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.