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The sexist underpinnings of the 'natural motherhood' movement

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18.03.2019

I am not usually one to enter the fray of the mummy wars. Fortunately, my kids are now old enough that I am a bit removed from the white-hot intensity of it, particularly those early years when – for my generation of mothers – the working mother/stay at home mother schism was further complicated by the arrival of a generation of fierce adherents to so called “attachment parenting”, or as I liked to call them, “the cult of natural mothers”.

These mothers insisted on spending every waking (and, well, sleeping) minute in complete devotion to their offspring: wearing them, breastfeeding them until they were old enough to order a cocktail, co-sleeping, growing and preparing organic mush daily (never freeze... you might “lose nutrients”), and swearing off most toys and other modern conveniences lest they be rife with “toxins”.

The cult of natural motherhood is the latest manifestation in a long history of reducing women’s bodies and lives to status objects to mark class privilege.Credit:Shutterstock

Most controversially, some espoused the dangers of vaccine-related injury.

Generally speaking, most insisted or heavily implied that any other “good mother” would do the same.

This just wasn’t a hill I wanted to die on – debating what it meant to be a “good mother” with a bunch of ideologues. And, as time passed, I found that common sense and practicality often prevailed, as some of the more enthusiastic early adaptors in my circle saw the light.

But as the natural mothering trend has been turbo-charged recently via its marriage with the growing influence of celebrity mummy/wellness bloggers (for whom it is a central brand value as they seek to not only profit off of this nonsense, but shame mothers for whom the cost of this lifestyle is unattainable) I have found myself willing to play the part of Wonder........

© Canberra Times