Wednesday, 23 January 2013
Notable Women of 2012- Jamie Grumet (Part Four of Five)
Jamie Grumet is a twenty-six year old mother of two who appeared on the cover of Time magazine last May. The focus was a story on attachment parenting, a philosophy of raising children which encourages parents to be more attuned to their children's needs.
The magazine sparked controversy in its decision to use a photo showing her four year old son Aram standing on a stool while she breastfed him. While this picture was taken during the shoot, Jamie and her husband were not aware it would appear on the cover and were never consulted. The additional tag line, "Are You Mom Enough?" incited public outrage.
Jamie felt, as did many, that the intent of the cover was to create a 'mommy war' pitting mothers who nurse against those who don't. The media ran with this and spun the story to appear that Jamie was forcing the ideas of attachment parenting on others, when in fact she was always pro choice in how people should raise their children.
This has a personal side for me. Last May when I first heard about this story I decided to do some research, since I had never heard of attachment parenting. Specifically I was unfamiliar with extended breastfeeding, which is nursing a child beyond its first year of infancy.
Along the way I ended up contacting Jamie to learn about the story through her own words. I realized that she and her family were misrepresented by most of the coverage they received. There was little mention of their son Samuel, whom they adopted in Ethiopia. There was no mention of her work with the Fayye Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to addressing the orphan crisis in the Sidama area of Ethiopia. In general the media focused on her looks and attacked the concept of extended breastfeeding rather than presenting it as one alternative of many to raising children.
Jamie Grumet is in our list not only because she is a loving mother but because of the way she chose to handle attacks by the media and the public. We've become friends, and I've grown to learn that the way she and her family have been portrayed is not who they really are. Her courage and grace are an inspiration.