The Troubled Mothers of Private Practice.

by Meredith O'Brien


Two mothers, both of whom walked away from their children, one because the birth of her son occurred at the hand of an assailant who literally cut her baby from the womb and left the mother to die, the other because her 15-year-old daughter became pregnant, refused her mother’s attempt to force her to have an abortion and now the girl wants to marry her teen boyfriend.


For a light, dramedy like Private Practice that’s a whole lotta darkness they’ve got going on in the third season and it was quite a bold move on the part of the writers to be willing to cast two major characters in a bad light.


The past several episodes have focused a great deal on fertility specialist Naomi Bennett (Audra McDonald). Naomi, a divorced mom of a teenaged girl named Maya, is the director of a medical practice located in the same building as her ex-husband Sam Bennett’s (Taye Diggs) medical practice, a business they once ran together. The reactions Naomi and Sam had to the news that their daughter was pregnant were starkly different. While Sam was angry and severely disappointed, he was willing to talk with and listen to his daughter, her boyfriend Dink (!) and Dink’s mother. “All the choices are bad,” he said.


Naomi, however, became unhinged, seeing the situation as evidence that she’d failed as a mother and put her own daughter’s future at risk. Her initial response was to mutter, “I can’t, I can’t” as she fled, eyes brimming with tears. A short while later, the strongly anti-abortion Naomi dragged her daughter by the arm into her friend Addison Montgomery’s ob/gyn office and demanded that Addison give Maya an abortion. When Maya said she didn’t want one, Naomi slapped her across the face and said, “I don’t care what you want. Give her an abortion.”


Things really spiraled out of Naomi’s control when not only did Maya decide against an abortion, but that she wanted to get married and move into the guest house behind her boyfriend’s mother’s home. Sam, who at first rebuffed marriage as preposterous (“My daughter, she’s just a little girl. She doesn’t need a husband.”), slowly warmed to the idea, for lack of any better options, agreed to sign the consent form and started planning Maya’s wedding.


Naomi kept saying, “No” or “I can’t” each time Sam tried to talk to her about it, though she did walk into Sam’s office, issue a few directives about wedding planning and then left declaring, “That’s all I can do. That’s all I can do.”


Mother of the year, Naomi ain’t. Seriously.



I have had some really terrible Mom moments. Not call the cops ones, but seriously telling my Husband I can't handle being a Mother right now. I can actually believe the story lines. Why? Because we live in a society were the norm is not the norm any longer. The shock value is gone- for adults and kids alike. What I like about these shows is sometimes they show what really happens ie. the episode where Na is upset w/Maya over catching her and Dink and Sam taking Maya away before Na "killed her". Parents say awful things sometimes, the norm of this, is that they regret saying them. In my culture it is not uncommon for a parent to sever ties with a teenage girl who is pregnant--I have seen it. Sometimes it takes 5 or 10 years until they come around. Sometimes that's life;)


I didn't find Naomi's reaction to be believable but then again, I'm finding most of the actions with all the characters in that show and Grey's anatomy to be unrealistic. I think a woman (character) of her position would behave better--be more calm and accepting of the situation and being able to look at all possible options.


I feel strangely sympathetic toward Violet. Maybe because I find her character believable, and also in keeping with her character. She gets that she's traumatized, she gets that she's depressed and should move on with things but can't, she gets that she wants to feel better but still doesn't, and does it all with the same wry tone that she has brought to Violet all the time The Practice has aired. I also can understand why she can't be part of her child's life--not unlike having a child borne of rape, her baby has become representative of a horrific (yet unbelievable--really, you'd survive a home-done c-section? Really?) event in her life and she doesn't want any reminders of what happened. I find her pseudo-denial somewhat plausible at least.

Naomi, on the other hand, is just acting bizarre. All she seems to do is flounce out of every situation wringing her hands in the air and saying "I can't" and "I won't". Seriously? Her child is pregnant, not addicted to drugs or going on shooting sprees. What's more, her daughter hasn't been all goth, pierced, in-your-face-you-bitch to her mom--she's been acting just like the daughter Sam and Naomi raised. Sorry Naomi, your child's job, like all kids, is to rebel, do stupid things, defy you when they can--and it is your job to ACT LIKE A GROWNUP. Naomi seems functional in all other aspects of her life, but seems to think it's ok to be like a 2-year old when it comes to being a parent. Where does this motivation come from? We've seen nothing to show us why, which makes it hard for me to buy what she's doing as anything other than a sloppy dramatic device the writers are using to...bring Addison and Sam together or something. Whatever it's for, it doesn't ring true to me in any way and I want to FF through all her scenes until she starts acting her age.