Late last year, former opposition leader Mark Lathan wrote several columns, in which he irresponsibly attacked women, mothers and anyone who has ever sought help for mental illness.
Latham said that mothers who work “don’t like children and don’t want to be with them” and that women who work outside of the home “demonise” their children.
He also took aim at working mothers who suffer from mental illness and take medication to treat that illness, calling them ‘cowardly’, ‘taking the easy way out’ and harming their own children.
For a while, that column silenced Australian author and mother, Jessica Rudd. But today she is bravely sharing her own struggles with post-natal depression for the first time and has a message for Mark Latham….
I’m writing to you from a café in Newcastle.
It’s 11.52am and I’m having breakfast. Scrambled eggs with smoked salmon and a flat white. It’s delicious, thank you.
This morning I woke up by myself. My eyelids weren’t pried open by beautiful toddler fingers. I didn’t have to let the dog in. I woke up because at 9.04am my body had enjoyed sufficient rest. This was a wholly unfamiliar but very welcome sensation.
At that point, I checked Facebook and read the weekend papers. I went to the toilet on my own, a task completed without a campaign to unseat me to join the search party for a missing puzzle piece.
I Skyped my little girl in Brisbane. On seeing each other, our smiles were so enormous they crackled. God, I miss her. She told me what my husband had made her for breakfast. She asked for a story while I showered. I obliged, reciting A Curry For Murray with my phone propped up on the wall-mounted soap dish. (Let’s hope the phone hackers only get audio.)
The thing is, Mark, this morning is the first time in months I’ve been able to stop and think about what I found so offensive about your menacing AFR column attacking author Lisa Pryor.
You see, in the aftermath of my daughter’s birth I suffered post-natal depression. I am extremely lucky to be able to tell you PND was the shittest thing that has ever happened to me and that I got through it.