Childbirth Without Guilt

Pregnancy

I’ve finally gotten my act together to produce a book, entitled Childbirth Without Guilt. While it mentions homebirth, it is mainly about the feelings of guilt engendered by the natural childbirth, lactivist and attachment parenting movements. There is simply no reason why these movements should leave any woman feeling guilty.

The book’s publication is at least several months away, but as an adjunct, I’ve created a site by the same name with an innovative format.

I’ve always felt that you, my readers and commentor,s are an amazing resource and have wanted to find a way to showcase you. Childbirth Without Guilt is an innovative blog where YOU are the author, as well as a supportive community for women to discuss their feelings of guilt about epidurals, C-sections, bottle feeding and other choices that may work well for you and your family, but engender scorn from advocates of natural parenting.

You can submit your story about battling feelings of guilt or of overcoming them. After review, it will become a blog post complete with your byline (your real name or a screen name if you prefer). Others can offer advice and support in the comment section.

Stop feeling bad about your birth and start reaching out to others. You may be surprised to find that you are not alone.

I’d love your feedback (and participation!).

  • TracieL

    This is exactly what I needed a few years ago! I can’t wait to share my story and hopefully help another woman.

  • I’m reading all of these stories and am so thankful so many of you shared.

  • Lisa from NY

    As as avid reader, I love reading books that quote actual stories. As much as I learn from your posts, I learn even more from the stories your readers post. You have eye-opening tales from MDs, RNs and mothers on this site. If at all possible, email your readers and ask them permission to quote their stories in your book (or however it works when you have a site like this).

    Inserting true stories from all types of people will help catapult your book into the NYT bestseller list.

  • Stephanie

    I want to thank you for this site. I’m 14 weeks pregnant and very much want a natural childbirth. However, your articles have convinced me to have my baby in a hospital in case anything goes wrong. One question- how do you feel about birth position? I’ve heard from various mothers that giving birth on your back is more painful, but doctors prefer it because its more accessible. I’m afraid I will be wanting to give birth squatting or something but an OB will veto it. Anyone with expertise know more about this?

    • There are two issues:

      laboring positions
      and
      pushing positions

      From what I’ve gathered from others’ experiences, pain varies greatly with laboring positions, but little with pushing positions. You will likely be laboring far longer than you will be pushing.

    • ratiomom

      If there are no complications and you don`t have an epidural, you can pretty much do whatever you like. My hospital provides a bathtub, a birthing stool and a birth ball in every room.

      • AmyP

        Although to be fair, it’s tricky to do much when tethered to an IV stand.

        I found even bathroom visits a chore with an IV to manage.

        • LukesCook

          For the life of me I can’t imagine any activity that one might realistically want to engage in during labour which would be prevented by an IV. It’s really not a big deal.

          • AmyP

            I find even washing my hands in a hospital bathroom a chore when tethered to an IV stand. Not that it isn’t worth it to have the benefits of the IV, but it’s definitely a relief to be finally released once out of danger.

            With my first labor and delivery, it was a revelation to discover how much better it was to finally get an epidural and catheter and not have to make an hourly trek back and forth to the restroom while contracting and dragging an IV stand. Going half-way (IV stand and no epidural or catheter) really sucks (at least in my experience). I totally understand how women might believe that not having the IV would make them more comfortable when attempting a natural childbirth, although my advice would be to go whole hog in the other direction–take all of the interventions, be comfy, and take a nice nap.

            I really encourage the OBs and other health care professionals on this blog to work hard on prenatal education of patients, because there’s such a payoff in making sure that they understand what exactly the IV and other interventions are doing for them. I’m still really ticked off at my first OB for not explaining in advance that we’re going to do X, Y and Z, and here’s why it’s a good idea. It would be nice if doctors could depend on childbirth education classes to cover that material, but unfortunately, that’s not realistic, even for hospital-based classes.

          • fiftyfifty1

            I can. At least in early labor if one has the sort of early labor that feels more like “hard work” and not like torture. When pain is not that bad, I can see wanting to get up and walk around and go in and out of the bathroom etc. It’s possible to do with an IV pole, but annoying. However, once the real pain starts, “annoying” is the last thing that matters, at least to me. Now having a hep-locked IV (without pole), that’s a different matter. That’s not even annoying.

          • LukesCook

            Hmm, I don’t find it particularly difficult to walk with an IV. As you say, at worst it’s an annoyance, and a fairly trivial one in comparison to the various other “annoyances” that come with labour.

    • This isn’t a snide question but genuine bafflement – what thought process was it that led you to decide that you “very much” want a natural birth? I can understand very much wanting an easy birth where interventions and pain relief are not required, but simply cannot understand why natural is considered to be superior in itself. I imagine that at times and in places where there is no other option, most would envy women who do not have to settle for natural. I have read the better-for-the-baby and “so empowering” explanations but as I don’t believe either is true I still don’t get it. It just seems to me to be a very recent obsession that sets many up to fail and a few to succeed at something that doesn’t make much sense anyway.

      I will accept that getting what you WANT makes a difference – whether it is in regard to position, VBAC, natural. My daughter wanted an epi, and got natural instead, and was rather pissed off about it. So I hope yours goes well.

      • Gene

        Lizzie Dee, there was a post earlier discussing this (I think). The goal of childbirth has moved from a healthy mother and healthy baby to an intervention free birth (with maternal and infant health as secondary goals). The thought is that fewer interventions will lead to a healthier mother/baby. This is, of course, not a foregone conclusion.

        • I know it has shifted, I just don’t really understand when and why it shifted. And it isn’t so much a goal as an imperative with anything less seen as a failure and a source of shame, or shock and trauma. Natural is the dangerous and unpleasant default; we could all do it, and most would survive, but progress focused on making it less dangerous and unpleasant, and rejecting all “interventions” as if they were all bad lacks logic. So it has to translate into “I want to prove that the wasteful and savage laws of nature will be suspended for me, so that I can prove to myself and/or others that I am superior, special.” Why is that admirable? It is reasonable to hope, another thing entirely to expect.

          • KarenJJ

            “I want to prove that the wasteful and savage laws of nature will be suspended for me, so that I can prove to myself and/or others that I am superior, special.”

            That’s what I now suspect a lot of this ‘natural’ talk falls into. You become one of the ‘chosen ones’ that would survive the apocolypse or would have survived if born 100 years ago. A ‘good breeder’, ‘good genes’. Not just randomly lucky – fortune has decided to shine on you (for the non-religious types, insert deity for the religious ones).

            My genes are stuffed to start with so I very quickly became a huge fan of technology and medicine. It’s an extension of the type of thinking one of my housemates had ‘she must have done something bad in a past life to have deserved it’. Said to me about someone else’s disability but could very easily have meant me – I suspect she forgot I was similarly impaired when she said it (medication and hearing aids help me live pretty normally).

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            My kids teeth came in really early. I’m better than all of you!

          • Eddie

            It is funny how some parents say that they are better people because of some accomplishment (or in many cases, event or milestone) of their children. Live vicariously much? Some of these folks must lack a rich inner life that they have to live so entirely through their children.

      • Eddie

        Lizzie Dee: I’ve been wanting to say for some time that I always love reading what you write. You are one of my favorite commenters here The way you put things is just so … clear, so honest, so direct, so well and effectively put. You have a way of saying in a couple sentences what would take me a paragraph.

        • Oooh, ta.

          I am old, my children are grown, and this is a topic that has interested me for a long time. I have watched the discourses and the politics of it change over time from some fairly dire practices when my sister and older friends had their children through to better, safer practices and the idea that people want to put the clock back, or invent theories that leave women feeling like failures bothers me. You can’t fail at childbirth; chance smiles on you or it doesn’t. A bit like beating yourself up for failing to win a Lottery!

      • I can answer this for myself. During my last delivery (pitocin induced due to pre-eclampsia, with no pain meds) I definitley had some “why the heck am I doing it this way?” moments, so I’ve done a lot of thinking about it for my upcoming delivery. What is boils down to for me is a risk vs. benefit analysis. For many women, the benefit of pain relief is worth the minimal risks of an eipdural. For me, it is not. The reasons why I would choose pain over risk are specific to me, not generalizable to all women, but part of my calculation this time around is that I know I have relatively short labors…even with my first I was open to the possibility of an epidural if the pain went on for too long, which it didn’t. I’m worried about the idea of getting headaches from an epidural which could last for months (I don’t know if this is a real danger or not). I’ve always been reluctant to take medicines…I’ll suffer thru a cold rather than take medicine for it…and watching my sister almost die from an adverse reaction to a properly perscribed medicine makes me even more paranoid. I have a freaky metabolism that burns thru pain meds much more quickly than normal (my last root canal the dentist couldn’t believe how much it took to keep me numb), and I’d rather go into something painful knowing that it would be painful than thinking that it wouldn’t and then be surprised by the pain. And I just don’t like the idea of a big needle going into my back, and possibly having my legs not work properly, even temporarily. So there it is…one anecdotal reason to go into childbirth with the intention of refusing painkillers that has nothing to do with the “so empowering” explanations. And you better believe that if I’m in active labor for more than about six hours, I’ll be asking for painkillers.

        • What this boils down to is that this isn’t your first child, you have short labours and have found the pain manageable. That makes perfect sense to me, and as someone who also doesn’t bother with cold remedies (which don’t work) I would think along similar lines. But I hope I would not then EVER utter the words “I had a natural birth” to another woman but replace them with “I’m lucky. It was relatively easy for me.” (Easy labours, but pre-e disqualifies you as a Birth Goddess. I hope that like me you can live with the shame!)

      • Stephanie

        I think I bought into a lot of the ‘its better for the baby’ and ‘women are designed to give birth’ arguments. That’s why I thanked Dr Amy for this website- I’ve learned that these are not valid. I’m so so happy about my decision to give birth in a hospital. A lot of natural birth advocates make you feel like you’re a better mother if you give birth naturally, better yet unassisted! I no longer believe this. I still would like to try to give birth without an epi, but this is my first so I have no idea what I’m in for and am open to changing my mind. Bottom line, I just want a healthy, LIVE baby, and my best chances for that are in a hospital. The hurt my home birth stories break my heart.

    • Like you, Stephanie, I want the birth of the child I’m now carrying to be as natural as possible. I wish we could take the phase “natural childbirth” back from the people who have twisted it up so badly, but since we can’t, I’m going to define natural childbirth for the purposes of this comment as a childbirth that is entered with the intention of using no more medical interventions than are medically necessary.
      Despite what the “natural childbirth” activists tell you, it is absolutely possible to have a low-intervention birth in a hospital in the USA. I’ve done it twice. Birth position was a non-issue to the labor-and-delivery staff, so long as I could find a way to keep my monitors on. It is possible to get a heplock which will give them access you your veins just in case you start to hemorage, but doesn’t limit your mobility or make you need to constantly visit the bathroom like an IV would. I did find it labor more painful when I was on my back, but pushing itself was more effective that way (not flat on my back- the bed was tilted).

      • What bothers me here is the word “intention”, and a mindset that concludes that interventions are used for the fun of it. Maybe things are different in the US and they are over used – but why not make a fuss about that instead of assuming that intervention free is safer or better, and that they should all be fought over? Given that doctors have to go on the balance of probabilities, how are mothers supposed to figure out what is “medically necessary” if they are convinced that natural is always better? Maybe without NCB misinformation and a more realistic awareness of risk sensible women would be more likely to make sensible decisions, but fear of some cascade of interventions and the illusion of control isn’t helpful.

        • By “medically necessary”, I meant that the doctors who have actual medical training would make the determination as to what is medically necessary. Examples of interventions that are not medically necessary would be pain meds, and elective c-sections that are not medically indicated. Nothing wrong with either of those, and each woman should feel empowered to make whatever decisions are best for her, based on her personal risk/benefit analysis. Clearly my definition of “natural birth” is not sufficiently precise. I do think there is a need for an alternative definition of “natural birth” that acknowleges the very real risks of childbirth, and the very real benefits of medical interventions, while recognizing that some women do have relatively easy uncomplicated births, and that some women would prefer not to have IVs, pain meds, etc if they are lucky enough to not need them. I’m guessing that most women who ultimately embrace the current NCB orthodoxy didn’t start out wanting to completely turn their backs on modern medicine. If a competing definition of “natural birth” was available to them, one that doesn’t give them the illusion of control or shame them if they end up needing medical interventions in order to have a healthy baby, but also doesn’t carry the automatic assumption that medical interventions will be necessary, then a lot of women might gravitate towards that definition.

    • fiftyfifty1

      My 2 cents:
      It *is* harder for docs to do certain emergency maneuvers (such as shoulder dystocia or nuchal cord clamping) in certain delivery positions such as all fours or squatting on the floor. Despite that, most docs and CNMs are fine with you delivering in any position you want as long as all is going well.

      What I have seen, however, is that many women have a pre-conceived notion of what position they want to deliver in, but when the time comes the whole experience is nothing like they imagined and they end up choosing a different position all on their own, the most common of which is Semi-reclining. That is a half-lying/half-sitting position and the majority of women just choose it naturally and in addition it’s easy for the doc/CNM, so that’s an added benefit.

      One falsehood that is spread about hospitals is that “Doctors make you deliver strapped down lying flat on your back”. I have *never* seen anyone strapped down, and doctors very much discourage the flat on the back position as the weight of the baby pushes on the abdominal blood vessels in that position.

      The one position I would urge you to really think twice about before choosing is the deep squat position. Some countries such as Sweden promoted that position heavily for a time, but have reversed this since finding it increased 3rd and 4th degree tears.

      I hope all goes very well for you!

  • observer

    I just can’t help but think…isn’t it easier to mourn the birth you wanted but didn’t get than to mourn your child?

  • Great idea! Someday, perhaps, a companion “parenting without guilt” site could make a good extension. I’d love to help with that….

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      I couldn’t be in charge of that. As a Jewish mother, I practiced parenting WITH guilt.

      • I occasionally parent with guilt. Yesterday I held up yet ANOTHER empty toilet paper roll and demanded to know who did that AGAIN. Mommy the inquisitor!

        • LynnetteHafkenIBCLC

          I often wonder if we identify as guilt a feeling that is actually fear. Fear we did the wrong thing and our children will suffer for our mistakes. I dont really feel guilty about much; everyone’s human including parents, and I certainly dont want my kids feeling like I expect perfection. But I am pretty much terrified a lot of the time that I’m screwing up the thing that’s more important to me than anything.

          • ratiomom

            Totally OT, but I just had a look at your website and I just LOVE your approach to breastfeeding support. It`s such a breath of fresh air compared to other blogs by IBCLC`s who go out of their way to heap the fear, guilt and shame on distraught women whose breastfeeding isn`t working out. Thank you!

          • LynnetteHafkenIBCLC

            Thank you! Though I hate to hear that you have found IBCLCs who shame women. I know there are plenty of self-proclaimed lactivists who do so, but someone who has gone to the considerable trouble of becoming an IBCLC should know better.

          • ratiomom

            If you feel up to it, google `analytical armadillo`. She`s a British IBCLC and her blog consists of about 20% breastfeeding advice and 80% anti-formula propaganda in every form imaginable. She has written an incredible amount of posts on a laundry list of `dangers` of everyform of infant feeding other than exclusive breastfeeding.
            Believe me: if you are a distressed postpartum woman searching the internet for breastfeeding advice, blogs such as that one are a very bad place to find yourself.

          • LynnetteHafkenIBCLC

            I skimmed it. It’s too bad that she can write nice balanced posts like this:

            http://www.analyticalarmadillo.co.uk/2013/04/starting-formula-doesnt-have-to-mean.html

            and then turn around and say things like “when you can prove formula is ‘nearly as good’ – we’ll talk!” It makes the first post seem like just a manipulative ploy to keep women breastfeeding at all costs, rather than a way for moms to figure out what works best for them.

          • fiftyfifty1

            ” but someone who has gone to the considerable trouble of becoming an IBCLC should know better.”

            Maybe. But on the other hand, to go through all that trouble and then look at the data and realize that in the end breastfeeding just isn’t that important…..

          • Antigonos CNM

            I think they are associated. I once apologized to my kids that I hadn’t played enough with them when small — I was working full time with three children only 31/2 years apart in total, and a husband who did not help me around the house — and my now adult children were amazed: “but WE remember you playing with us very well!” A lot of parents are frightened their children will judge them after they grow up.

      • I’ve never felt any guilt at my failure to be a Birth Goddess. It was never on my list of aspirations, and I am afraid I fail to find it admirable in others. I can and do delight in a happy birth story, until people start implying it was some badge of merit.

        Mommy guilt though – I am far too susceptible to that. I thought it came in with your milk, and lasted a lot longer.

        • fiftyfifty1

          “I’ve never felt any guilt at my failure to be a Birth Goddess. It was never on my list of aspirations, and I am afraid I fail to find it admirable in others.”

          I will admit I do admire the ability to reproduce easily. You know, the women who get pregnant without trouble, have comfortable pregnancies, give birth after 4 hour labors, breastfeed without a hint of pain etc. It is the same admiration I feel for people who have room for their wisdom teeth. I love looking in the mouths of people with genetically big jaws. Their teeth just seem to go on and on. It’s like looking into the mouth of a shark. What an impressive sight!
          But as an aspiration? No. It doesn’t work that way.

          • What you are describing is an experience of an easy, ideal, problem free birth. Maybe that does indicate that you are some superb example to the rest of us, and SHOULD be admired – but how common is it? I think perhaps I just have a problem with the idea that how one’s body functions should define one’s authenticity, virtue or womanliness.

            But it is the natural birth achieved through gritted teeth and based on mistaken assumptions that I fail to understand.

      • Antigonos CNM

        Is there any other kind? (big grin)

      • theadequatemother

        We get Jewish guilt from my husbands side and Protestant guilt from my side. We have all bases covered and double the holidays and family dinners in which to experience it.

      • Lol! I’m sure my mom would agree!

      • yentavegan

        Kindred spirits!!!

  • I just had a 6 weeks post partum visit at my midwivery practice. The midwife said how sorry she was for me for not being able to give birth in the nice birth centre, and I’m like: are you kidding me, the hospital was awesome! And I got pain relief! Of course, she didn’t fail to mention how drowsy babies get from pethidine- it didn’t have any effect on him at all! I was so happy about this birth, and she’s feeling sorry for me? I don’t get it! Why doesn’t she just listen instead of assuming that everybody wants to have a natural birth!

    • which is to say that I love the idea! I’ll share this page with my friends in the Netherlands- which we all know is NBC paradise, and many of my friends have had similar stories to the ones you’re featuring here.

    • ratiomom

      I have the same experience! While waiting for my postpartum checkup, I received condolences from a fellow patient for having a cesarean.

      Coming from a woman who had just sustained a 4th degree tear and was still incontinent, it sounded bizarre.

      There were 2 women and 2 babies in that waiting room, and I was the only one not wearing a diaper….Why she felt that I was the one with the worse outcome is really beyond my understanding.

      • I’m sorry… for her! And happy for you! I feel that after three natural births I don’t have any problems in this regard! Don’t worry about women like her, the important thing is that you and baby are healthy, and you’re happy with the experience πŸ™‚

      • Eddie

        This makes me think of people who spent far, far more energy on their wedding day than on their marriage. I bring this up to show that this bizarre focus on one event (birth or wedding) rather than on what is important (the long term) is not isolated.

        We live in a culture that values image over substance. Style over utility. One result is that many people value “the experience” over the outcome.

        Also, many people who have been through a terrible experience (or even a good experience with a terrible long-term consequence) have to find a way to justify that experience. Find a way to tell themselves they made the right choice, because otherwise the bad part is THEIR fault.

        • KarenJJ

          “We live in a culture that values image over substance.”

          Good grief – you’re not my Dad are you? I can’t imagine Dad on here, but it is one of my dad’s sayings “image over substance”. I now say the same thing to my kids. Poor kids – they’ll get annoyed but will hopefully pass on the same message themselves to their kids one day πŸ™‚

          • Eddie

            LOL that’s not one of my sayings per se (“image over substance”) but it has long been one of my complaints about American culture. I only have one biological child and she’s pretty young. πŸ™‚

            It IS funny the things we channel from our parents, many of which we promised we would NEVER say to our kids when we had them.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          We live in a culture that values image over substance. Style over utility.

          “When I see depressing creatures with unprepossessing features I remind them on their own behalf to think of celebrated heads of State or even ‘great communicators.’ Did they have brains or knowledge? Don’t make me laugh! They were popular! It’s all about popular! It’s not about aptitude, it’s the way you’re viewed, so it’s very shrewd to be very, very popular. Like me!”

          I contend it started with Reagan, although that may have just been a reflection of the time, and not the source. Nonetheless, Reagan exemplified it well. Recall that was the time when we also had Billy Crystal on SNL saying, “It is better to look good then to feel good, you know what I mean? You look mah-velous!”

    • moto_librarian

      My youngest just turned one, and I posted a photo of me resting comfortably in L&D thanks to the miracle of epidural anesthesia. The CNM who delivered my older son (a “natural” birth) commented that “an epidural makes the birth better for everyone, Mom and midwife!” This midwife was incredibly supportive during my first birth, supporting me through the most horrible pain I had ever experienced and taking excellent care of me when I had a pph. She really practices what midwifery care claims to be: “with women.” Her colleagues were of the same mind. This is how midwifery is supposed to work!

  • The Bofa on the Sofa

    Not unrelated or off topic:

    Saw it on Twitter this morning…

    “Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors – Africa proverb”

    All I could think was, midwives being “experts in normal birth” are like sailors who are “experts in calm seas”

  • Nannah

    THANK YOU Dr Amy!

    For helping women in a vulnerable situation see the `guilt and shame` propaganda of the NCB/breastfeeding/AP lobby for what it is.

    For calling them out on their doublethink, antifeminism and biological determinism.

    For being one of the very few places on the internet where those who are not buying it can feel safe and form a community.

    For being the voice of the silent majority of women who value the baby`s health over the birth experience, who don`t feel that their worth as mothers correlates with the amount of unnecessary physical pain they choose to endure, who are aware that parenthood is so much more than breastfeeding, who don`t buy into the dogma that it is a womans duty to live her life as a martyr to her children`s every whim. The fanatics may be a minority, but they are extremely vocal and in many places they have the ear of policymakers. It`s time for us to speak up.

    • Esther
      • ratiomom

        Is this real or a hoax? It`s all of the woo, and nothing but woo.

        The page reads like a catalog of the `natural guilt industry`: pain relief is evil, cesareans happen because you just didn`t try hard enough, formula is toxic, virulent intactivism, attachment parenting as the only acceptable choice, modern medicine is a conspiracy … even our friends the anti-vaxers are there!

        • Esther

          I thought so too at first, and maybe I’m missing it, but I don’t see any indication it’s a hoax.

      • Eddie

        Blink, blink. Wow, is that for real? A woman feeling deep shame at having gotten an epidural because of how it affected her child? Huh? Lots of antivax. Wow, and “supportive comments only” repeated, to guarantee the echo chamber effect.

  • araikwao

    Very excited about this! I’m looking forward to submitting my story, for the cartharsis, but also because I’d like to contribute towards something that reduces the shite quotient of birth&parenting stories/info on the Net.

  • MikoT

    Very nice layout. Just to nitpick a few issues:
    – The red circle on the banner is the wrong shape, has horrible aliasing and the colour gradient needs to match the surface topography.
    – “Submit your story” button needs a link hover response
    – In the “Intro Message” section, the text “Childbirth Without Guilt” needs either quotation marks or italics etc. Some paragraphs would be nice too.
    – The site-title link hover would be better with a colour change than underline
    – The text colour in the search bar needs to be darker
    – Need a search bar on the front page
    – The “Continue Reading”, “Submit Your Story” and the nav buttons link hover would work better with a font colour change in addition to the existing background colour change
    – For “ALSO ON CHILDBIRTH WITHOUT GUILT” lose the capitals for the “Also on” and linkify the “CHILDBIRTH WITHOUT GUILT” part..

    • MikoT

      For the “Submit your story section”:
      – “Submit Your Story”
      – Section headings should all have colons afterwards, or none of them,
      – Need a line-break after the “Story” heading
      – Reset button needs to be styled like the other buttons on the site.
      – “Submit the Post” button has a different font from the other buttons on the site

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      The problem is that I am only a CPW, a certified professional webmaster, not a real webmaster.

      In all seriousness, it took me quite some time to get the website to this point, and I’m not sure how to fix many of the issues you noted. At the moment, I am trying to figure out why the homepage doesn’t have an “older posts” link at the bottom.

      • Awesomemom

        I think you did pretty good for a CPW.

        • Susan

          Me too but she definitely doesn’t have the defensive self righteous dodge of criticism down yet.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Professional webdesigners screw up designs, too

          • Eddie

            Oh yea, that is absolutely true. Aside: I’m still laughing at “CPW.”

        • Certified Hamster Midwife

          Some websites just weren’t meant to load.

      • PollyPocket

        I think the website looks great.

        If you want to get ambitious with programming, universities with computer engineering programs and web design programs always have students who can do great work at a much lower cost than a professional.

      • MikoT

        These aren’t really issues, just tweaks. Overall the site layout looks very professional.
        Fixing it is very easy – you just need to add a few lines to the custom.css file to fix most of them.
        I’ll email you a list if you like.

        • Amy Tuteur, MD

          I would appreciate that very much.

    • theNormalDistribution

      Linkify, the technical term.

    • fiftyfifty1

      All these “problems” you point out are just variations of normal.

    • Laura

      Miko T: you sound like a professional web designer. Perhaps you could help Dr. Amy make those changes you suggest? I’m really looking forward to this new innovative blog.

  • Ethan’s mom

    I very nearly died due to pre-e complications (acute renal failure topped with liver inflammation and pneumonia) and spent what felt like a lifetime in ICU on magnesium sulphate among other medications, which ultimately saved my life. All my doctors, and even my son’s pediatrician advised against breastfeeding because of the risk it would pose to my baby and they felt my recovery was more important. Yet, that didn’t stop the lactivists and ncb crowd from chastising me for not breastfeeding, and for having the evil lifesaving c/s.
    Forget the fact that my son and I spent much of his first two weeks apart in our respective ICUs, and for the longest time I thought I wouldn’t live to see my son grow up. Do they care about those things when they’re readying their whips to beat you? No…

  • theNormalDistribution

    This is awesome. I can’t say I’ve had opportunity (or was likely) to feel guilty about any parenting choices yet, but I think there’s a real need for something like this.

    Your graphic is in sore need of some anti-aliasing in the belly area, though.

  • Charlotte

    THANK YOU! The Skeptical OB has been my safe haven where I don’t have to feel guilty for having to stop breastfeeding at 3 months, or that I’m ultimately glad my attempted vaginal births ended in c-sections. I’m tired of people blaming my pre-e and HELLP on what I did or didn’t eat. I’m tired of being criticized for baking a boxed cake for my daughter’s birthday instead of an organic, “toxin-free” one. I’m tired of being told my daughter’s delays are because I let her play with plastic toys that make music and light up instead of “natural” wooden toys. It’s ridiculous. Your book is very badly needed.

    • AmyM

      Wow..where do you live? Doesn’t sound like very nice neighbors to me. I don’t know if these guilt-mongers do it in front of their children, but if so, they are modeling some terrible behavior. A boxed cake?! Really!?! Those people need to get outside their little privileged bubble and take on real problems, if they are bored and looking for something to do. Don’t like boxed cakes? Start a toxin-free (whatever the hell that means) bakery, and ship your product internationally.

      You know the saying “Shit happens”…well, pre-e and HELLP happen, just like shit. πŸ™‚ It is well known, among people who believe in science anyway, that prematurity can lead to delays, and the more premature, the more likely there will be delays, and the more likely they will be severe. I know YOU know that, but it’s not a really difficult concept to grasp. What did Albert Einstein play with? Of course we don’t know, and I don’t think plastic was around, at least not for toys when he was a child….but he easily could have had wood/metal/glass toys that make music (when you hit them….just like a button!).

      • VeritasLiberat

        Actually, Einstein had a speech delay. Must have been the battery-powered plastic music toys…

        • Eddie

          I started speaking so late that my parents brought me to a child psychiatrist. (In the 60s.) When I did start speaking, I went very quickly to sentences, and now you can’t shut me up. That just seems to be how my brain works even as an adult. When I learn something totally unfamiliar, I find it mystifying until it suddenly all-at-once makes sense to me. Almost all people I know learn more linearly.

          Many of these judgmental people want everyone to think the same way, learn the same way, reach the same milestones in the same order at the same times … people are not cookie-cutter. I’ve watched the American school system totally revise how they teach once every decade or so, “No, THIS is how everyone learns.” More recent changes have them finally recognizing that we don’t all think in the same way or learn in the same way.

          • auntbea

            I did that with math! Every year I was so painfully confused, and then the next year, we would do that week of review, and I would go, “Really? That’s all we were trying to do?”. Repeat cycle.

          • AmyM

            Yeah, multiple intelligences finally caught on. πŸ™‚

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        You know the saying “Shit happens”.

        I live my life on the guiding principle that, sometimes, shit happens for no reason at all. It makes no sense to obsess over the whys.

        Like, when you trip over a crack in the sidewalk, or when you are walking up the steps and you “miss.” Shit happens.

        • Box of Salt

          John Lennon: “Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans.”

          I had that album. On vinyl (I suppose my folks still do, but none of us can play it. On vinyl). I still had to look it up to get the wording right.

    • Elizabeth Abraham

      Speaking as someone who bakes from scratch… who the heck can tell if you’re serving box mix cake?

      I enjoy baking, so I do it a lot. I indulge in quite elaborate baking for special occasions. For people who can tell the difference. When someone with the palette and desires of a five year-old announces a desire for strawberry cupcakes with pink frosting to school, i fall back on betty Crocker.

      • me

        I’m a terrible mom. Okay, I make it from scratch, but all 3 of my kids’ 1st b-day cakes involved copious amounts of white flour, white sugar, hershey’s cocoa powder (which I’m certain is “poison” lol), and, get this, coffee πŸ™‚ Of course, for the first few years, I make them MY fav kind of cake. Once they are old enough to care, they get choices. πŸ˜€ When my oldest wanted a strawberry cake in February (in the NE), you bet I broke out the boxed cake mix, lol.

      • GiddyUpGo123

        For my first child’s first birthday, I baked a cake from scratch. It was the ugliest cake ever, and it took forever to make. Now I get all my cakes from Safeway. They are beautiful and I always get compliments. And it only takes five minutes to pick them up. πŸ™‚

      • Antigonos CNM

        You know, when Betty Crocker introduced the first cake mixes, they didn’t sell well. Market research discovered that women felt guilty giving their families something which was undeniably tasty but required no real effort — just needed to have water added and the mixture stirred. So the manufacturers changed the formula — add an egg [which could have been already in the mix in powdered form], or a separate packet with the flavoring, etc. which made mixing the cake slightly more of a job. Sales went up.

        I’m beginning to think birth is like that. What value does birth have if you don’t suffer horribly or make it as complicated as possible?

        • Eddie

          Good point. It’s human nature to not value something that is free or cheap or easy. This is one reason why some people create so much drama in their lives. (And that’s usually the very people who say they hate drama, but that’s neither here nor there. People who actually hate drama avoid it and don’t have to say anything about it. I’m off on a tangent though.)

          • Bombshellrisa

            Actually I think that it ties in nicely. NCB types insist that a hospital is a place full of people who want to cause drama (those pesky nurses and docs who offer pain meds and are poised to set a plan in motion should anything happen) and that they just want a peaceful birth experience at home in an intimate setting-where they invite 20 people, hire a birth photographer, have someone take a video, have their midwives who bring assistants and students, and post the whole thing on the internet complete with pics of their naked selves and children.

      • Isramommy

        A lot of products made with hydrogenated oils do have a certain after taste. I can tell the difference. Because of kosher dietary laws I come across a lot of parve (neither meat nor dairy) deserts and cakes made with margarine or other milk substitutes, and it just isn’t the same. Unfortunately, most boxed cake mixes are also made with hydrogenated oils.

        I doubt my toddler has developed this level of sophistication. Her day care seems to have a birthday party every week, and I neither know nor care how the other mothers are preparing the birthday cakes. Unless they’re adding actual arsenic, I’m not too worried about “toxins”, even if **I** think the boxed mix cake is awful. My kid is two and she likes chocolate cake. Period. For her party, I did a simple one bowl dairy sheet cake that was cheaper to make and basically just as easy as a box mix. Since I was going to be at the party, I wanted to make a cake I’d enjoy too.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          A lot of products made with hydrogenated oils do have a certain after taste. I can tell the difference…Unfortunately, most boxed cake mixes are also made with hydrogenated oils.

          The cake mixes we use are made with oil, not margarine (or butter). I know the Betty Crocker Devil’s Food cake we made yesterday was 3 eggs, 1/2 cup of vegetable oil, and 1 1/4 cups of water. They ended up delicious.

          The frosting had a couple of TBS of butter in it, along with the fat in the chocolate.

    • Eddie

      Holy wow. Not only are we not afraid to use cake mix… we’re not afraid to use store-bought cake! The mix is cheaper, though, so we prefer that, plus our kids like to help bake. I don’t understand these judgmental people. As if any of this stuff makes a noticeable difference.

      I did have one girlfriend two decades ago, however, who had a strange reaction to store-bought beef, but when we bought “antibiotic free, free range, no growth hormone” beef she was fine. Never did even a single-blind test of this, but I don’t believe it was in her head. With this one exception, I’ve never seen any of that stuff make a significant or noticeable difference anywhere.

      I’d love to find a study that talks about these crazy people and where they are located (socioeconomically and physically), because my wife and I so far have never run into any of them. Maybe because she’s an immigrant she gets a pass? Maybe I’m not in a rich enough neighborhood? I’ve heard so many folks on the internet talk about encountering this, but no-one I’ve met in person.

      • Suzi Screendoor

        Grocery story beef is often dyed red to make it look more appetizing. I’ve never heard of it causing a reaction, but having grown up on beef raised in my own backyard I sure can’t stand the smell of the dye.

    • Wishful

      A) Before a certain age they don’t even remember that its their birthday nor will they remember it when they are older. I the only reason they will know it happened is they might see pictures.

      B) Why should anyone else care what you serve! If they don’t like it no one is gonna make them eat it. The first birthday I can remember having we had no cake. We had a dollar jar of pickles (one of my favorite foods), that we ate in the dark because my parents couldn’t afford to keep the lights on. I still remember that birthday party, because I felt lucky to be so loved that despite the fact we were all sitting in the dark with no heat and no lights that my parents loved me, they loved me enough to celebrate me at a time when there wasn’t much to celebrate in our lives.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      I really have to say, I certainly hope that anyone who had the audacity to criticize you for your choice of cake at your child’s birthday party is no long on your “spoken to” list. I would immediately cease all communication with them.

      That someone would use a friggin birthday party as an excuse to get all self-riighteous shows how absolutely awful human beings they are.

      That’s really low.

      • Charlotte

        I was honestly more annoyed at the one who told me that *she* would never use food as a reinforcer after she saw me give some ice cream to my kid at a different party. She is my social circle’s self-appointed parenting expert because she has a degree in psychology. Never mind that it’s adult psychology and she’s single and childless.

    • Love baking, but I probably wouldn’t do it if I didnt’ have to- too lazy πŸ™‚

    • Bombshellrisa

      A “toxin free cake”-yeah, I think we have same friends. The same kind of people who won’t eat a meal you lovingly prepared because the meat and veggies weren’t purchased at Whole Foods.
      As for toxins, remind these *lovely* people that a person releases bacteria into their bloodstream every time they have a bowel movement. So much for avoiding toxins : p

      • Eddie

        But those are *natural* toxins, so they’re OK. Cue Inigo Montoya: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2y8Sx4B2Sk I continue to find it amazing the things people worry about. I’m so glad and so lucky that I don’t run into these people. My mouth would get me into trouble.

        • Charlotte

          It was a Funfetti boxed cake, the kind with the sprinkles in the batter. She thinks artificial dyes are too toxic for her kid, especially blue.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Fine, let her know that it’s obvious she doesn’t want you or your kids near hers, since you cannot guarantee that they won’t be near something that she finds objectionable. Adios, wench.

            I love those confetti cakes.

          • Bombshellrisa

            Tiny little sprinkles, that is what she is throwing a fit over? I have some fond memories of making Funfetti cakes and cupcakes as a kid. Besides, how many kids do you know that eat the entire slice of cake at a party? The few bites of “toxins” aren’t going to do much.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Thanks to this thread, I got in the mood and made cupcakes today. From a box, of course, but the frosting I made straight up (melted my own chocolate for it, even). Granted, it consisted of water, butter, vanilla, chocolate, and powdered sugar, but hey, no mix! (I thought about 3 seconds about making a fudge chocolatefrosting but then I remembered that I am a disaster with a candy thermometer and that would not be a good experience)

          • Bombshellrisa

            That sounds so good.
            Lumpy or otherwise not perfect frosting is simply a variation of normal. The experience of making the frosting is what is important, not the end result

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            I forgot to mention last night, the KIDS and I made cupcakes. They like to help, and do a good job. My older one can crack the eggs, and didn’t even get any shells in this time.

          • auntbea

            My father worked his through college as a chef and is quite picky about food and cooking technique. Guess who got the eggshell from my special baking projects 100% of the time. And then guess who was eventually banned from baking until she was a teenager.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Oh, we always crack eggs into a separate dish just to be safe. Easier to find the shells that way.

            OTOH, I was watching him do it yesterday, and will say his technique is very good. He has been practicing.

          • EmbraceYourInnerCrone

            Well there are some people who do have actual allergies to food dyes, but I have only met 2 so far and I’m fifty. One is a coworker of my husbands and one is a friend of my daughter’s. Fun fact, what they are both allergic to is Red dye #40 and when my husbands coworker was having horrible allergic reactions and her doctors were trying to find out what she was allergic to they gave her Benadryl capsules for the symptoms. Guess what is in the regular Benadryl capsules. Yup, Red dye #40…

            Its also in green gummy bears,,,weird

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            If the problem is that the child has an allergy, though, then just say that. The whole point of this post is that it is silly to judge people for things over which they do not control (such as allergies).

            The problem is the “he can’t eat that because it is not healthy” attitude. Among the problems with it is that I am less of a parent because I DO allow my kids to eat cake with sprinkles.

            No one who is worried about allergies is going to avoid giving their child something because it is “toxic” – they will pass on it because the child is allergic to it.

    • Cellist

      I wonder if He Who Shall Not Be Named brought his own birthday cake to kids parties? Not much of a stretch from bringing his own food as a house guest!

      • Bombshellrisa

        Who in their right mind would risk having to be trapped with him in their house on what is supposed to be a fun and happy occasion? I can just see that cake, made from pulverized beans and rice and frosted with breastmilk icing.

    • Cellist

      THe Australian Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday Cake Book, which is, frankly, the birthday cake bible in Australia ENCOURAGES the use of packet cake mixes!!!!

      • KarenJJ

        My kids don’t eat cake – only the icing on top. I’ve given up on birthday cakes and instead by an icecream cake. Loads of fun and toxins for all the family!

  • KumquatWriter

    Will be working on it…

  • AmyM

    Yes, i started reading this blog the other day, I think it is a great idea. I’ve never really been made to feel guilty for my choices, though I’ve had some interesting run-ins with proponents of AP and NCB.

  • Laural

    Awesome! Timely, relevant, I can’t wait.