A little email to Louise Newman, Sarah Mares and Patricia O’Rourke, some of Australia’s leading workers in the nurturance field
Dear Louise and Sarah
Patricia O’Rourke gave me your email addresses.
As Patricia knows, I have been working on and off with Central Australian Indigenous communities for nearly 3 decades, and have seen how things have deteriorated, despite so many efforts by so many people and organisations. In the 90’s I also acted as principal psychiatric witness for the Stolen Generation’s action against the Commonwealth, and got a first hand taste of the horrors these people went through.
In essence, I think what I’m seeing out Bush is a transgenerational cascade of reactive attachment disorder, activated initially by the fragmenting impact of European contact on the distributive nurturance that worked so well for 50,000 years in Indigenous culture.
How to help?
My worst fear is that any kind of support will simply be experienced as yet more criticism of the poor stressed mothers, and the culture. ( I will be contacting Noel Pearson to get his ideas).
The nurturance issue is, of course, a global one, and the other thing I’m aware of is that in the media, it is either treated mindlessly or generates enormous antipathy/resistance.
I suppose that one of the problems (apart from the Avoidant Attachment dynamics that seem to drive most media commentators on the subject…Anne Manne’s observation to me at Writers’ Conference last year), is that “good enough” nurturance is actually a subtle and paradoxical process, and does not lend itself easily to left brain verbal descriptions [try to teach someone how to ride a bike by writing a textbook on it].
I am aware that you have done a lot of micro-observations of mother-infant interactions, and it occurs to me that you might have some video footage of good moments of nurturance that could make for inspiring YouTube viewing, give beings on this planet a vicarious taste of it, and possibly be adaptable for viewing by some of my Indigenous patients without making them feel too miserable.
Any other suggestions would be very very welcome
All good wishes