The hideous racial insensitivity of white homebirth advocates

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Nothing says “racial insensitivity” quite like invoking slavery to describe something that you don’t like. I’ve written before about the unbearable whiteness of homebirth advocates, and the white homebirther’s burden, but Jan Tritten’s histrionic blather in this month’s issue of Midwifery Today reaches a new low.

Even as I copy these words, I cannot believe that Tritten had the unmitigated gall to write them:

… [The] anti-slavery movement parallels our movement to free women in pregnancy and birth from the jaws of the medical establishment. This plays out all around the world with some countries being worse than others. The treatment of motherbaby is often abusive—horrendously so. Perhaps nothing is as horrible as slavery and I don’t mean to downplay it in any way by this comparison, but the effects of pregnancy, birth and the first year of life affect both mother and child for their entire lives.

Before we parse this nonsense, let’s stipulate a basic principle: NOTHING is like slavery except slavery. Slavery, particularly the American enslavement of Africans in the pre-Civil War era, is uniquely evil. Treating people like property, stealing the work of their hands, tearing families apart: there is no parallel in human existence. To compare anything to slavery is to mitigate the evil of slavery. It is deeply insensitive at best and racist at worst.

Tritten’s claims skate perilously close to racism.

Homebirth advocacy does not parallel the anti-slavery movement and it is hideous to suggest that it does. The anti-slavery movement involved people willing to give their very lives to save the lives of those in bondage. The homebirth movement is a bunch of privileged white women mouthing off about their ignorant views of childbirth. The only people giving their lives in the homebirth movement are the babies who die at the hands of homebirth midwives.

The treatment of mothers and babies in first world countries is NOT abusive and it is hysterical to suggest that it is. Even the Childbirth Connection was forced to acknowledge in its Listening to Mothers II Survey that the vast majority of American women are very happy with modern obstetric care. It is hideous to compare the whippings, rapes and lynching of slavery to the hurt feelings of a fringe group of privileged white women who didn’t get the “birth experience” of their dreams.

Perhaps nothing is as horrible as slavery? Damn straight, nothing short of genocide is as horrible as slavery. I cannot begin to imagine how Tritten thinks there might be different opinions on this issue.

She doesn’t mean to downplay slavery in any way by this comparison? Merely making this horrific, absurd comparison DOES downplay slavery and that is inexcusable. I understand that she was trying to shock and outrage her readers by elevating childbirth disappointment to the level of slavery and that is every bit as disgusting.

Contrary to the fantasies of Tritten and her colleagues, homebirth midwives are not abolitionists. They are ignorant clowns who preside over the preventable deaths of infant. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again, I can write nothing as damning of the ignorance, narcissism and histrionics of homebirth advocates as they write about themselves.

Tritten should be deeply embarrassed by her racial insensitivity, but that, of course, is an oxymoron. Anyone willing to equate modern obstetrics with slavery lacks the intelligence and insight to realize the utter moral bankruptcy of her position.

  • The Jake

    African American? What does that mean? My ancestors moved to America from Scandinavia WAY MORE RECENTLY than MOST blacks ancestors were brought here from Africa but you don’t hear me crying to be called European American! IM AN AMERICAN…PERIOD!

  • The Jake

    Descendants of slaves should be GLAD their ancestors were sold BY THEIR OWN PEOPLE to the white man and shipped over to America. It was slavery that brought them to greatest country in the world. If it hadn’t been for slavery, the blacks in America would still be in Africa living in dirt huts, drinking diseased water, eating sand, swatting flies from their eyes and dying of AIDS! Blacks in America should be thanking the slave masters who brought them over here because they can now wear Jordan’s, drink 40’s, drive hoopties, have elebenteen kids that they don’t have to pay for and blame “The Man” “Fo keepin dem down.”

  • ???

    Free speech is obviously not allowed here, since my recent post was deleted. I must have said something right.

    • Guestll

      You weren’t deleted. Dr. Amy is a proponent of free speech. It’s the wacky Disqus comments system. Your comment will turn up eventually. And no, you didn’t say anything right. But welcome. 🙂

      • ???

        Well thank you for explaining.
        What isn’t right? Of course her speech is just as childish as the woman she is quoting. Not all homebirth advocates are narcissistic privileged white women!This MD has some terrible hatred expressed here- and it is quite shocking to say the least.

      • ???

        What is right about the childishness and hatred expressed by the MD? I do not support the woman she is quoting, but her response above is disurbing. Not all homebirth advocates are privileged narcissistic white women. Why does she have to bother slinging insults?

  • What the?????

    I found this article while looking up home birth online. Whoa! You condemn this one person for their speech, yet you describe homebirth advocates as a “group of privileged white women” and YOU use speech like “narcissism and histrionics of homebirth advocates”…. where in the world does your fierce hatred stem from?? I have given birth at home twice, safely, with a midwife who was experienced. And yes, she has had NON WHITE mothers use her services too. Your stereotypical generalizations are on the extreme end of the spectrum. And for an MD you come across as unprofessional and biased.

  • Sue

    How narrow minded is “This plays out all around the world with some countries being worse than others.”

    No, Ms Tritten – a large number of countries around the world are crying out to have access to medical intervention in childbirth – not be freed from it! Let’s look at most of the continent of Africa, rural China, Indochina, most of India, SOuth America…..

  • Sue

    Congrats, anon – enjoy your little “pink and perfect”!

  • CNM

    Jan Tritten has since retracted the article and issued an apology because believe it or not, this article pissed off a bunch of African American midwives!

    • Squillo

      The Midwives of Color section of MANA has been pissed off for some time at what they see as ongoing marginalization. The Inner Council apparently resigned last year and wrote a fairly scathing open letter to MANA leadership.

      • CNM

        Yes, I remember that. And things haven’t changed much, even though Jan Tritten is ‘Midwifery Today’, not ‘MANA’.

  • Tritten pulled the article and apologized. Mostly apologized.

    There were multiple critical comments on FB as well as requests to pull the article. Apparently the article was lightly edited because references to inadequate changes were made – and also criticized.

    May this be a reminder to all of us to give any posts intended for wide audiences to one of more people to for review and critique.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      Where can I find the apology?

      I think you are too generous, Anj. This had nothing to do with editorial oversight. Tritten is so privileged, smug and clueless that she actually thinks that hospital birth is as bad as slavery.

      • Durango

        I found an apology on the Midwifery Today FB page, under the link “Witch Hunt.” But it’s not much of an apology. It’s the kind my middle schooler gives: I’m sorry that about this, but guys, I’m just really really passionate about abuses in birth, and I guess I got carried away. (not a direct quote)

        • Pretty much. I was surprised she didn’t get more defensive.

          I wasn’t expecting anything more. I did like the suggestions for stories by and about women of color. I expect one story as a gesture, but an actual series?

          • So now instead of taking a good hard look at the racial undertones of their ideology they are putting out a call for some token people of color to come endorse it? Not impressed.

  • Liz

    As an Indigenous Australian I would never try and understand the cruelties endured by another group. However my people endured genocide, slavery and something referred to as the Stolen Generation; where our children were removed, raped and abused, and this was happening well into the 60’s. I won’t go into detail as its readily accessible information. What I will say, is that I was appalled by what I just read, and I DO call racism. I also wholeheartedly agree that the whiteness of the NCB movement is overwhelming.

    • Bombshellrisa

      I (quite by accident) watched “The Rabbit Proof Fence”. Eye opening for me.

  • Oh yes, she has been posting little gems all over this site. I was arguing with her about epidurals over on the wedding Trauma page. She clearly misunderstands racism as she thinks Grantly Dick-Read was a great guy who “had the balls to say that women’s bodies know what they are doing” rather than a racist eugenicist.

    • Squillo

      She’s funny. It’s a little like listening to my six-year-old trying to explain astrophysics.

      • She just doesn’t quit! The gift that keeps on giving. I wonder when she’ll figure out she isn’t saying anything we haven’t heard a million times before. Every HBer who comes here wants to be the one who convinces Dr. Amy and all of us to “come to Jesus”. Haven’t they heard the saying: the definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over expecting different results?

        • Update: Now she concedes in a reply to Dr. Kitty on the
          Wedding Trauma post that Dick-Read probably was a racist and a misogynist but, that’s OK because the same was true of “most of the men and women of his time”. Then she goes on to try and explain/defend everything he says about the “noble savage”. The NCB high priestess counsel must be giving prizes for racial insensitivity this month or something.

  • Kalacirya

    On the topic of insensitivity: Moslems? Do you realize that adherents of Islam in English-speaking countries overwhelming prefer the term Muslim, and that the use of Moslem is kind of antiquated, correct?

  • The Bofa on the Sofa

    Perhaps nothing is as horrible as slavery? Damn straight, nothing short of genocide is as horrible as slavery.

    Try again.

    • Kalacirya

      Looks like someone only made it through the first few paragraphs before rushing to the comments.

  • I imagine we do all feel ever so special when pregnant, and it is disapointing to be seen as just another pregnant woman.

    How about some reverence for the real miracle – the baby, a new life. Demanding admiration for the wonderfulness of your vagina is just a teeny bit precious by comparison. No problem with respect, of course, at the level of the common human courtesy we all deserve all the time. But in giving birth we do involuntarily what has been done before. Baby in, baby out. Scary, but commonplace. Feel new respect for yourself and your body – don’t demand others do.

  • N.

    OT but http://www.themorningbulletin.com.au/news/mother-newborn-miracle-rare-condition/1758395/

    This took place in a public hospital in a smaller regional area of Australia. What stood out for me was the compassion of the doctors quoted.

    “Dr Atherstone was unaware of the mortality rate at the time, but he felt plenty of pressure nonetheless.
    “It was a very, very dangerous and stressful situation,” he said. “She had lost a lot of blood, and she’s a young lady with a baby.””

    and

    “Anaesthetist Dr Simmons was delighted mum and bub are safe and sound.
    “That’s all that matters,” she said.”

    And finally from the mother, who has every right to call this a traumatic birth:
    “Having to look at my scar, it’s like that is a lifeline and it’s not something I’m ever going to forget.”

  • Caprain Obvious

    I would like to see this…

    http://community.babycenter.com/post/a39831757/the_skeptical_ob?cpg=84&csi=2410459174&pd=1

    Becky_Sharp
    Pass a note
    Because it cheapens the debate when people spread misinformation. If people are going to say things like “she probably had a 99% c-section rate” or ” she wants to outlaw homebirth,” they should present real evidence of those inflammatory statements. How can you actually debate when people are going to spread rumors? And they refuse to hear what the woman says because “they dont want to give her traffic”?
    ————-
    So debate the rest of the perfectly reasoned statements.

    Look, I’m not going to Dr Amy’s site to debate. Not going to happen. This is the board I debate on. This thread came up and I’m debating it. You are welcome to debate me. You’re welcome to go get Dr Amy and bring her here. Youre welcome to post anything you’d like from her site to support your argument. I’ve not made any of the inflammatory statements to which you’ve referred. I’ve made what I believe to be well-founded debate points, as have others. Either debate them or don’t, but any further entreaties to go to Dr Amy’s site will be ignored.
    02/09/2013

    • Captain Obvious

      Becky_Sharp
      Pass a note
      I had an epidural and an episiotomy. I prefer both, for pain management (although my epi wore off when it came time to push for 2 hours) and because I prefer a controlled tear. Are those “unnecessary”? If so, then yes I see no benefit to NUCB
      ———–
      The epidural I consider absolutely necessary. If pain control is needed then an epidural is a necessary intervention. The episiotomy I do consider an unnecessary intervention as the data shows that they do not improve outcomes and that the “controlled tear” theory is unsupported. This is my opinion as well as the opinion of my obstetrician, who is very anti-routine episiotomy.

      Study done in the Netherlands with 2861 women…
      The effect of a mediolateral epis during operative vaginal delivery on the risk of developing obstetrical anal sphincter injuries (OASIS), Vogel et al. Am J of Ob & GYN, May 2012, 404.e1-404e5
      Found a 6-fold decrease odds for developing OASIS when mediolateral episiotomy was performed in OVD. In MLE+ group was 3.5%, in MLE- group was 15.6%.

      Pelvic Floor Disorders After Vaginal Birth. Effect of episiotomy, perineal laceration, and operative birth. Obstetrics and Gynecology. Vol. 119, No. 2, Part 1, February 2012. Pages 223-238.
      “Forceps deliveries and perineal lacerations, but not episiotomies, we’re associated with pelvic floor disorders 5-10 years after a first delivery.”

      Episiotomy Parameters Linked to Risk for Injury During Birth
      Emma Hitt, PhD
      March 8, 2012 — Increased depth and length of episiotomy, as well as increased distance from the midline to incision point, are associated with decreased risk for obstetric anal sphincter injuries (OASIS), according to a new study.
      Mona Stedenfeldt, a PhD candidate at the University of Tromsø in Norway, and colleagues reported their findings in an article published online March 6 in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
      According to the researchers, OASIS are the most common causes of anal incontinence in women. Episiotomy is carried out in roughly 12% to 15% of deliveries and helps minimize the risk for these types of injuries.
      According to the researchers, “[e]pisiotomy technique is a modifiable procedure, and it is therefore important to make note of the parameters referred to in this study.” They conclude, “Taking these into consideration and accommodating them into practice can potentially lead to a reduction in OASIS.”
      BJOG. Published online March 6, 2012. Abstract

  • We need a new internet term for the use of slavery in an argument to bolster one’s cause as “Godwin” is used when people invoke Hitler/the holocaust/Nazis. Name suggestions?

  • Bomb

    If a parody site wrote that people would say it was over the top, yet there it is, in Midwifery Today.

    • Bomb

      I had a whole blog post written up about ‘Persecuted Midwife’ Miyuki Ishikawa, who had to spend four years in jail for practicing midwifery as she saw fit. Calling for support to untarnish her legacy as a health care provider and midwife….conveniently leaving out that she was a serial killer that killed over 100 newborns. I thought no, that is too over the top. People will see through that. So I didn’t post it. Then I read this crap coming form midwifery today…guess I should throw that parody up anyway. All bets seem to be off.

  • KarenJJ

    Now comparisons to slavery? And Midwifery Today thought it was a good idea to print this? I can imagine that nobody ever chose to be a slave and that very few women are going to hospital by force. No pregnant women are snatched off the street and taken away from their families forever by the medical establishment.

    Will NCB ‘jump the shark’ with their increasingly shrill and over the top rhetoric? How many mainstream people who mildly support homebirth are now thinking “oh stop it, you’re becoming embarrassing”? I started reading this blog a couple of years ago and the “homebirth as a human rights issue” seems to have been gaining momentum amongst this group.

    • KarenJJ

      “And Midwifery Today thought it was a good idea to print this? ”

      Oh. Jan Tritten is the editor of Midwifery Today. That explains a lot. What a nutter.

      I hope other midwifes are also appalled and express their dissatisfaction. She does a huge disservice to the name ‘midwife’. I presume she is one of the CPM/DEM self-styled midwives.

  • Mrs. W

    Homebirth midwives considering themselves abolitionists is like Neighbourhood crank dealers considering themselves pharmacists….

  • SarahSD

    Love this post. So many of my contemporaries who support the NCB/midwifery/homebirth movement are also smart, educated, and dedicated to ACTUAL social justice and anti-oppression issues. Yet, so often the race and class privilege of (their own) North American homebirth movement is left unexamined. The offensiveness of Tritten’s comparison is pretty undeniable.

    • thepragmatist

      Again and again privilege masquerades as feminism. Ladies! You are confused. At best. Nefarious at worst. Out to lunch, most of the time.

      Having a heplock is like being raped, so of course, having a hospital birth must be like slavery, right? RIGHT? … *speechless*

  • Amy

    I don’t really think it’s necessary to get all bent out of shape over perceived “racism” in this statement. While it may be in very poor taste to make the comparison that she did, it’s obvious that she didn’t make it in order to specifically downplay the plight of the enslaved African American. People of every race have been enslaved at some point in our history. The act of enslaving another human being can be mutually exclusive from racism toward black people. I don’t really see this as racist, just more as kind of a hyperbolic comparison.

    • S

      Her comments start out, “Did those of you who live in the U.S. see the PBS three-part series on the abolitionists?”

      • Amy

        I guess I just don’t see someone sympathizing with the abolitionist movement, feeling like a “kindred spirit” in liberating the “woman” to birth at home or whatever, as being like “black people are inferior, they should go back to Africa, etc etc”. Referencing slavery is not in itself racist, unless you are saying we should still have it, or something.

        • Certified Hamster Midwife

          Racist, no. But it’s still insensitive to our ancestors who were slaves. And any of us probably have an ancestor at some point who was a slave.

          • thepragmatist

            No, I think it IS racist. In fact, I think there is a ton of nasty racial subtext going on in the homebirthing movement. The identification with the “noble savage” eg. “African women don’t cry in labour” etc… and this… it’s privilege, and it’s refusal to see that there are oppressed classes who have suffered in ways you cannot imagine, and are suffering now. I find the “noble savage” stuff so absolutely offensive given the death rate from childbirth in the developing world that I can barely tolerate it when I see it.

            It is one of the reasons that people of colour have had to create their own feminism: because white, privilege feminists have their head’s so far up their privilege that they can’t see how offensive the things they say are and they often completely ignore or devalue the experiences of others not like them. And yeah, it’s racist to not see your own inherent privilege in that respect.

            Considering also that didn’t the “midwives of colour” resign in disgust from MANA after being consistently ignored and used as token advocates??? Given that the maternal death rate for African Americans is higher than the average population, and given that MANA claims to speak for women, you’d think they would’ve bent over backwards to make sure that African American women were well-represented in the organization. Dr. Amy has written about that too. More racism. Racism by ignorance or privilege remains racism.

          • JC

            Well said.

          • suchende

            When I saw the post title I was hoping Dr. Amy was tackling the “noble savage” themes in NCB literature. It’s one of my peeves.

          • quadrophenic

            Yes, totally agree! Racism in my book isn’t just when s omeone overtly saying they are superior to another race or hate another race. Racism can mean dehumanizing a race by diminishing their experiences. “Hey, this is akin to slavery!” is really saying “slavery was just something where your choices are limited.” No, slavery was treating people like objects, worse than animals, was extremely abusive and done either maliciously or out of extreme indifference for a person’s humanity. Slavery isn’t limiting choices in a limited situation that lasts a day or two, slavery wreaked havoc on generations and our nation is still healing. As a middle class white woman I can never pretend to know what it’s like to be a slave. I don’t know what it’s like to be the descendant of a slave. I don’t have parents and grandparents who were subjected to segregation. I’ll never have to worry about bring treated differently or even suffer violence just because of my race, which unfortunately still holds true today in the US. So you know what? Acting like anything I go through is like slavery is racist – it completely diminishes the suffering of generations of people.

          • KarenJJ

            I think it takes some mental leaps to extricate racism from slavery. Slavery can only really exist if you value another human being as being of less value than yourself.

        • auntbea

          No, referencing slavery is not racist. But suggesting that [insert not really a big deal thing here] is as much of a violation as being owned does suggest that the person making the argument has some variable standards of human rights depending on the type of human involved.

        • With due respect, please note that there are subtler but, not necessarily less ofensive forms of racism than someone saying ” xxx race is inferior and should leave the country”.

          • Poogles

            ” there are subtler but, not necessarily less ofensive forms of racism than someone saying ” xxx race is inferior and should leave the county”.”

            Exactly! These conversations always make me think of my step-dad…he denies up and down that he is even slightly racist, yet consistently makes negative generalizations about all black people, told me he would “slap me” if he ever “caught” me in a interracial relationship, pulled me out of my middle school over Xmas break when he found out there was a black boy who was sweet on me (and I on him), and scolded me anytime I “sounded black”. But no, he’s not racist at all…

          • Did you hear about the guy who slapped the 2 year old on the plane and told the mother to “shut that N-word baby up”. Of course his lawyer has released a statement saying he not a racist. The sad part is that some other commenters on the story actually came out in support of the guy saying they couldn’t understand why minorities always wanted to “cry racism”. Dude, the guy used the N-word to describe a baby! If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck!

      • S

        ACK can’t multitask, sorry for stupid post above… anyway read the link; she is clearly talking about slavery in America.

    • auntbea

      The fact that she did not specifically intend to does not mean she didn’t. And in the context of the US (and the abolitionist movement) slavery does in fact have everything to do with racism toward blacks. Maybe she is not racist, but she obviously has no real understanding of what slavery meant.

    • You say “it’s obvious that she didn’t make it in order to specifically downplay the plight of the enslaved African American”. Personally, I think her statements have this effect regardless of her intentions. Yes, other people have been enslaved throughout history but, in the US the discussion of slavery most often refers to slavery as it was practiced in this country prior to the civil war. If you (=you at large, not you personally) call someone a racial slur and then say “oh but, that’s not how I meant it” or if you compare your situation to slavery and then say “oh well, I don’t mean to offend anyone whose ancestors were actually enslaved” it rings hollow to me. It seems to me that if Ms. Tritten were paying attention in history class, she would know that you can’t make statements comparing your completely unrelated situation to slavery and hope to avoid the issue of race. She is either
      A) totally clueless about how horrendous slavery actually was
      B) completely deluded in thinking that giving birth in a hospital could be as bad as being owned by another person or
      C) really doesn’t care how insensitive her statements are.
      None of these scenarios speaks very well of her as far as I’m concerned.

  • Ceridwen

    Slightly OT: Since I started reading this site every time I hear the Ben Folds song “Rockin the Suburbs” and he sings the line “ya’ll don’t know what it’s like/being male, middle class and white” I change male to female in my head and end up thinking about homebirth activists like this woman.

    • Certified Hamster Midwife

      You’ve put me in the mood for a song parody. You may come to regret this.

    • Certified Hamster Midwife

      Let me tell y’all what it’s like
      Mama, pale, middle class and white
      Time to birth kiddo number three
      Rushing through Hypnobabies

      Cram on

      My midwife in tune with the earth
      She promised me a waterbirth
      I hope this is really worth
      Slipping ’round with my pregnant girth

      I’m eating placenta
      Just like the Farm midwives did
      I’m eating placenta
      Or was that ancient hominids?
      I’m eating placenta
      I pay in cash and leave no tracks
      Because God forbid my midwife
      Have to pay some income tax

      • thepragmatist

        LMFAO!

      • AmyM

        Awesome. And the “I just went to the store….for some Preparation H” is still relevant! It’s like Ben Folds was channeling a pregnant woman! 🙂

      • Ceridwen

        Love it!

  • Isilzha

    And just in time for Black history month!

  • Captain Obvious

    “Birth rape”, “obstetrical violence”, and now comparing to slavery. What’s next comparing to the holocaust?

    • quadrophenic

      Has no one compared OBs or hospitals to Nazis yet? I would seriously doubt the comparison hasn’t been made. Rule number 1 of Internet controversies is that eventually someone will compare someone else to Hitler or Nazis.

      • thepragmatist

        No, I think the prolifers have that one covered.

      • TheHappyPappy

        Godwin’s Law. It rules the internet.

  • auntbea

    Putting aside the obviously offensive OB/slaver analogy, I still don’t understand the underlying theme about freedom to homebirth. Who is it, exactly, who is not free to homebirth and who thus needs to be emancipated?

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      I agree. As I’ve said, you can never “outlaw” homebirth because if a mom doesn’t go to the hospital, how can you stop her?

      What you can prevent is uneducated people masquerading as health care providers convincing them to do it.

      I’ve mentioned it many times, the concept is absolutely mond-boggling. Homebirth is something that is so risky that very few OBs would be willing to participate, so the solution is to have less qualified people attend instead.

      How does that make any sense?

    • I don’t have a creative name

      They don’t want freedom to homebirth; they already have it. What they want is freedom from any and all criticism. Not being able to squelch the free speech of those who think they are complete idiots (ie, 99% of the population) is “slavery” to them.

  • Serenity

    OT: a touching story of monoamniotic twins: “My Valentine’s Day Miracle” http://www.salon.com/2013/02/15/my_valentines_day_miracle_partner/ Get out the tissues.

    • Dr Kitty

      Oh you were not wrong!
      I am crying like a baby.

  • For real

    OT, but I have a confirmed sighting of the unicorn of childbirth: the orgasm. A real life woman (she exists, really) who had one with a walking epidural in the hospital. I was not a believer in the past, but this is pretty convincing.

    • Victoria

      Alert Cherie. They can talk.

      • thepragmatist

        You know, if that happened to me, I would find it really traumatizing. Like really, really traumatizing and upsetting. First of all, to orgasm near my son. Secondly, to orgasm in front of anyone other than my husband. I do not know why there is a whole movement around “Orgasmic Birth” because it does not make me want to have a vaginal birth AT ALL. It makes me feel skeeved out and disgusted. Orgasms =/= my baby. I can see how it might happen unintentionally (crazier shizza has probably happened!), and I am not going to tell some woman who had that experience that it’s unnatural or anything to be ashamed of, but if your AIM is to have an orgasm in childbirth, I think that’s just f-ing perverse, flat out. I find it a total lack of boundaries. Then again, I am pretty sure a lot of these women wouldn’t have a problem nursing a baby while having sex (heard it lots!) so you know, they’re not exactly stellar examples of healthy sexual boundaries. Skeeves. Me. Out.

        • quadrophenic

          Really? People nurse during sex? Yeah, sorry, that’s gross. Call me close minded, whatever. I don’t care.

          I wouldn’t want an orgasm during childbirth either. Pooping on the delivery table is embarrassing enough. Lets leave one bodily function private!

        • TheHappyPappy

          Damn you, pragmatist, now I can’t stop trying to picture the mechanics of that process. I keep thinking of different positions and trying to figure out how someone could hold a baby and keep them latched on while being humped. HOW DO YOU DO THAT?! And why, why, why would anyone want to? Are they so busy they actually need to multitask those activities? WHAT IN THE NAME OF ALL THAT IS HOLY IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE?!?! What kind of sick, perverted fetish would a man have to have to get off on looking at his partner and child BF while trying to achieve orgasm? And what kind of twisted pervert WANTS to combine the stimulation of a BABY (not a consenting adult partner) suckling with the stimulation of sex? I am squicked out beyond words even knowing people do this. I hate to say it, but there really is something borderline pedophilic about that. Yuckyuckyuckyuckyuck. >:-(

  • Dr Kitty

    I don’t think women in Ethiopia, Afghanistan, DRC etc are really that keen on having their care pried from the hands of the medical establishment and returned to the local traditional birth attendant.

    They’re still driving and walking for days through challenging terrain to have a chance to deliver their baby with an actual doctor, or to have an actual Dr repair the damage from their previous deliveries.

    • thepragmatist

      Yes, exactly. My family has recently welcomed a first generation immigrant from a poor developing country into our family. She thinks the NCB movement is insane. Back home, birth attendants are for the poor… anyone with any money has a hospital birth, and many with the means choose c-section.

      Another story that stay with me, from her, was about a childhood experience where she watched a woman giving birth on the sidewalk, while men walked by and spit on her. I don’t think I can even pretend to understand the culture shock. So I don’t. She is plenty happy to birth any babies she has here– except she wants a planned c-section (it’s considered a sign of status where she is from!) and so may go home to have one and be with her mother.

      Just sayin’, the world is a lot different than your little corner.

      • KarenJJ

        “Another story that stay with me, from her, was about a childhood experience where she watched a woman giving birth on the sidewalk, while men walked by and spit on her. ”

        Oh that’s heartbreaking. There are so many more offences in the world then someone saying that you’re being a bit precious about your birth not being as you perfect as you imagined.

      • auntbea

        On the sidewalk?!?! I spend a lot of time in Africa and am inured to a lot of stuff I probably shouldn’t be, but I can’t even imagine that happening. How horrifying.

        • thepragmatist

          She’s from the Middle East.

  • Squillo

    If you want to wet your pants laughing (if you had a vaginal birth–c/s moms may have better urinary control), check out Tritten’s self-aggrandizing editorial on “birth as a human rights issue” from 2010.

    She bemoans the notion that “birth practices controlled by a profession whose members have never witnessed a normal birth” and says “[m]idwives’ rights and mothers’ rights are being trampled in nearly every country of the world,” noting (wait for it…) Poland’s midwife Ágnes Geréb and France’s midwife Elisabeth Lathuille. Yes, these are her examples of human rights abuses.

    Then, she notes that she’s received suggestions from a midwife working in Uganda and lists them. The thing she doesn’t seem to realize is that many of the suggestions link to projects and organizations attempting to combat actual, real-world human rights problems, including the lack of access to the very thing Tritten derides: skilled birth attendants. Particularly piquant is the suggestion to “knit a blanket for the Adis Ababa Fistula hospital.”

    Jan Tritten is easily the stupidest celebrity in the homebirth advocacy circle.

    • Charlotte

      My friends feel sorry for me for having two emergency c-sections…….but I sure as heck don’t leak pee every time I laugh.

      • Certified Hamster Midwife

        My childless friends who are menopausal-aged and childless have warned me that not having a vaginal birth or never carrying a baby to term at all isn’t any protection from a leaky bladder once you’re old enough. Not sure whether they had hysterectomies.

        • theadequatemother

          Hmmmm I always assumed stress incontinence was in my future – after menopause. Didn’t expect to have it in my 30s….would gladly have traded a cs for 20 more years of dry panties while running jumping sneezing and coughing….oh and not having to mop my urine off the bathroom floor after a night of Norwalk.

          This idea that cs or choosing not to have children isn’t protective against Sui only works if you measure it in older women. Isn’t it more important to measure the premature ie premenopausal incidence?

          • VeritasLiberat

            not sure what Norwalk is. but I can tel you that they make some pretty good products ror dealng with urine leakage these days. They look and feel just like pantiliners – really thin. The larger size looks more like a sanitary pad (the new thin knd, not the old thick ones). The small ones handle coughing or laughing just fine and beat the hell out of wet underwar.

          • Poogles

            “Hmmmm I always assumed stress incontinence was in my future – after menopause. Didn’t expect to have it in my 30s….would gladly have traded a cs for 20 more years of dry panties while running jumping sneezing and coughing”

            One reason I plan to request a CS if/when I become pregnant is to take any precautions to lower my risk of making my stress incontinence worse…I don’t think I’ve been able to jump, jog, sneeze, or cough without leaking since before puberty, maybe even earlier. Hell, sometimes I leak just because I’m really cold (???), or when I’m getting in my car…it really, really sucks. If there is any possibility that a CS will cause less damage than a vaginal birth, I’m all over it. Not to mention all the other reasons I prefer CS 🙂

    • KarenJJ

      “Jan Tritten is easily the stupidest celebrity in the homebirth advocacy circle.”

      She’s climbed to the top of a very short ladder. So difficult to differentiate when so many of them say such idiotic things.

      We need an annual (or even weekly at the rate they’re coming out with daft things) award for most idiotic tripe from a homebirth advocate or midwife.

      • thepragmatist

        Oh! Dr. Amy really should do that! Like the Darwin Awards of NCB advocacy!

        • KarenJJ

          My recommendations would also include ‘hats on babies mean mothers won’t love them as much’ and ‘I hope that the widower remembers his wife had a lovely spontaneous homebirth’. Not quite as offensive to a large population as the screed linked to above however.

  • Squillo

    This is perhaps the stupidest, most offensive drivel ever to come from Tritten. And that’s saying a lot, given her corpus of stupid, offensive drivel.

  • thankfulmom

    Wow…just wow.

    I’m thankful for the medical establishment that kept me safe during my pregnancy with chronic hypertension, type II diabetes, and superimposed pre-eclampsia. I got a healthy little girl who is doing wonderful despite being born at 33 weeks.

    Thank God for all the smart people who enter medicine with the goal of helping mothers and babies.

  • theadequatemother

    “The abolitionists spent 40+ years working to free the slaves. First they appealed to the slaveholder’s reason—just like we are trying to do now with medical practitioners. For the past 37 years, ever since I first became a midwife, we have fought this fight. I first thought, “Okay, once they see how wonderful birth can be from the evidence coming out, they will change.” But this change hasn’t happened—things have only gotten worse.”

    When untrained lay people convince women that they can have their baby at home or in a birth center with no oversight and no f-ing idea what they are doing and preventable deaths and morbidity occur in infants, that is, indeed, evidence to medical professionals that OOH midwifery care in the US is worthless. For families that have lost an infant or whose child has sufferred irreparable harm at the hands of these charlatans and who have had no legal recourse, that is, indeed, evidence that OOH midwifery care in the US is worth fighting against.

    “More and more midwives are getting thrown in jail, persecuted and prosecuted, especially in the United States.”

    Because they are unlicensed, untrained lay people whose inappropriate actions resulted in preventable death or harm. Show me the lay midwife that has been persecuted after a picture perfect easy home labour and delivery of healthy baby. Show me.

    There are midwives that are worth collaborating with. CNMs, for example or degreed and credentialled midwives outside of the US. But these clowns? No….its akin to crying emancipation for psychopathic serial killers.

  • fiftyfifty1

    Pretty soon they will say that the eye ointment is the same as the medical experiments of the Holocaust.

  • PrecipMom

    Holy WHAT?!?!?! What the hell? I read the whole thing and I can’t keep track of how many things are wrong with it. Wow.

    How horrifyingly offensive to so many people. To people of color. To the medical community. To parents who have lost their babies or had their babies injured in home birth. It’s insane. Pure insanity.

    • PrecipMom

      Now let’s all whine about how hard it is to find an OB to collaborate with, while saying they are equivalent to slave owners. There is no disconnect there at all, right?

  • Staceyjw

    These same Midwifery Today clowns are having their annual meeting here in Eugene this April 16 IIRC. How are they advertising it, what’s the theme? HB MWery and NCB, as a HUMAN RIGHTS issue.

    Let me repeat that-
    HB MWery, and NCB, as a HUMAN RIGHTS issue.

    Not: Maternal mortality and what can be done to fix it, not child bearing in children forced to marry, not sexual slavery and trafficking, not even the right to healthcare for all mothers and babies.

    NOPE. The interests of MWs. That’s what they are calling a human rights issue. THEIR right to do what they please, when they please, with no restriction, simply because they claim the title MW. How very offensive. (I will find a link and put it in the reply.)

    Counter protest is in order!

    • quadrophenic

      Can you imagine what could be accomplished if these privileged women put an effort into a real human rights issue? Like the right of lower class women to adequate contraception and prenatal care? Or the rights of women in other countries to participate in even the most basic activities such as driving? Or the access to clean drinking water? Or hey, maybe use all that middle class privilege to help low income American children improve their literacy?

      • Durango

        Or, even, trying to put a stop to human trafficking.

        • Dr Kitty

          Never mind humans rights, latrines and soap would save more lives than nearly any other intervention.

          • Squillo

            And vaccines. Which Tritten hates.

          • Charlotte

            Ugh. I have little patience for vaccine rejectionists. It takes an incredible amount of willful blindness to be “skeptical” of vaccines in the face of such overwhelming proof of their value.

          • auntbea

            She believes vaccines killed a baby, and consequently refers to them as a “pet peeve”?

            Oh, those pesky baby killers. So annoying.

          • Sue

            That says a lot about her mentality.

        • Charlotte

          Yeah. Why don’t the try fighting *actual* slavery instead of claiming that giving birth in a hospital is the same thing?

    • Staceyjw

      It’s April 2! (not 16th)

      The title of their conference:

      “The PERSECUTION if MWs as a HUMAN RIGHTS Issue.”

      http://Www.midwiferytoday.com/conferences/Eugene2013/human_rights_summit.asp

      Yes, they went there! Who are these MWs?
      HB MWs in America, and probably some Barretts in Aus, NZ, UK.

      They equate slavery, sex trafficking, genocide, child marriage, maternal mortality with their “plight” in the Western world.

      Whats their “plight?”, what are they being “persecuted” for?
      A few US HB MWs are on trial for egregious negligent deaths of babies that happened due to their breaking of/ignoring the law. A few are finally in trouble for many negligent deaths, but only by their own board (Mulhahan), A few states don’t want to license CPMs. A few states don’t want Mediciad to pay them. Oregon- the bastion of lawless MWery- wants mandatory licensure, and some basic rules.

      • theadequatemother

        oh goody! michael odent is going to be there!

      • VeritasLiberat

        Should be April 1…

  • Are you nuts

    My sister just had her first baby with the inhumane intervention of an epidural. She slept through much of labor and had to be woken up to push. She pushed for 20 minutes and immediately breastfed her gorgeous baby girl. I guess I should call her and tell her that what she experienced was on par with slavery and she should probably start a blog about it.

  • anonomom, LLLL, IBCLC

    How appalling. I have no words.

  • The Computer Ate My Nym

    Perhaps nothing is as horrible as slavery

    “Perhaps”? PERHAPS?! What does she imagine might even come close? Ok, maybe genocide or even better genocide + slavery, but other than the Holocaust and the European exploitation and genocide of the earlier American population, what else even comes close? Certainly not having a pain free birth of a healthy baby in a hospital. No, not even if a c-section was involved.

    • VeritasLiberat

      North Korea, the USSR undr Stalin, and Ethiopia under Mengistu … more things that are incomparably worse than modern obstetrics…

      • thepragmatist

        Rwanda, Cambodia, China under Mao… could go on…

  • The Computer Ate My Nym

    Sorry, I know this is focusing on a minor point, but “motherbaby”? The mother and the baby are separate individuals, sometimes with separate agendas. Treating them as one unit does a disservice to both.

    And might it be worth pointing out that slaves all had UC and that African-American women today may feel a bit queasy about being urged into doing the same thing now for no reason other than (mostly white) women think it’s somehow superior?

    • Staceyjw

      Funny they bother mentioning baby at all. They don’t care one bit about the baby in any other circumstance.

      • StupidFlanders

        Just goes to show how the baby is truly a prop, only whipped out to further thier purpose or prove a point.

    • Charlotte

      Some of these NCB and extreme AP parents seem to think that they and their baby are one, unhealthily codependent unit that can’t function unless both are physically attached to each other at all times.

    • Jennifer2

      Yeah, I thought that was weird too. I pictured a giant baby in a diaper and bonnet standing in a kitchen cooking and yelling at her kids to stop fighting/coloring on the walls/whatever it is they’re doing.

    • Every time I see “motherbaby” I think of “motherboy” from Arrested Development.

      • Hiro

        Me too! I snorted out loud. I also had the passing thought thought, that maybe it was a typo and she meant mother/baby, but even that is weird.

  • attitude devant

    Good grief. These screeds from the NCB crowd are getting to be like one huge game of “Can You Top This?” “RAPE” “Trauma!” and now “Slavery” Do they have any idea how stupid they sound?