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20/10/2011 / melgardener

Motherhood and the Judgement Juggernaut

I’ve been very interested in the discussion over at Mamamia which has occurred around Jacinta Tynan’s piece on motherhood (both this most recent story and her earlier story which caused such uproar).

I can completely understand Jacinta’s reasoning behind her stories. I truly don’t believe she is trying to say she is better than any other mother and I never thought for one minute that she was passing judgement on anyone who did not share her point of view or mirror her exact experiences.

But…

I can also see the point of view that mums who are struggling (with or without PND) may feel judged or, more importantly, use these two stories as a way to further judge themselves. I get that if you feel like a failure, it doesn’t help to read someone else’s success story.

But…

Why shouldn’t Jacinta be able to tell her story? It is, after all, her own story – and she’s not claiming to tell anyone else’s.

But…

Should we not be a caring society? If our actions are hurting someone else, doesn’t that matter? If Jacinta could reasonably forsee that her story might cause grief to another mum, should she have written it?

But…

Why is it Jacinta’s fault that someone else is struggling? And, if others are struggling, why should that negate her positive story?

But…

Some commentators have agreed with Jacinta and thanked her for sharing the positive light she shines on her experience of motherhood. Doesn’t she have a responsibility to those mums to make them feel good?

This whole palaver has made me wonder why we judge ourselves so harshly? And why do we compare ourselves to others when it is such a fruitless occupation? Surely it shouldn’t matter what anyone else does or doesn’t do – we are our own person with our own personal responses and circumstances.

Except that it does matter and we will always compare. Is it just women? It may not be, but I never hear angst such as this from my male friends. Maybe this topic is only as contentious as it’s become because of the subject matter – parenting. Does it raise so many hackles because this is the one life task that none of us wish to believe we could possibly fail? Fail is very much the wrong word but it’s how many of us feel when we are struggling and not coping – particularly in the early years where sleep deprivation can take such a huge toll.

Where do you stand on this issue? Does your experience of parenthood match Jacinta’s? Do you feel judged by her story?

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