Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Dear Mr Latham

Dear Mr Latham,

I only knew of you as 'second best' to our past Prime Minister, John Howard. I have no interest in politics - I'm pretty blind to the happenings in Parliament - and I like it that way. You caught my eye a few years back when you weren't afraid of showing your inner bitch with fellow politicians, calling them names and acting all gangsta-like with Mr Howard. You had me back then at 'arselicker' and calling them 'a conga line of suckholes'. You won my vote.

But then you had to go firing off your ignorant, sexist and uneducated mouth and belittle the women of Australia (sorry, no - not just Australia - the world) with your malignant and antiquated comments about mothers with a mental illness. What an awesome role model you must be to your sons.

I didn't choose to have depression, or anxiety, or psychosis. I haven't made it up to avoid the responsibilities of motherhood. Before having my first child nearly 15 years ago, the signs were there. Circumstances, combined with the chemical imbalance in my brain, led to my illness. I didn't ask for this. I didn't give myself a mental illness or three for the fun of it. Or for the attention. Or for the periodical feelings that make me question my need to breathe.

Did you choose to become a prick, Mr Latham, or did it just come naturally? Maybe it came to you as naturally as motherhood should come to every woman? There's yet to be a medication to treat being a bastard. I know, I checked. However, antidepressants might help you. How about some anti-psychotic medications to relieve you of your sense of grandeur and misogyny?

Your article (which I will call Mark's Guide to Raising Women In The 1950s: A Dickhead's Perspective) must make your mum proud. You suggest that women who need 'neurological assistance' in order to raise children is sad. You suggest that women 'like this' should not have children, and that these children will suffer knowing they were the reason behind their mother's 'pill-popping'. I know I do not and will not stand alone when I say to you that my 'pill-popping' bad habit is the reason why my children still have a mother today.

I have to admit Mr Latham, that I was doing really well before reading your article. I have learned to manage my illness well after 14 years, to know the warning signs, to put in place strategies I have worked hard at to cope with the everyday demands of being a stay at home mum of five kids with a husband who works very long hours. But today, I took your words to heart. You made me feel sick and selfish and guilty for wanting to have children even though I knew I wasn't well. You made me question whether I should return to the workplace. You made me feel wrong for wanting some time away from my children for me. And you are actually right about one of the comments you made - I did choose to have my children. I knew I may have difficult times ahead raising them with this illness, just like thousands of others with their own challenging medical (non-mental) issues. 

I'm damn proud of my children. Damn proud of myself for staying at home and raising them the best I can. And I'll be damn proud of them when they grow up better off for having been taught that mental illness should not be feared nor condemned. That everyone has a story. That with society's support and less people like you in the public eye spewing your offensive and damaging opinions, more people like me will find their voice to shout from the rooftops "I'm crazy and perfectly normal!"

Mr Latham, I'm not angered by reading your comments. I'm disheartened and sad. It's not us mums with mental illnesses who should feel ashamed, but you.

Yours in craziness,

Cut My Milk