Ms. Komisar has been rejected by liberal media outlets because she chose to stand with fact instead of political fiction
Motherhood used to be as American as apple pie. Nowadays it can be as antagonistic as American politics. Ask Erica Komisar.
Ms. Komisar, 53, is a Jewish psychoanalyst who lives and practices on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. If that biographical thumbnail leads you to stereotype her as a political liberal, you’re right. But she tells me she has become “a bit of a pariah” on the left because of the book she published this year, “Being There: Why Prioritizing Motherhood in the First Three Years Matters.”
Christian radio stations “interviewed me and loved me,” she says. She went on “Fox & Friends,” and “the host was like, your book is the best thing since the invention of the refrigerator.” But “I couldn’t get on NPR,” and “I was rejected wholesale—particularly in New York—by the liberal press.” She did appear on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” but seconds before the camera went live, she says, the interviewer told her: “I don’t believe in the premise of your book at all. I don’t like your book.”
The premise of Ms. Komisar’s book—backed by research in psychology, neuroscience and epigenetics—is that “mothers are biologically necessary for babies,” and not only for the obvious reasons of pregnancy and birth. “Babies are much more neurologically fragile than we’ve ever understood,” Ms. Komisar says. She cites the view of one neuroscientist, Nim Tottenham of Columbia University, “that babies are born without a central nervous system” and “mothers are the central nervous system to babies,” especially for the first nine months after birth.
What does that mean? “Every time a mother comforts a baby in distress, she’s actually regulating that baby’s emotions from the outside in. After three years, the baby internalizes that ability to regulate their emotions, but not until then.” For that reason, mothers “need to be there as much as possible, both physically and emotionally, for children in the first 1,000 days.”
The regulatory mechanism is oxytocin, a neurotransmitter popularly known as the “love hormone.” Oxytocin, Ms. Komisar explains, “is a buffer against stress.” Mothers produce it when they give birth, breastfeed or otherwise nurture their children. “The more oxytocin the mother produces, the more she produces it in the baby” by communicating via eye contact, touch and gentle talk. The baby’s brain in turn develops oxytocin receptors, which allow for self-regulation at a later age.
Women produce more oxytocin than men do, which answers the obvious question of why fathers aren’t as well-suited as mothers for this sort of “sensitive, empathetic nurturing.” People “want to feel that men and women are fungible,” observes Ms. Komisar—but they aren’t, at least not when it comes to parental roles. Fathers produce a “different nurturing hormone” known as vasopressin, “what we call the protective, aggressive hormone.”
Whereas a mother of a crying baby will “lean into the pain and say, ‘Oh, honey!’ ” a father is more apt to tell the child: “C’mon, you’re OK. Brush yourself off; let’s go back to play.” Children, especially boys, need that paternal nurturing to learn to control their aggression and become self-sufficient. But during the first stages of childhood, motherly love is more vital. WSJ
The book is about prioritizing your child’s well being.
Komisar massively documents her assertions: Decades of research “confirms the more time a woman can devote to the joy and job of mothering a child in the first three years,” she says, “the better the chance her child will be emotionally secure and healthy throughout his life.”
And now you know why the heads of feminists and liberals are exploding. They think Komisar (who, by the way is a feminist and a liberal herself) is attempting to take women at warp speed back to the 1950s.
It’s not surprising that today’s mothers think their babies won’t miss them if they grab their briefcases and go back to a full-time job six weeks after giving birth. They believe what our culture taught them—that they can easily juggle career and motherhood; that babies thrive just as well in daycare as at home with their moms; that mothers and fathers are fungible; that when it comes to motherhood, it’s all about “quality time”—even if it comes at the end of a long workday when mothers are exhausted.
Stay-at-home moms can also fail to be “present” for their babies if they ignore them while talking on the phone, checking emails-or volunteering for too many church events. BreakPoint
Not a traditionalist.
Komisar is no traditionalist. She recognizes that a growing number of women don’t have the choice to quit their jobs to become stay-at-home mothers. In such cases she recommends a number of options, advocating strongly for “single surrogate caregivers” who are preferably relatives. PJMedia
Being There: Why Prioritizing Motherhood in the First Three Years Matters by Erica Komisar is available at Amazon.