It was her professional experience, however, that made the book necessary. She told WSJ:

“What I was seeing was an increase in children being diagnosed with ADHD and an increase in aggression in children, particularly in little boys, and an increase in depression in little girls.”

More youngsters were also being diagnosed with “social disorders” whose symptoms resembled those of autism – “having difficulty relating to other children, having difficulty with empathy.”

Komisar came to the conclusion that it was “the absence of mothers in children’s lives on a daily basis was … one of the triggers for these mental disorders.” Continue reading

  • Carolyn Moynihan is a New Zealand journalist with a special interest in family issues, and is deputy editor of MercatorNet.
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