What Mothers Need

I told my online friend “Shelly” in San Diego about the unimplemented policy of former conservative and Catholic Austalian Prime Minister Tony Abbott. to fund much better paid parental leave for new mothers by a levy on the biggest companies in Australia.

Shelly commented:

” Mothers and their needs are often ignored by society. 

Most conservatives would agree that the family is the building block of a free society. Anything that strengthens family, such as allowing new parents more time to bond with their children, strengthens the civil society which acts as a bulwark against tyranny. But good luck getting Americans to see that.

in America it’s the Republicans who would be most opposed to reforms like Abbott’s proposal because any suggestion of new taxes, corporate or individual, is DOA with GOP voters and any mention of increased paid leave of any kind is (wrongly) labeled “socialism”.

America has become very confused about what socialism is.

The right throws the term “socialism” around like the left throws “racism” around. Both now apparently mean anything the speaker doesn’t like, which just trivializes both terms. If everything is racist/socialist then nothing is. Ideologies which have killed millions should not be trivialized.

American hospitals used to allow new mothers to stay overnight or longer to make sure both mother and baby were fit to return home. By the time my mother had me (30 years ago) it was a few hours. By the time my mom had my brother (24 years ago) they pretty much rushed her out of the hospital as soon as my brother was born.

Very dehumanizing.

I don’t know how it is in Australia, but the American health care system treats each patient as a number, rather than as an individual. Like restaurants they want you out as soon as possible to make room for the next “customers”.

That kind of attitude, coupled with relatively high maternal mortality rates in the US, is one of many reasons why Millennial women are turning away from motherhood.”

As a man who was a midwife in Australia for 32 years, I say,

“God Bless You, Shelly,  for your very modern honesty.

I hope your future holds as much or as little motherhood as you need.”

Geoff Fox, Mothers’ Day, 2020, Down Under