By now I imagine you’ve seen or heard about the controversial cover of Time Magazine, about the breastfeeding mom, Jamie Lynne Grumet, and her son, Aram. I know I don’t often post strong opinions on this blog, but it seems to be disingenuous to make this a soft-pitch post.
First, this article is supposed to be about how “we all need to be encouraging each other” about parenting (according to Jamie Lynned Grumet in this interview here). However, you’re introduced to this warm supportive message with a clearly sensationalized photo representing a rather small sector of moms who do extended breastfeeding.
Let me be very clear that I am not criticizing extended breastfeeding. I breastfed and I’m happy to see the growing acceptance of this as a choice that moms make. If a mom is loving her kid and doing the best she can to guide their life in a good direction, each mom’s choice is her personal choice to make. End of story. This isn’t a corporate ladder we’re climbing here.
The problem comes with the way this photo is used to make breastfeeding look odd – on purpose. This particular pose with the mother and child doesn’t paint breastfeeding as nurturing or intimate, but as something weird that’s thrown in your face. And how about all the moms who have tried to breastfeed but couldn’t for whatever reason? What are they supposed to think?
And then there’s what I consider to be the worst part – the headline. “Are You Mom Enough?” is a completely divisive and inflammatory; absolutely unnecessary in this discussion unless you are a magazine trying to sell more copies and subscriptions. Time Magazine has positioned this as a competition among moms from the start.
Long after my depression recovery, ripples of deep self-doubt still roll through me from time to time. As a woman who’s already been through the emotional meat-grinder of postpartum depression and PMDD, the last thing I need to see is a headline meant make me question if I am “enough” as a mom. In my opinion, this headline choice is a cheap tabloid move.
I’m not perfect and I do screw up as a parent sometimes. But I’m darned sure I’m mom enough for my girls, even having been through depression twice and PMDD twice. YOU are also enough as a mom or dad doing what works for your family.
This controversial approach is supposed to make me want to read this article and really dig into the battle between Mommies and their Parenting Methods. The editors and writers who have commented on how they designed this piece have done a nice job justifying their provocative choices in ways that other magazine editors may totally understand and be impressed with. As a reader that’s also a live human being and mother, it just makes me shake my head in disappointment.
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Last reviewed: 11 May 2012