WHEN MAMA CAN’T KISS IT BETTER is the raw account of a true story that shocked the nation in 2010. Gertz was America's most hated mother when news of a decision to place her adopted child in another family broke in the media. Called out by many as an unfit mother and an evil woman who threw away her child, she was catapulted into the national and international media.
Her daughter, Emily suffered from fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, reactive attachment disorder, bipolar disorder, and other disorders. She had never bonded with Lori, her father or her siblings and had begun a spiral of self-destruction that often involved running into traffic and other dangerous behaviors.
While Gertz recalls feeling isolated, accounts like hers are not rare. Stories like When Mama Can’t Kiss it Better are not told terribly often because of the stigma and finger pointing. She writes, “The mother is always blamed first when a child suffers from extreme behavioral disabilities.”
There are millions of parents who are struggling to raise children with behavioral disabilities, who feel misunderstood, unheard, and judged, and who want to be reassured that there are others like them. With one in four Americans struggling with mental illness (NIMH) every year everyone in this country either lives with mental illness or knows someone who does. The greatest tragedy is that 60% of the adults and 50% of the children suffering from mental disorders will receive absolutely NO services or support for their mental illness.
WHEN MAMA CAN’T KISS IT BETTER covers:
* The adoption of their daughter Emily, early signs of trouble, their birthmother's suicide, the truth about her pregnancy and warnings about how to avoid what happened to the author and her family
* Raw and honest details about her daughter's rages, suicide attempts, and hospitalizations
* The turmoil that living with mental illness causes for everyone in the home and how it affects siblings and marriages
* The difficulty in receiving support from physicians, educators, & clinicians
* The author’s increasing desperation to find answers and help as rages and impulsivity became safety issues
* Being judged by doctors, schools, and outsiders as "the problem" while her daughter collected diagnosis after diagnosis
* The painful decision to place her daughter in another family and how she came to accept that she had to do the unthinkable
* Parents worldwide waging verbal attacks on her since if the fault belonged to Gertz alone, it couldn't happen to anyone else
Note from the Author: I spent the better part of six years writing this book, which began as the only way I could cope with what was happening in our lives. I just couldn’t believe the lack of resources there were when I reached out for them so vociferously and started documenting what was happening inside our family if not only to maintain my sanity. I am passionate about telling my story to help increase understanding of the enormous challenges parents of special needs children face in a culture that believes that motherly love and perseverance can cure all ills. For those on similar paths, the story of my journey to a sense of peace within the context of facing unrealized dreams, human limitations, broken hearts, and the unfair circumstances of life may help them find that same place of peace in the tough decisions within their own lives. I pray this book will bring attention to the need to better support parents and kids with mental illness and other invisible disabilities and I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to call attention to such pressing societal issues.
Keywords: Parenting, Disabilities, FASD, Mothering, Mental Illness, RAD, Bipolar, Memoir, Special Needs, Fetal Alcohol, Syndrome