Attachment parenting is getting a lot of attention, from people on all points of the ideological spectrum. This is largely in response to a TIME magazine article on the subject, featuring the now-infamous cover photo of a woman breastfeeding her nearly four-year-old son.
There is the very basic objection that it is virtually impossible to do what the [attachment parenting] advocates say is best for your baby and have a job, which the vast majority of American mothers have these days. . . . But this leads to my second and more profound problem with it. Attachment parenting demands not just certain actions you take with your baby but also certain emotional states to accompany those actions. So, it’s not just enough to breast-feed but one has to experience “breast-feeding induced maternal nirvana.” And it’s not enough to snuggle—you have to snuggle enough to achieve a spiritual high. As Badinter has said, once women were just expected to tolerate their babies, Betty Draper style, but now they are expected to experience “jouissance,” loosely translated as “orgasm.” And this is what makes the movement truly oppressive.
want her child, we have also, as a society, imposed additional
expectations. Oh, sure, no one would
ever force a seventeen-year-old to have an abortion, but really, that’s what
she ought to do– and if she chooses life, we’ll punish her departure from the
social norm with condescending stares at the grocery store. Teens, low-income
women, women who struggle with mental illness– all are looked down upon as
women who “shouldn’t be moms.”
Whether pro-choicers are willing to admit it or not, this attitude is
very much connected to their arguments that abortion is necessary to prevent
kids from growing up in poverty or otherwise having a poor “quality of life.”
norm. How many more classes of women
will be added to the “shouldn’t be moms” club? (Moms who work full-time outside the home,
perhaps?) How many will be told that
they cannot give their unborn baby the life that he or she deserves? How many will be pressured into having an
as a scientific matter. Psychologists
who research parenting and child development have developed a theory of “good enough” parenting, which posits that a parental focus on attaining perfection is counterproductive. Obviously, abuse and neglect are horrible and unacceptable. But once you get above that basic threshold,
parents actually have a lot of leeway.
Kids turn out just fine within a huge range of parenting styles, from
attachment parenting to “free range” and everything in between.
say: “You don’t have to be perfect to be a perfect parent.” Pro-lifers need to spread this message far