A politically liberal psychoanalyst whose research led to traditional conclusions got the cold shoulder from mainstream media when she released her book Being There: Why Prioritizing Motherhood in the First Three Years Matters.
“I couldn’t get on NPR,” Erica Komisar told The Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto. “I was rejected wholesale—particularly in New York—by the liberal press.”
The book makes the case, backed by neuroscience and psychology, that “mothers are biologically necessary for babies.”
“Every time a mother comforts a baby in distress, she’s actually regulating that baby’s emotions from the outside in,” said Komisar. “After three years, the baby internalizes that ability to regulate their emotions, but not until then.”
The book also makes the case, backed by hormone science, that fathers cannot replace mothers during early childhood. Komisar said that despite the fact that people “want to feel that men and women are fungible,” they aren’t. Moms and dads produce different nurturing hormones, and during early childhood, the empathic motherly response is more important.
Komisar wrote the book because she started to see more and more children in her practice with disorders—ADHD, aggression, depression, lack of empathy—and started to link them to the absence of mothers in the daily lives of their children. When she started researching it, the science backed her up.
But Komisar told Taranto that her voice has been silenced because it could make some women feel guilty, or reinforce traditional gender roles.
Komisar insisted she isn’t trying to set women back 50 years, but said the needs of children are being lost when women believe they can have it all—high-pressure jobs, big salaries, and babies—at the same time. —K.C.