|Image from Luscious Lactivist|
Here was my response:
As the subject heading suggests, I am not even sure where to begin. I thought this post was possibly intended for The Onion or an equally satiric online news magazine but alas, it is not. To make matters worse, PT blogs are typically not a platform for propaganda, so this leaves me wondering, are you interested as a psychologist and one who seemingly specializes in ethics, to actually help women realize their full potential as mothers or perpetuate the multiple manifestations and experiences of shame and oppression already experienced by women and mothers on a daily basis? In fact, as I am writing this comment, I think this post is antithetical to your so called professional efforts and engagement in ethics and quite unprofessional to boot. In your numerous publications, is there anywhere that states as a therapist the ethical thing to do when you think your client may be headed down a path that you subjectively perceive as being “wrong” or disagree with is to tell them what they are doing is “evil”? Is that what you were teach your university students?
As a mother to a beautiful, healthy, happy and immensely smart formula-fed 5 year-old, therapist, feminist activist and researcher my work on a daily basis centers around advocating for the health and well-being of both women and children nationally and globally. Among many of my professional and personal efforts is to offer education and advocacy around the benefits of breastfeeding, as well as the benefits of knowing your own personal physical and psychological boundaries and what works for you as a mother and woman in the environment that you live. While I have no problem with bluntness, as you suggest you feel you need to be, I too believe in bluntness. So, not to consider women in their social, political, physical and psychological environment and to flat out say with such seemingly lack of consciousness and naiveté “Moms, if you hate to touch and be touched, you can change. If you, like me, developed an avoidant attachment style, you learned to shun intimacy. With a loving partner, you can change. You can learn to cuddle and enjoy it.” Really?! Do you have a magic silver bullet treatment to work quickly with adults who have an avoidant attachment style in time for women to feed their kids before they starve to death, because since formula is risky, evil, junk, they shouldn’t eat until their mom’s attachment and relational style is repaired, right?
If this is sounding like a personal response, that’s because it is. I take very personally the messages that are sent specifically by women on behalf of other women that functions to take away any opportunities for choice and agency, let alone women who are in positions of power. While there is definitely a time and a place to offer women, new moms and moms-to-be objective information, as well as supportive and encouraging words and resources to implement this important and life-giving information so that they can make the best decision for themselves and their families, this is not what you did. You used terror tactics. I didn’t know we as therapists were in the business of needing to cure individual’s misgivings with terror and hurt? What you did was more like providing an environment of shame, fear, hurt and indignation. Was this really the only option of communicating the importance of breastfeeding? I really hope that you are able to reflect on your post and see if you can not reconsider your approach in working with women around breastfeeding and maternal mental health, we really need each other to support, nurture and care for one another’s overall well being without fear of attack, shame and guilt.
I really personally and professionally needed to share this with you loyal WCC community members and blog readers... hope you will feel free to comment, share your voice here an on the PT website!