Mother, Interrupted


In response to the recent Pathways to Family Wellness article, “The Cover Shot Heard ‘Round the World: An Interview with Conscious Parenting Revolutionary, Jamie Grumet” we were inspired to write this blog.

We were all minding our own business, parenting as we wished and then, boom, the Time magazine cover with the caption “Are You Mother Enough?” Attention was directed all over to a style of parenting coined by Dr. William Sears, known as Attachment Parenting. Was it wrong? Was it right? Was it pornographic? Was it damaging?  As we watched the chatter unfold, we thought the wrong questions were being asked.  If it were recognized that attachment starts at the moment of conception, this type of controversy would actually never exist. 

According to Attachment Parenting International, API, the concept is defined as such: “The attachment quality that forms between parents and children, learned from the relational patterns with caregivers from birth on, correlates with how a child perceives – and ultimately is able to experience – relationships.”   

Just from birth? We theorized that perhaps the conversation would be enhanced if it included the intrauterine attachment period from conception through birth. 

At no other time during life can humans possibly be more attached than during pregnancy. During this period of primal attachment, the mother and baby are in absolute physical connection between the umbilical cord and the placenta and are also in emotional connection as a result of the neuropeptides being exchanged along this pathway between mother and child. This extraordinary period of development literally creates the motherbaby bond.  Every thought, emotion and feeling that is occurring in the mother is being shared and directing the development of her baby. In fact, the baby is also communicating via a complex elixir of hormones back to its mother its every need. Isn’t this attachment at it very core?

Expectant parents are taught what medical test they will encounter, how many calories to eat every day, how much weight to gain, signs of labor and how to time contractions, but who is telling them that there is a sentient person inside them that desperately needs their love and attention. Yes, their attention. Attachment parenting starts on an emotional level the moment they become mindful of their baby as a person.  Once this occurs, it becomes unthinkable to endure any separation from your child. And thus, the concept of attachment parenting is something mothers would do just as a biological drive.

Unfortunately, the circuit board to this drive has been fried as a result of the culture we live in. Pregnant women are not honored nor are they given the support, love and attention they need. Instead of experiencing deep connections with their babies, pregnant mothers are inundated with what to do, what to buy, and what the next trend is. They are plugging in to everything outside themselves – computers, smart phones, tablets, television, anything to shift their focus and numb their emotions. We function on overdrive all day so that true emotional connection becomes exhausting and something that we have to take time to “do”. How can we expect parents to attach to their children when they don’t even have an opportunity to attach to themselves based on the societal pressures and lack of support?

We are a society of mothers, interrupted. It is no wonder seeing a child who is actually attached to his mother is so disconcerting. It’s like seeing food when you have been starving. You want it, you need it, but you don’t quite trust that its there.  It points the finger at what you have been missing. It’s deeply uncomfortable.

The conversation started with the Time magazine cover. Can we turn the page? Can we shift from the controversy of the cover and read between the lines to see what the true message in attachment parenting really is?  It’s about the fact that if we provided the kind of love and support to families, there would be no real need to label the types of parenting. There would just be parenting, simple as that. What is it that every family needs at the heart of their family? It is love.

While visionaries like Dr. Sears, have forged the way for so many to stand up for what families really need, it is about time that we come to the place when the terms attachment and parenting should no longer need to be used together because they are synonymous. It is time that the covers of Time and Pathways to Family Wellness are simply both seen as a day in the life of an average family – no more, no less. We see a mother taking care of the biological and emotional needs of her child, trusted and uninterrupted.



“We currently live in an ‘intermezzo’ moment of history: caught in a precarious time-lag between the academic acceptance of the primacy of attachment, and the necessary but incomplete transformation of culture and practice. In other words: the scientists get it, but many doctors, nurses, and parents still don’t (and the media? Forget it!).”

Pathways to Family Wellness' Fall Issue 2012 imagePathways to Family Wellness’ Fall Issue 2012


Pathways to Family Wellness magazine delivers the whole story behind the controversial Time magazine cover that cashed in on parent guilt and American cultural breastfeeding taboos  by featuring Los Angeles mom, Jamie Grumet, nursing her three year-old with the offensive cover title, “Are You Mom Enough?” in May 2012.

In “The Cover Shot Heard ‘Round the World: An Interview with Conscious Parenting Revolutionary Jamie Grumet”, the homeschooling mother of two reveals why she posed for the Time cover, her disappointment in being used as a pawn in the media-invented mommy wars and how she and her family survived the firestorm to continue their conscious parenting advocacy in the U.S., as well as her nonprofit foundation’s work dedicated to the orphan crisis in the Sidama region of Ethiopia.


The Greatest Pregnancy Ever

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