So many people have contacted me to ask what I think about the book UnOrthodox, its author Deborah Feldman, and if I have opinions on what Pearl Perry Reich is going through in Lakewood. (If you have no clue what I am talking about, Google is your friend). I haven’t read the book, and only watched one interview with Ms Reich, but I have read a few articles about them both.
Everyone has a right to deal with their stresses and frustrations in their own way. For Ms Feldman she has written a book about her life and her divorce, for Ms Reich – well, she landed on Dr Phil debating religious life with Rabbi Shmuley.
I am not going to comment on their choice to leave religious life and strike out to find their own path. Good luck to them on that. They both have their reasons, it has taken a lot of internal strength and fortitude to leave a life that was so firmly ingrained in them.
What I am going to comment on is the children. Ms Feldman has a young son, Ms Reich has several young children, their pictures plastered all over the internet. My heart aches for these innocent children.
I am a writer, I am a writer who could have written a trilogy about my life, my first marriage and my divorce. Post-divorce I also soul searched and questioned religion and G-d. But there were FOUR reasons I kept my private life private – my boys. As readers of this blog know, I NEVER write about my ex, except in a passing manner, I haven’t shared details of our divorce, of our legal issues, financial issues etc. Why? Because I share four awesome kids with him, he is their father and as such he has a right to his privacy and for me to respect him as their dad.
These children – Ms Feldman’s son, and Ms Reich’s children – have no privacy. Everyone knows who they are, whose child they are, people know details about their parents’ lives that are nobody’s business! These kids will grow up and be privy to all this information that will affect their relationship with both their parents. As parents we have a responsibility to protect our children from all kinds of hurt and pain – and in my opinion, it is irresponsible to put our own needs first and allow our children to suffer so that we can get a great book deal and be on The View or Dr Phil.
Is the long term gain that they are seeking worth it? What is their long term gain, anyway? Will those children grow up resentful because mom has influenced their relationship with Dad with their negative words and deeds in the national spotlight? How will the kids be able to separate fact from fiction? How will they ever know what’s true?
I feel the pain of these mothers who left everything that they knew in order to find out who they really are. My voyage of self discovery was a painful one too – but without the added stress of media attention. Neither of these women have reached their final destination in this journey, and all these media events and books and interviews are just small stops on the way.
I pray for those kids. I hope that they are all in therapy, and that they do not grow up feeling that they are a part of a tug-o-war between their parents. That’s an ugly place for any child to be. I hope these two women are able to work past their issues and continue on to live good productive lives, and are good role models for their children.
I am very interested to hear your thoughts on this matter. Personally, I am usually non-judgmental about how people choose the live their lives. I am very much a live and let live type of person. Except when I feel that kids are suffering because of their parents’ choices. Children have a right to be kids, to be sweet and innocent and love both parents equally. What happens / happened between the spouses needs to be adult business – there should be no need to involve the children.