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THE INVISIBLE PROBLEM – Part 2. Mothers Valued as the Foundation of Social Health

By September 7, 2016Blog

Why is it that moth­er­hood is an anom­aly in our social struc­ture? Why is moth­er­hood such an under-mined, invis­i­ble asset and not treat­ed like the gold­en resource that it is? Because it’s val­ue is immea­sur­able, not able to be mon­e­tized? Does it only count if it can be boiled down to its net worth?

Per­haps moth­er­hood is out­side the box because it was there before the box was built, and the blokes that built the box just took it for grant­ed.

Moth­er­ing is like the sun­set; impor­tant, always been there, we need it, we love it, it’ll keep hap­pen­ing regard­less. But where it dif­fers is that when we admire a sun­set, the sun­set doesn’t care or hear, it makes no dif­fer­ence to the sun. Moth­ers how­ev­er need to be val­ued, rec­og­nized, appre­ci­at­ed, in real terms. How are we doing this?

Cur­rent social struc­tures aren’t so good for moth­ers so we have an oppor­tu­ni­ty. If we get behind and fore­ground the impor­tance of moth­ers in social health we would go a long way to address­ing our larg­er social, men­tal and phys­i­cal health issues. What do we need to do as a soci­ety so that our moth­ers and there­fore our fam­i­lies and chil­dren thrive too?

Mater­nal men­tal health has some fund­ing to sup­port those in cri­sis, as with Post Natal Dis­tress. A hand­ful of scat­tered, dis­con­nect­ed vol­un­teer organ­i­sa­tions strug­gle along hand-to-mouth putting out free work­shops, sup­port for those in des­per­ate cir­cum­stances, or put out sim­ple mag­a­zines dom­i­nat­ed by adver­tis­ing and tips on how to avoid nap­py rash, what makes a good lunch­box, and where to take your fam­i­ly hol­i­day. But it’s not enough. Mater­nal men­tal health ser­vices for ALL moth­ers, edu­ca­tion for ALL moth­ers, sup­port con­nec­tion and care for ALL moth­ers, should be as big a focus in our sys­tem as the mil­i­tary, big­ger even.

Imag­ine if gov­ern­ment cen­tral­ized the care of moth­ers, the role of moth­ers and val­ued the input of moth­ers into our social health? Imag­ine if moth­ers were real­ly sup­port­ed, real­ly val­ued, seen as cen­tral con­trib­u­tors to solu­tions to ALL of our soci­etal ills, the ones that rack up our biggest bills; obe­si­ty, men­tal health, sui­cide, depres­sion, edu­ca­tion, den­tal health, lit­er­a­cy, domes­tic vio­lence, drug abuse… Imag­ine if moth­ers were val­ued as first teach­ers, who pri­mar­i­ly edu­cat­ing in lan­guage devel­op­ment, lit­er­a­cy, imag­i­na­tion, care for the envi­ron­ment, con­nec­tion, sus­tain­able rela­tion­ships in work and life, exer­cise, knowl­edge of law, sci­ence, maths, nature, anato­my. It’s all there, hap­pen­ing every day, moth­ers invis­i­bly car­ing for our future peo­ple, the ones that’ll inher­it the earth, and look after you when you’re drib­bling in your age-care bed. I tell you, my kids would nail that job, because they know about love, and being along­side.

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