Birth bullies, breast bullies and socially acceptable shaming

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It’s been a depressing series of decades for those who find deep and abiding satisfaction in bullying others. You can no longer shame people for being divorced or for having a child without being married. You can’t look down on people of different races, sexes or religions. You can’t shame people for being gay and at the rate things are going, it won’t be long before it will be frowned upon to shame people for being overweight.

But, in this world of ever decreasing shaming opportunities, there are still some tried and true options available. You can still shame another women for being a bad mother. In fact, not only are the old options available (“I can’t believe your 14 month old is not walking”; or “My Johnny is always picked first for sports teams”; not to mention the ever popular “I’m so sorry that your child is going to a state college and not the elite college my child is attending.”), there are some outstanding new options. These include shaming women about the births of their children, and shaming them if they did not meet an your preferred length of breastfeeding, or (heaven forfend!) never breastfed at all.

The new methods for bullying/shaming mothers are just as satisfying as the old ones, but they have one important advantage. With the old methods, it was regrettably clear that the only person benefiting from shaming was the person doing the shaming. With the new methods, you can actually pretend that you are shaming another mother, not merely for her benefit, not merely for her child’s benefit, but for the benefit of society. It’s a win-win: all the fun of bullying another mother plus a dollop of self-righteous concern for public health.

Another benefit of the new shaming methods is the opportunity for creativity. So many of the old methods were restricted by the need to tell the truth whereas lying is not merely permitted in the new methods, it is positively encouraged. There’s no need to stick to the actual risks of cesareans or pitocin when so many attractive lies exist: they cause autism, they destroy gut bacteria, they change the very genes of the baby! So not merely is another mother a total loser for having a C-section, she can be shamed for actively harming her baby.

The same creativity applies to the benefits of breastfeeding: it prevents every disease known to man; it cures every disease known to man; there is no problem that exists that cannot be solved by squirting breast milk at it! When a mother is unwary enough to acknowledge in your presence that she doesn’t breastfeed, you can accuse of harming her child, AND being a selfish slob who puts her convenience ahead of her child’s brain functioning. It’s hard to imagine more satisfying bullying then that.

But it isn’t enough merely to bully women one on one; bullying can be institutionalized. Baby Friendly Hospitals represent breast shaming on steroids. Locking up formula in hospitals is oh so painful for mothers and so satisfying for shamers. If only they could require prescriptions for formula, breast bullies’ lives would be complete. And best of all, they are doing the shaming for the public good!

That’s why any attempt to inject sanity into debates about childbirth or breastfeeding must be resisted vociferously. How dare any expert point out that C-sections are often better for babies than vaginal birth? How dare any expert claim that you can raise an intelligent child without breastfeeding? Isn’t any form of shaming sacred anymore?

Being a bully is fun! Being a birth or breast bully is better than fun; it is a public service. They may have taken away the shame of illegitimacy. They may have made gay jokes socially unacceptable. It’s only a matter of time before fat shaming is frowned upon. But when it comes to birth and breast bullying, the sky is still the limit!

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  • NursingRN

    And I work at a Baby Friendly in the making hospital. We are actively being trained on how to bully women in to breastfeeding and rooming in. If a woman wants to formula feed, we have to “educate” her and make her sign an informed consent, stating she has been “educated” on the risks and dangers of formula feeding and the superiority of breast milk and still chooses to feed artificial milk to their child. We will soon be placing formula in the Pyxsis machine where they can have a record of what nurse took out how many bottles of formula when. We have to document WHY the mom chooses formula. We have been instructed to put all formula away in the farthest storage closet in the “Newborn Observation Unit” (because it’s not Baby Friendly to refer to it as a nursery). We got new mugs for moms with our logo on it-and GASP! Somehow a pacifier showed up on it, so we have to either place a patient label over it, or- when giving the mug to mom, go to great lengths to impart to her how we SO don’t condone the use of the soothie. “A soothie? What is that? NO! We don’t DO that here!” Someone suggested we sell them on the black market. :)

    This doesn’t even touch the “educating” we as nurses are having to have. The extreme over the top education packet from the UK that essentially says formula is poison, and that children who are given formula will be sick, obese delinquents while breast fed children will be highly intellectual, well balanced and healthy. I had to stop reading the packet several times because it was seriously making me mad. And this is someone who breast fed both her kids and will breastfeed any other children she has. And don’t get me started on rooming in. I happily took a baby to the “not the nursery” because mom was recovering from a C/S (uh oh!) and the baby was just inconsolable for 95% of the time. That mom needed a break. I wonder if the rate of shaken baby would go up if all hospitals were baby friendly and demanded the baby be in the room at all times?

    • Jessica S.

      Bless your heart for being compassionate and understanding. As for myself, pregnant with number two and planning to feed the wee one with formula from day one, just like I did with her exceedingly smart and healthy 3.5 year old brother, I’m so beyond offended at the idea that I would have to sign something saying I understood all that I was getting in to by not breastfeeding, or whatever. If put in such a position, I would take the hand of the nurse administering the form, genuinely convey that the manner in which I was about to sign the form is no reflection on them as person and then write FUCK OFF in capital letters on the form.

      It’s not a bad thing to want to educate patients. But it’s a terrible thing up assume they are unable to educate themselves, in the event that they haven’t chosen the PREFERRED learning path.

      • Stacy21629

        It’s so incredibly pervasive. My milk dried up at 3 months or so, my baby was starving and weighed just 7.5# at 4 MONTHS of age. Putting her on formula exclusively saved her life. But every time I pull the tub out of the cabinet I see “Breast milk is best for babies.” as the first line on the back of the can. No. For my baby it was not. FORMULA is best for my baby. Stupid.

        • Jessica S.

          Yeah, for real! We should back that statement up a step and start with “FOOD is best for baby.” Now, with that in mind, here are the options. :)

          • Stacy21629

            Maybe I’m feeling snippy tonight…but all of a sudden I want to call their 800 number and tell them their label SUCKS. :-P
            I wish you all the best with your little one. I breastfed my first for a year…but I have to say I have enjoyed the freedom of formula. I’d still breastfeed again if we get pregnant…but there are some serious hassles to it too. Mixing up a bottle and propping her with a pillow so I can get dinner started is so freeing!

          • Bombshellrisa

            If you called and told them that, you would merely be stating the truth. I hate those stupid labels and how they send “breast feeding guides” with formula samples.

          • Jessica S.

            Aw, thanks! You’re so sweet! I have a lot of respect for women who breastfeed. I don’t have a problem admitting that my reasons are semi-selfish (I have a big problem with other people determining that for me) but selfish for reasons inextricably linked to my mental well-being, hence why I’m at peace with it. So I respect and admire the sacrifice involved in breastfeeding, if that makes sense. Everyone has different limits, and my choices shouldn’t devalue breastfeeding for others. I wonder if that’s part of what gets militant lactivists all riled up, as if my decision not to BF is somehow a declaration that it’s universally less important.

            I’m just kind of rambling, stream of consciousness, not necessarily responding to anything you said specifically. :D

        • Melissa

          It makes me mad to think of how much money has been wasted in trying to “teach” women the benefits of breastfeeding, especially programs which are geared towards low income communities. Spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a breastfeeding awareness campaign is useless when the reason that women in these community aren’t breastfeeding are practical concerns like having to go back to work. They don’t need awareness, they need free high quality pumps and/or paid maternity leave.

          • SuperGDZ

            Actually, they need formula. For a term baby, the benefits of breastfeeding simply don’t justify pumps, breastfeeding awareness, extra paid leave, etc.

          • ngozi

            GAAAH!!! You are absolutely right!! Many of these lower income women don’t have the help around the house so they can breastfeed a child every 30 minutes like some newborns want to be feed. But hey, if they have my former OBGYN, he will suggest they hire help…

          • fiftyfifty1

            “It makes me mad to think of how much money has been wasted in trying to “teach” women the benefits of breastfeeding, especially programs which are geared towards low income communities. ”

            Reminds me of the movement to “teach” women the benefits of marriage, especially programs which are geared toward low income communities.

            Some shortsighted people think that the myriad effects of poverty can be magically mitigated by breastfeeding. Others (often the same people, but not always as we see in Dr. Amy’s case) think that the magic answer is marriage.

          • Jessica S.

            *applauding*

        • NoLongerCrunching

          OMG Stacy. Is she ok now? Was the pediatrician recommending supplementing earlier but you didn’t because of fear of formula hurting her?

          • Stacy21629

            She’s fine now – 14 pounds or so at 6 months. Still on the low end of the percentiles but on par with where her big brother was at this age. I’m only 108 pounds unpreg so I don’t make big babies I guess.
            She was 6.5# at birth, 8.5 pounds at 2 months, I just dried up very quickly over the next month and didn’t realize it. Hindsight being 20/20 I see all the signs now, but she was still a pretty content baby and sleeping through the night. She gained a pound a week once we started formula. :)
            There was some formula fear, but more on hubby’s part than mine. He wanted to hold out til her 4 month visit and see what the doc said.
            Thank God for formula – if this had been 150 years ago she’d be dead now.

      • Hannah

        I’m going to have to remember this, just in case. No kids yet, but will definitely trying to avoid “baby friendly” hospitals when the time comes.

        • schnitzelbank

          “Baby friendly” can also mean it’s just fine. Take a tour, ask questions.

    • rh1985

      Yikes! The hospital I delivered at was trying to get baby friendly status, but they weren’t that extreme. The only thing they didn’t have was pacifiers. They didn’t push the rooming in at night, but then again they’d probably be asking for a lawsuit if they put a baby in a room alone with a single mom unable to leave the bed, on a mag drip and recovering from pre-e and a c-section (as I was the first night). They had the little ready feed bottles and stuck a whole bunch in a drawer in the baby’s bassinet.

      • Renee

        You would think that but you would be wrong. The place I had my first had NO problem making moms that were bed bound after CS care for their newborns even only a few hours after surgery, while seriously doped up and exhausted.

        • rh1985

          Ugh, aren’t they risking a lawsuit if something happens to the mother and/or baby?

          • Certified Hamster Midwife

            No, they can just get child abuse charges started against the mother.

          • auntbea

            The way they protected themselves in my hospital was to ban mothers from sleeping in the bed while holding the baby. So, essentially, if your baby won’t sleep in the bassinet, you don’t sleep for three days.

          • meglo91

            Yep! That’s what happened to me. 72 hours of no sleep. But don’t sleep in the bed with the baby!

      • meglo91

        I was not recovering from a c-section, but I did have a mag drip and was confined to bed, and I still was forced to have my baby room-in with me. Not kidding. Shudder. The horrendous sleep deprivation of the first few weeks of parenthood is something I just will not miss, after having done it twice.

        • rh1985

          Wow, that should be illegal. I barely remember anything after I went to the recovery room after my CS – I was so out of it from the drugs and especially the mag drip. I am pretty confident I couldn’t have taken care of a goldfish, even.

          I did choose to have my daughter with me during the daytime only, after the first night since I was off the mag by then, but I was so afraid of dropping her that I had to ring a nurse to hand her to me and put her back in the bassinet every single time if I didn’t have a visitor with me.

    • antigone23

      I’m really, really thankful that I’m done having babies and got in before the “Baby Friendly” trend took over. I formula fed my 2nd from the start after not being able to breastfeed my 1st. No one asked me why or attempted to lecture me. Sometimes I volunteered my reason out of my own desire to seem like a good mom, but no one seemed interested in judging me. My baby went to the nursery each night so I could sleep and recover from my c-section. It was absolute bliss.

    • Renee

      DISGUSTING. I loathe activists, and HATE so called baby “friendly” BS. It should be called “lactofacist paradise”. Supposedly, the actual things you need to do for this status aren’t too crazy, but every place seems to institute it in an unbelievable way.

      I will never forget having my newborn dropped in my room with the demand that I care for this new baby ALL NIGHT 7pm-7am , 3 hours after a CS (after 36 hours of labor, 48 hours awake), when I couldn’t even keep my eyes open, or even move for 2 days. NO night nursery. GTFO, thats just a dangerous, deadly, situation. I had to let him cry until it pissed everyone off, I could not even reach his bassinet! Finally, a nurse took him on rounds, but that is not a solution that is acceptable.

      But they sure did not mind coming in every 2 hours to tell me to pump!!! They had staff for THAT.

      Another friend had a baby at a baby “friendly” hospital. She is the crunchiest person I know- she NCBs, co-sleeps, baby wears, CD’s and EC’s, BF until the kid self weans- and she LOATHED the experience. Nurses told her “oh, no, we cannot help you, we are not allowed to take the baby” when she asked them to hold baby so she could SHOWER. Right after the birth.

      FFS.

      She got zero help. In fact, they were so unhelpful, and a few rude, she actually left way early, and returned to her FARM full of work, and SIX other kids instead. She said the kids (12,10,8,6,4,2) were 100x more helpful than anyone at the hospital! She had been looking forward to this break to spend the only alone time she was going to get with this new baby, but that was not gonna happen.

      Can you imagine. Just seeing her run her household/farm made me exhausted, but that was not as hard, or as miserable, as no help in the hospital, plus all of the bad attitudes she had to deal with there.

      She chose that hospital specifically because of how nice it was, but did not realize this was how they did “baby friendly”. She wanted rooming in when desired, and BF support, all the birth tubs and such, but did not realize this meant no help after LnD. She would have gone elsewhere, there were many places to choose from.

      • rh1985

        Yep, I’ve read the guidelines. Hospitals are allowed to keep the nursery. I still think BF shouldn’t be pushed so hard, but the actual rules aren’t as strict as some hospitals are.

        • Certified Hamster Midwife

          It’s simple: implementing baby-friendly policies gives the hospital a good excuse to get rid of the well baby nursery if that’s something they want to do to cut costs.

      • Jessica S.

        Your story sounds similar to mine – by the time they did the csection, we’d been in the hospital for two and a half days and I’d been in “labor” for 24 hours (I use quotes b/c I never dilated beyond like 5 or 6, baby was still high up and contractions never gained speed/strength). I sort of slept off and on the first night, but not much. By the last night of our stay (he was born at 1am on a sat., we left on Monday) we were exhausted and he wouldn’t settle in. The nurse finally offer to take him to the nurses station, I guess they had a swing, but as far as I know, there was no actual nursery.

    • Danielle

      I’m broadly sympathetic to “Baby Friendly” measures, if by this paradigm hospitals propose to provide support to women who are planning to breastfeed and want to have their babies stay in the same room with them. While the benefits of breastmilk are probably being overblown, there are enough real or potential advantages that I don’t mind some cheerful boosterism in its favor, particularly since it wasn’t that long ago that many women were actually encouraged to elect formula. And I loved the idea that my baby could stay in-room. We did not get to take advantage of that option, since my son required a NICU stay, but I would have liked that very much.

      That said, if your description is a reflection of the policies being made, that seems over-the-top. To my mind, the whole approach should be empowering women by offering support. “Yes, you can breastfeed! He’s how! Here are the resources we provide to help you!” “If you need formula, here’s what you need to know and we’ll give you your first packets!” “Yes, you can keep your baby in room! And if you need some rest or help, here is a nursery!” It really should be possible to empower people to make an educated decision about what they want to do and then provide them with the support they need.

      I think strongarming is really out of place, given that new moms (esp. first time moms) are struggling with so much in the first few days after birth. I still remember how I was barely pulling off trying to breastfeed my son when he was in NICU. I had to be there for every feeding, which consisted of the nurses very patiently trying to teach me how to do it and get my son to latch. When I invariably couldn’t get enough into him, I could supply breastmilk in a bottle or, that failing, formula in a bottle. Meanwhile he being required to stay in NICU specifically because his blood sugar and whatever else they were measuring related to eating was not as consistent as they wanted to see. The result was that I was continually pumping, getting instruction, or trying (but failing, due to continual interruption by nurses) to get a moment or two of sleep, while bleeding and having a hard time sitting due to an episiotomy.

      In the midst of this, one NICU nurse–just one, and I am sure she meant well–told me that “If I wanted to succeed at breastfeeding, then I needed to stay near my son all the time and respond every time he stirred.” I don’t know how she meant me to interpret that recommendation, but under the influence of extreme sleep deprivation (almost a week due to labor + postpartum feeding schedule) and hormones, I felt that she was shaking her finger at me for even trying to back to my room to lie down. I was so worried already about doing enough, and I thought she was telling me that my efforts (which I was barely sustaining) were coming up short.

      Given that I wasn’t taking care of myself very well already — and would later try (and fail) to stay at the NICU even after I had been discharged, despite being in pain and unable to sit on the chair I was allowed to have in NICU –I would have benefit far more from just being reassured that all would be fine & that I needed to get some sleep. I didn’t really get that “message” until I became completely exhausted and distraught and made this very pitiful call to my husband that led him to realize I’d completely reached the outer limit physically and had to be made to rest. No big deal, but I actually needed a health care provider to give me permission to leave my son with a bottle of formula and his dedicated nurse for a few hours–not tell me to keep trying harder.

      • Busbus

        Oh, that’s sounds like such an incredibly hard time. And makes me want to slap that thoughtless NICU nurse for you!
        With NICU etc., you had to deal with more than most, but this attitude is something that makes me mad about the whole getting rid of baby nurseries in general as well – it sends the message that the new mothers who have just given birth are really supposed to be able to handle everything by themselves, already. And that at a time where everybody needs help – and REST. I’d like to know the impact of no sleep and no help on PPD rates. Taking care of babies requires taking care of their mothers, too – they are not robots, and they have just given BIRTH, for f’s sake.

        • Danielle

          In fairness, it should be noted that the nurse was most likely just rehearsing a speech she was in the habit of giving moms when she found out there were intending to breastfeed. She likely no idea that for the past 12-18 hrs I’d been I’d been struggling with precisely the same thing she was chiding me about, or that I was completely tired/overwhelmed by the time she came on shift. Or that telling me that I left, my child would never breastfeed was a pretty good way to confirm my already highly irrational, secret feeling that I couldn’t leave the hospital without my baby.

          Anyway, the point is that context matters–and 12 or 24 hours after someone has given birth is probably not the most useful time for pontification, even if mom is a captive audience. By then, the parent is either in your camp already and trying to make things work, or they’ve already decided on something else. It’s either too early or to late for a “try harder” speech.

      • NursingRN

        I don’t know if people are going through “baby friendly” guidelines from different organizations but this one we are using is really off the gourd. Room in with baby? Sure! That’s a good nice thing but again, if your baby is crying, melting down 22/24 hours a day like my son was- you need a break!! Breastfeeding is good. It has good stuff in it that formula doesn’t. Got it. And it’s free. But if you don’t want to breastfeed, that’s your choice. I’m only going to give you the spiel once!

        • Carrie

          Formula is only free if a woman’s time is worthless.

          • Certified Hamster Midwife

            I think you have that backwards.

          • FormerPhysicist

            And breastfeeding is not free, either. The woman has to eat more food to produce food. Which costs.

            But when I read a second time, NursingRN sounds like a very reasonable person. As long as it’s not EVERY nurse that has to give me the spiel once.

      • OldTimeRN

        Your experience sounds very typical and I’m sure the nurse meant well in what she said. I’d actually go so far as saying that is part of her spiel she’s almost expected to say in a “baby friendly” hospital. When hospitals go “baby friendly” the nursery is basically suppose to go away. Some hospitals have gone so far as to use scare tactics by calling the nursery names which implies the only babies with infections are in there. Discouraging mothers from wanting to call and have her baby stay in the nursery. Who would willing put her baby in a nursery that is filled with sick/infected baby with say MRSA. When we were presented with our “baby friendly” model we were told our nursery besides an admission nursery would all but eliminated. Mother won’t be given a choice to keep their baby or not. C-section or not. I find that terrible.

        I’m all for what evert he mom wants. You want to keep your baby? Have at it. Sure we have our crunchers who never let their baby leave their sight and I can work with that. But 9 out of 10 times even our non-separation moms end up sending their babies back, even if only to take a shower or eat a meal in piece. Although exhaustion and hormones also play a role in Moms sending their babes back. People can tell you how tired and emotionally/physically exhausted you will be after about 24 hrs, but until you experience that for yourself you can’t even imagine. We also have moms who keep their babes all night and don’t end up sleeping for what ever reason then send the baby back in the morning and want the baby kept all morning so they can sleep. Wouldn’t it have been better for the mom to sleep at night, either having the baby fed in or out for feeds and sleep in between, and be semi fresh and awake in the morning?

        • Busbus

          In my area, the only big hospital is baby-friendly and all those things are happening – women alone with their infants after c-sections, no sleep etc. There is now a VOLUNTEER effort (ridiculously insufficient, of course – they can staff like two shifts a week) with volunteers who go to the hospital and will hold your baby in the “daddy-baby-bonding-area” for you. It’s unbelievable. This is a world class hospital, and the only solution they have for exhausted moms is to hand your baby to an unpaid stranger who can hold them on a chaiselounge (if you are lucky enough to need help in those hours where the volunteers are available). Otherwise, you may or may not find a nurse who takes pity on you and will take your baby into the nurses break room or on her rounds. (The nurse staff is not happy with the situation, either.) Must save a lot of money, though. Maddening.
          I hate that this is the only hospital I could reasonably go to should we have another child in this area. My husband would certainly have to go home overnight to be with the other kids, and we have no family around.

          • Karina Vasilevska-Das

            This is why it is better to give birth at home, then you can hand your baby to whoever is there to help and don’t have to give your baby to a stranger. :) New mothers will always be tired, so the post-partum help is super important, and that’s often where the homebirth movement is far ahead of the hospital which discharges new mothers after a very short stay. I do agree that bullying somebody into breastfeeding is not the right way to go about it, however, the great readiness of hospitals all over the world (and I live in an African country at the moment, where NOBODY breastfeeds any more) to aid young mom’s with formula is based on a bit more than scientific necessity, I would call it marketing. In the end giving birth is a business, especially in places like the US where medicine is highly commercialized… homebirth or not.

          • Busbus

            Karina, I had two homebirths, and the fact that you need to do almost everything yourself in the aftermath is, in my opinion, one of the big downsides (besides the safety issue). I had two difficult recoveries, and being left with the mess and, the second time around, a toddler to deal with by ourselves was almost more than me and my husband could handle. At that point, I would have LOVED to be in a hospital where someone else cooks the food, cleans the sheets and can take my baby for a couple hours while I can rest.
            If you are lucky enough to have family around who can pitch in, that will help you no matter where you give birth. If you don’t, I think it is one of the duties of the hospital to make sure that you can get through the first few days with the help you need (and without having to go home like a zombie who gave birth and then didn’t sleep for 48 hours).

          • Karina Vasilevska-Das

            I had my two homebirths in Latvia, where post-partum care in a hospital is slightly longer than in the US (three days for a problem-free delivery), and theoretically could have been what you at one point wished for, but even there I found the three post-partum visits at home and the neonatologist’s visit far superior to what my friends and relatives received in the hospital and what I have seen offered in the American hospitals (for much more money than in Latvia, I must add). I do get what you say about being at home with toddler right after the second birth, that first night was crazy for us too, except for, if I had gone to a hospital I would have had to look for an alternative care for my son and that would have stressed me more than having him be near me. I never had to clean up after myself though, that my midwife took care off quite discretely. I think post-partum care (of which compassionate help with breastfeeding should be part and I am saying that as somebody who had a lot of problems breastfeeding my first child) is something both hospitals, and from what you are saying the home-birth in the US should all work towards improving. It should be much, much longer than it is. I suspect at least the first 6 weeks. I guess that is why the post-partum doulas are becoming more and more popular in the West. They do work what extended families used to do and that is what hospitals/midwives etc. need to working towards, in my humble opinion.

          • disqus_ealSxkOnJn

            They left you with the mess?! :( That’s really irresponsible. Our midwives specifically told us how tp double-make the bed (put down a layer of chux pads, then one sheet, then a layer of chux pads, then another sheet) so after the birth they jut ripped off the top layer and there was a freshly made bed ready. They cleaned, washed the sheets/towels/etc (well, took them to wash- we don’t have an in-house washer/dryer and hte laundromat was closed) before leaving. They didn’t do the greatest job- but they didn’t leave us with all of the cleaning, either!

          • disqus_ealSxkOnJn

            That’s IF you have that support with you. My partner (who hadn’t gotten any sleep that night, either, and had spent a lot of energy taking care of me through labor and birth) and I were left entirely alone with our baby, weren’t given any advice or help on how to breastfeed OR bottle feed. We couldn’t call for a nurse.

        • meglo91

          Oh lord, I am having flashbacks to my own two hospital births. I gave birth both times in a military hospital, and both times I had no option for the baby to go to the nursery. They stayed with me both times, and I got no. sleep. at all. For 2 days, until I was finally allowed home. Counting labor, with my first daughter I calculate that I didn’t sleep for about 72 hours in total, and, being a new and anxious parent dealing with the insane life change that had just happened to me, I only slept about 3 or 4 hours for the first week after that. Not a recipe for good mental health! It was better with baby #2, but I remember nearly dropping her because I fell asleep with her in my arms, in my hospital bed, because she didn’t want to be put down and I couldn’t send her to the nursery. It would have been far better to pass her off to someone else so I could catch some sleep. Baby friendly is BS, is what I’m trying to say. How about mom friendly? I desperately needed sleep after my first 17 hour labor, and I got none for 2 more days. How is that healthy? How is that good for babies?

    • MamaBear

      This Baby Friendly bs needs to go. I considered becoming an OB nurse, but I cannot bring myself to go up to a new mom who is tired, stressed, and trying to recover child birth and bully her into breastfeeding. I feel feel fir the postpartum nurses who have to do this in order to keep their jobs. I bet at 3am when the mom is struggling to breastfeeding, the Latation consultants are at home snug in their beds while the nurses are dealing with frazzled moms, a screaming baby who does not want to latch, and a bunch of other emergencies. I wish hospitals would quit with this McDonaldized approach to baby care. Not every woman is going breastfeed. Each patient is an individual and her needs and wants she be respected whatever her codices are.

    • http://www.antigonos.blogspot.com/ Antigonos CNM

      Anyone try that on my daughter, and I’d see if I could take legal action against the hospital for harassment and malpractice. After I brought in pre-filled bottles of formula, nipple shields, pacifiers, and all the other paraphenalia regarded as “bad for baby”. I’d also demand to room-in with my daughter and take care of her properly. [I will become a grandmother for the second time about the middle to end of June, so I'm getting ready]

  • Megj86

    So these are more examples of the scum that hang out on my BBC Sept 2013 birth board.
    This time it’s mother shaming for sleep training babies and more specifically using CIO methods when a mother is at her absolute wits end.

    http://community.babycenter.com/post/a48464395/this_is_the_result_of_a_revised_method_of_cio?cpg=28&pd=-1

    http://community.babycenter.com/post/a48498763/desperate_for_some_success_stories_of_a_modified_cio_method_for_sleep_training

    While some people may not agree with or feel comfortable trying this method of sleep training, I believe it can be used successfully without causing long term emotional damage when applied IN THE RIGHT CONTEXT. Something the sanctimommies in these threads can’t understand. They believe it’s just a blanket rule for everyone.

    This is the same birth board where people blamed Gavin Michael’s mother when I shared his story. Insert extreme expletive.

    • realitycheque

      “That’s so disturbing. You know why you were crying? Bc your mommy guy
      and heart were telling you to comfort your also bc that’s the NATURAL
      thing to do. What you did and your dr suggested is UNNATURAL.

      For those that think drs can do no wrong or give bad advice why is that?
      Do they get doused in perfection water when they graduate? Are they
      given a rod of power? Nope. That’s why you see doctors on the news for
      malpractice and other malicious things ALL the time. They’re human.”

      ALL THE TIME. I can’t even recall the last time I saw a doctor in the news for malpractice, and while there are undoubtedly those who commit it, relative to the number of MDs in existence, they’re no doubt the extreme minority.

    • realitycheque

      “Shouldn’t the focus be on what works best for the baby? I mean I may be a
      FTM but I always thought a baby’s needs come above your own… Which
      would mean if baby sleeps best by nursing to sleep then baby should be
      nursed to sleep.”

      What an utterly ridiculous thing to say. The baby isn’t going to be too well-off if its mother develops PPD, or is too tired to play with/engage with them during the day because of chronic sleep deprivation. I really loathe this idea of relegating mothers to second (or third, or forth…). You don’t cease to be a person with needs once you’ve have a kid, and we should be encouraging mothers to take steps to look after their own physical and mental health. Obviously we need to ensurng that the child’s needs are met also, but it shouldn’t be an “either/or” situation.

      Also, how is it going to help the situation if you have a mother who is severely sleep deprived, at risk of developing PPD and you tell her, “Well, the baby’s needs come first now, so you need to just get over it”. Seems like a recipe for resentment and impaired bonding to me.

      • Stacy21629

        “I always thought a baby’s needs come above your own”
        Except when it comes to actually being BORN – then my needs come first and I’m having a home birth with a quack midwife so I can have candles and a birth pool because being in a hospital where it is categorically safer for my baby would be too stressful and the OB might hurt my feelings.
        /sarcasm

        • OldTimeRN

          Here is one of my favs, Don’t you dare give my baby that VitK, Hep B, No pacifiers or formula or water. But what do you mean I can’t breast feed on my anti-depressants, opiates, THC or any other med I NEED to take to make ME feel better?

        • OldTimeRN

          Or my fav. I don’t want my baby to have Vit K, Eye drops, Hep B, pacifiers, formula or water. But don’t you dare question my use of anti-depressants, opiates, THC or any other med that might be questionably passed via breastmilk to my baby. I NEED those meds to make ME feel better.

          • Jessica S.

            Ha! One of the reasons I didn’t breastfeed my son and won’t with the one currently in the works is b/c of my meds. I had a dear friend try and convince me that there were ways to do both, that I should look into other alternative meds, etc. I’m like, nope. The equation for me (personally and specifically) is meds + formula = best potential for happy mom. And I’ve never thought twice about it. :)

        • disqus_ealSxkOnJn

          You might want to read this study: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jmwh.12172/abstract I’m not saying that it proves you wrong, just that since you’re worried about the safety of homebirth, it’s valuable to see all the studies regarding that. The article is even available for free so you can see the exact results.

      • MJ

        Not to mention the fact that sometimes it’s just not that freakin’ simple.

        Number two was a good feeder and always went down to bed just fine. But when he woke to be fed in the night he would not go back to sleep. Just wouldn’t.

        I was exhausted and at my wit send and tried everything. Feeding to sleep, dummies, co-sleeping, patting, rocking, holding. On and on for six months until I was a basket case.

        The second he hit six months (my comfort zone for CIO) I said “I love you darling but you’re going to have to work this one out on your own”. It took one night.

        If you know that six year old boy today you will see that he has a stronger sense of self than most adults, and an iron will, and he is compelled to always work things out for himself. I truly believe he was born that way and I see that temperament reflected in his infant sleeping patterns and other behaviours.

  • OldTimeRN

    I just found this site. I’m a nurse in probably one of the few remaining traditional nursery/pp units in the country. Our hospital is trying to flip to mother baby and also trying to go “baby friendly” at the same time. Lets’s just say it’s been a dismal failure. Our patients rave about our care given now. They love the way our unit is set up. They like being able to send their baby back to the nursery and get some much needed rest. Why fix what isn’t broken?

    • Sue

      Many of us were born in hospitals that operated like that. Did we all fail to ”bond” because our mothers were allowed to sleep while the nurses cared for us in the nursery for a couple of days, when all we did was eat, sleep and fill diapers?

      • KarenJJ

        I have wondered about the push about “bonding” by some women in this area and whether it says something about the relationship with their own mothers or whether it says something about women getting too big for their boots and wanting to have careers as well as babies? A little from column A, a little from column B.

        • Trulyunbelievable2020

          Women who want to have careers as well as babies are “getting too big for their boots?” Did I understand that correctly?

          • http://kumquatwriter.wordpress.com/ Kumquatwriter

            I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess she was not suggesting she holds that belief herself.

          • KarenJJ

            That’s as I understand the type of dinosaur thinking (as an engineer and mum), but no I don’t subscribe to that idea personally..

          • Melissa

            I think some of it is women who want to be SAHM’s but feel like they need some justification for it other than “because it’s what I want”. Women tend to get bashed as selfish when they do things for themselves, but if you can say “Oh, I’m leaving my job to stay at home because I want to give my kids the best chance at success” it gives you a free pass.

            This is also why I suspect that so many people get upset at publicizing the fact that in the end breastfeeding isn’t the panacea that it’s been hyped as. Because if BF/AP/etc. aren’t the magic solutions to make perfect children then they can’t use that as an excuse. (Not that anyone needs an excuse. If someone thinks staying home is the best for their family they should be able to do that without having to have scientific studies to support them. And if someone thinks that working outside the home is the best thing for their family then that’s cool also. It’s the need to justify what is really a personal choice with scientific data that is problematic because it posits that those who made a different choice are wrong.)

          • KarenJJ

            “It’s the need to justify what is really a personal choice with scientific data that is problematic because it posits that those who made a different choice are wrong.”

            If only more people would say “sod off” to the busybodies. Kids have individual needs to be met, someone needs to provide for them. Society needs children. Women shouldn’t be second guessing themselves, yet we do. And not only that we go around second guessing other people’s choices too.

          • Trulyunbelievable2020

            Whoops, misread you! Sorry.

        • Busbus

          Obviously, moms and babies need to (eventually) find their connection, but this whole there-is-a-sensitive-time-period-for-bonding-in-humans idea is hogwash. As was convincingly shown in the 90s at the latest (after this whole bonding craze came up). Why are we still hearing this everywhere?

    • OBPI Mama

      I thought that was such a horrible thing when I had my homebirth! A mom not wanting to room with her baby??!?!!?! Fast forward to a much humbled and contrite woman… having her 2nd baby in a hospital… a wonderful nurse comes into the room and sees an in pain mama… the kind nurse offering to take her baby and love on him while mom rests. Mom takes a big bite of humble pie and says, “YES! THANK YOU!” s(he made sure to ask for him back in 2 hours because she didn’t want to look like a “bad” mom). Fast forward 2 years down the road to a tired mom who just had her 4th baby… she presses the call button for the nurse to come in. Mom pleads, “Will you take my baby for the night?! You can feed her a bottle so I can get upto 5 hours straight of sleep!” for Mom knows she will not get that kind of rest at home. Mom hands baby to angelic nurse, mom sleeps. Mom is happy. It’s a lovely story, isn’t it?! And somehow I managed to bond perfectly well with all 4 of my hooligans… (my 3rd son had more nursery time than my 2nd son, but less nursery time than my 4th).

      • OldTimeRN

        That’s just it. IMO, partly due to being a nurse for a long time and being a Momma to my own ducklings I can’t help to raise my eyebrows and ask why on the whole mother-baby/rooming in and breast is best for everyone. I nursed one of my kids but somehow managed to bond with all of them. They each went back to the nursery and were no worse for the ware. Who decided mother-baby is better then traditional nursery/pp units? Did someone take a poll? Who decided breast was best? Lawmakers who don’t want to pay for WIC anymore? I wasn’t. I wasn’t breast fed, yet I managed to go to and graduate from college. Locking up formula and berating a mother for asking for formula? Who is that helping? Wre the only hospital in our area with the traditional setup, yet we have overwhelming the most deliveries of all the hospitals. Can that be a coincidence?

    • MJ

      The hospital where all of my children were born has baby friendly status but I never saw or experienced anything that made me feel pressured or uncomfortable. I wonder if perhaps the problems arise from the degree of prescriptiveness with which it is applied?

    • Lori

      Why fix what isn’t broken?

      For the hospital, the answer is $$$.

      • OldTimeRN

        Of course $$$ is the reason. Which is fine. Just don’t try to sell the whole “It’s best for mom and baby”. Because most of us can see right through that.

        • NoLongerCrunching

          The whole thing got started because mothers wanted the *right* to room in. Somehow now it has become her duty, even if she is exhausted from childbirth.

        • Lori

          Oh absolutely, but I’ve now worked for three different hospital organizations in my career as a nurse and I have learned that cost saving measures are always couched in euphemistic terms that imply they are really about improving patient care/outcomes.

          • KarenJJ

            It was a great excuse to get rid of the well baby nursery and put all the responsibility for baby care back on mum and if she’s not coping well “how are you going to cope when you are back home?” and “you’re not a good mum”.

            Women have been had. We need to keep out options open. Baby friendly should have added options, not removed them.

    • Renee

      It is a marketing ploy, as well as a few fanatics that work to impose their will. They feel this is the best way to care for modern babies,but they are WRONG.

    • LovleAnjel@hotmail.com

      I wonder if you’re at the hospital I used? So not baby friendly, since they used formula to help encourage breastfeeding, were happy to take the baby to the nursery at night when asked, and overall were just wonderful caring people. Not only did get the ebil formula samples, I got the hypo & tube to continue formula supplementing at home!

  • OttawaAlison

    Fire starting Guest – Good job on derailing the issue of this blog post by creating strawmen (ie. Dr. Amy is against vbacs and natural birth ftr she isn’t) and by bringing up a 5 year old article to discredit her because some of us regulars don’t agree with her position in that regard.

    It took away from the chance of meaningful discussions on such things as discussing some hospitals going above what the bfhi says and reminds women how terrible they are for formula feeding.

    Good job I guess you accomplished your goal today.

    • http://kumquatwriter.wordpress.com/ Kumquatwriter

      Amen!

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      What’s disappointing to me is not that someone tried to derail the discussion; it’s that so many people took the bait.

      • http://kumquatwriter.wordpress.com/ Kumquatwriter

        Must have been a Master Baiter.

      • Trixie

        I didn’t feel like I was taking bait, I was just genuinely sort of surprised that article existed. I’d never heard of it before.

      • NoLongerCrunching

        Well honestly I’m kind of burned out on the topic of NCB shaming sanctimommies. I found this discussion a welcome break from that.

      • Trulyunbelievable2020

        Someone who just got into an argument that ended with a juvenile dismissive limerick is faulting us for “taking the bait?”

      • fiftyfifty1

        “so many people took the bait.”

        Including you.

      • Poogles

        “so many people took the bait.”

        I agree the Salon article is a derailment from this post and I have certainly been contributing to that – but it’s hard for me not to because that post rubbed me the wrong way so much the first time and still does even now.

        With that said, I’m going to try to personally refrain from contributing anymore to that particular discussion, at least on this comment thread.

      • Comrade X

        It was good bait, despite being dangled by a troll. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day, and all that.

      • Zornorph

        Well, I was too busy today dealing with a burglary at my office to come on the site. Probably just as well since I did what you talked about on Salon, only in reverse. But I’m not going to get excited about it, though – I’m aware that many people would not agree that what I was doing was fair to my son (even some who would give a single mother by choice a pass). I’m a little surprised to find you echoing Dan Quayle on this issue, but my favorite aunt feels the same way, so I’m not going to jump down your throat. Hope to one day change your mind!

      • Renee

        The use of the K word was pretty appalling, but I did not wade in. You know what they say- DO NOT FEED THE TROLLS.

      • another guest

        Dr. Amy, I wonder if you are familiar with the work of Jean Mercer, a child-development expert who argues that the “primal wound” theory is a myth http://childmyths.blogspot.com/

    • KarenJJ

      I think these type of posts form Dr Amy work a lot better when paired with an example of web-based sanctimommy.

  • http://Www.awaitingjuno.blogspot.com/ Mrs. W

    It’ll be interesting how a generation raised on “anti-bullying” messages will react to the wake up call they get when they join the ranks of motherhood. I think it might result in the kind of shift that is very needed, because if being a bully or allowing bullying is so wrong in every other facet of life, I don’t think these women will stand for it in birth. I’m hopeful, that the current generation is the last that will find this an acceptable thing to do.

    • Certified Hamster Midwife

      You’re working from the assumption that anti-bullying messages work. Bullies will always be with us and always have been. My generation was raised on anti-bullying messages too, and even had programs in school meant to steer us away from it. I’m in my early 30s now, and my generation are the current crop of bullying moms.

      • http://Www.awaitingjuno.blogspot.com/ Mrs. W

        Not just the “messages” but actual action against this kind of behaviour can work – if they can are held accountable for it, then there’s a pretty big incentive to not do it. Messages alone might not be enough, sanctions might work.

        • ngozi

          I work in my local school system and I think you are right.

        • KarenJJ

          I think it will be interesting to see how it works at my kids school and their anti-bullying message and direct instruction on ethics, compared to my school back in the days.

          • Sullivan ThePoop

            I do know that my children are much more open minded and tolerant. They are offended by things that I wouldn’t have thought about as a teen or young adult. There is very little bullying at their school and only recently have they been much on anti-bullying messages mainly driven by a relatively innocent incident and the local medias fixation with the school district.

      • OldTimeRN

        They do sorta work though. I see Moms trying to breastfeed because “it’s the right thing to do” or because Dad wants them to. When you can tell they’d rather be happily bottle feeding their baby.

    • http://safermidwiferyutah.wordpress.com/ Safer Midwifery Utah

      Anti-bullying messages are a freaking joke though. I have never actually witnessed an anti-bullying program with significant success. Its maddening to me.

      • Renee

        They DO work, but not in a way that is immediately obvious, or can be measured on the individual level.

        I know bullies still exist and I am sure they always will. But it IS becoming less socially acceptable, even socially damaging, to BE a bully, and less socially devastating to be the bullied.

        Its more of an attitude change across society as a whole. It used to be just as accepted part of life that some kids were bullied, even terrorized. Parents and teachers did nothing, or even rewarded the bully if they are also a start athlete or popular kid. The bullied kid suffered shame and no status.

        Kind of like how it use to be OK to hate on gays in public, kicking and harassing them in front of everyone, but now, even those who think its immoral are quick to say that they don’t hate the person. Only the worst jerks will outright hate and bully, and often others will stick up for the gay person, where that would never have happened in the past. I realize that abuse of LGBT people still happens at an alarming rate, but it is not considered status quo and OK anymore. Thats how improvement starts.

  • Felicitasz

    “I’m so sorry that your child is going to a state college and not the elite college my child is attending”
    Oh!
    Sometimes I mention how this blog doubles as a cultural education resource for me – once again, thank you for warning me about what (else) I am going to be facing. :)

    • http://www.antigonos.blogspot.com/ Antigonos CNM

      My mother got a telephone call like that: “It’s such a shame Antigonos is going to nursing school. She’s so intelligent it’s a shame she’s not going to college” [this was before academic degrees in nursing]. The irony was that the husband of the woman calling was very ill with severe COPD, and good nursing was the only thing keeping him alive.

      • Susan

        I am so glad to you went to nursing school Antigonos! ( When I went to a faculty meeting when I was a clinical nursing instructor one of the other nurses floored me by saying,” but if you are so smart why didn’t you go to medical school”…. she was pulling my leg but my jaw did hit the floor for a moment!)

        • http://www.antigonos.blogspot.com/ Antigonos CNM

          In point of fact, I DID go to medical school, briefly, during a sabbatical I took from nursing school [long story, but my instructors also suggested I'd be happier as a doctor] and it was immensely instructive. Nurses are NOT “diluted doctors” [and I have a lot of questions about both physician's assistants and advanced practice nurses, btw] but approach the same goal doctors do from entirely different disciplines of thought and action. Nurses do, or should do, NURSING, while doctors do doctoring and both are essential.

          It is very tempting for nurses to want to do doctoring, given that in most places nurses are so far “below” [instead of "alongside"] doctors. Back in the early 70s I encountered CNMs who were not satisfied with delivering babies, etc. but who wanted the “privilege” of using forceps, etc. just at the time that nurses began larding their names with lots of academic initials to “improve their status”. Getting away from the bedside was seen as advancement, not so much because bedside nursing was demeaning as that it was perceived as requiring no special skill, when it really does.

          • Susan

            You really should write a book. I love reading what you have to say about nursing and midwifery from a full career’s worth of experience. I love nursing too and so agree that there is nothing about management that means should define advancement in nursing ( unless it’s not working nights, holidays and weekends!)

          • Comrade X

            I second Susan’s suggestion. Antigonos’s Adventures In International Nursing & Midwifery would be a must-read!

          • http://www.antigonos.blogspot.com/ Antigonos CNM

            Not to mention my Mafia stories…

            Honestly, I don’t think my life has been all that interesting.

            Well, I’ll add that title to the others I have intended to write [waiting for retirement; now two years into retirement and haven't even cleared out the cupboards I promised myself I would]:

            “Words You Don’t Learn in Ulpan” [an ulpan is a Hebrew language school]

            “What Dr. Spock Forgot”

            and, for children: “Shloimie and Malkie in Search of the Giant Talking Mitzvah Knaidel” [this is meant as a companion to "Savta Simcha and the Shabbos Umbrella", which is a real book]

    • http://safermidwiferyutah.wordpress.com/ Safer Midwifery Utah

      is everyone here rich or something?

  • ngozi

    This should get interesting…

    • http://kumquatwriter.wordpress.com/ Kumquatwriter

      “May you live on interesting times” is a curse, dontchaknow.

  • guest

    And shaming women about birth? That’s fair game too. http://www.skepticalob.com/2012/09/yes-it-is-your-fault-that-your-baby-died-at-homebirth.html You really do have a selective memory.

    • T.

      Shaming someone == Telling Unpleasant Truth.
      If I drive drunk with passagers and they die, it is my fault. My shame, too, if I have an ounce of human decency. Same here.

      • guest

        If your baby bleeds to death from a circumcision, ok to shame?

        • ngozi

          If there was some sort of negligence or wrongdoing, then yes. But really, I want to see the evidence of a baby bleeding to death from a regular circumcision. Even if something like that were to happen ( and I assume that we are talking about circumcisions performed by doctors in hospitals) you mean to tell me that the bleeding was so bad that no one could do anything about it? Did the doctors and nurses just stand there eating Tootsie Pops?

          • Therese

            Are you trying to say that no one could ever bleed to death in a hospital?

          • ngozi

            That is not the point!!! The person was talking about a newborn bleeding to death from a circumcision!! I would just like for people to screw their heads on straight and think if that really happens. Unless a person has an undiagnosed clotting disorder, does this really happen?

          • theadequatemother

            We did have one many years ago. Parents woke in the morning to their son dead with a diaper full of blood. But I don’t know the particulars about whether there was an underlying bleeding disorder. I do know it was a circ done in hospital by an Md on a newborn tho

          • Stacy21629

            I wouldn’t doubt that it happens….but as you said – it was “one many years ago”. And the odds of a congenital clotting disorder would be pretty high.

            There’s a home birth death of a healthy baby every week it seems….

            Any comparison of the 2 is ridiculous (guest).

          • guest

            I’m not sure if you are addressing me, Stacy. I provided details for a case that I believe adequate mother was attempting to describe. From the data the AAP has put forward this kind of death is exceedingly rare.

          • notthatguest

            Oh I see. You think I’m that guest. I should have picked a different name.

          • guest

            There was one in B.C. in 2002. Penticton. The baby was circumcised at one month old, by an M.D. but as an outpatient. The parents took him home but apparently had not fully understood what to look for in terms of excessive bleeding. When they brought the baby back in the next morning quite ill, he had to be flown to the specialty children’s hospital in Vancouver, but he still died. The coroner’s report suggested there may have been some family history of clotting disorder, but it wasn’t clear. The hospital changed its instructions to clarify to parents what excessive bleeding looks like, and the baby’s parents campaigned for better instructions at other hospitals. Is this the case you are referring to?

          • MLE

            I hate to laugh about an awful subject, but I read your first sentence as 2002 Before Christ, and assumed that Penticton was some ancient heretofore unknown (to me) civilization.

          • ngozi

            Thank you all for the examples.

        • T.

          I am European, Italian. We don’t have the same habits on circumcisions that US people do.
          Lets say something different: if you chose an archaic way to circumcise, say with broken glasses, and do it in your own home by yourself thinking it is best doing it nachural and the child die? This is a better analogy.

          • Sullivan ThePoop

            Wow, I was about to answer guest with a flippant comment about how unlike them I would go to a reputable provider, but you said it so much better.

        • Trulyunbelievable2020

          Y’know, I might give some credence to that argument if I had never looked at mothering.com’s “Intact Care” forum and seen all the posts about festering sores.

          I realize that there’s a great deal of uncertainty about the relative pros and cons of circumcision. I have no animus towards those who choose not to circumcise. As far as I can tell, though, it’s almost a total toss-up.

        • http://kumquatwriter.wordpress.com/ Kumquatwriter
    • http://thefresstyler.blogspot.com/ Hannah

      Telling the objective truth is different to shaming. You have selective hearing, clearly, or don’t know the dictionary definition of ‘shaming’.

    • Stacy21629

      So you believe that circumcision, formula feeding and C-sections (from which astronomically small numbers of healthy babies die) is 100% comparable to homebirth with a CPM (from which astronomically large number of healthy babies die)?

      Yea…your inability to recognize differing levels of risk, adverse outcomes and thus, responsibility, is the problem. Did you miss Dr. A’s post 2 days ago about the vitamin K baby? – When a woman recognizes her COLOSSAL mistake that nearly or actually killed her child Dr. A is nothing but supportive. If she wants to play ostrich though and continue to encourage other mothers to take life-threatening risks with their child’s life, she points out their insanity.

  • guest

    You are the one who shames and bullies single mothers. You have previously claimed that single mothers, divorced mothers and gay parents are selfish and bad parents. Here, to refresh your memory, your own words: http://open.salon.com/blog/amytuteurmd/2009/02/23/are_fathers_optional

    • Jessica Nye

      Wow…

    • guest

      “You’re saying that gay men who conceive children through surrogacy and raise them without mothers are bad parents? You’re saying lesbians who raise children conceived via sperm donors are bad parents?”

      I’m afraid so. There’s a difference between what adults want and what children need, and children’s needs trump adults’ wants.
      AmyTuteurMD

      • T.

        This is an opinion of Dr. Amy, who said it 5 years ago.
        The fact, of course, is that people being raised by homosexual parents do as well as the one grown up by heterosexual parents, as several studies have shown in the last years She hadn’t said it anymore lately, so perhaps she has changed her mind (or has decided not to speak about it).

        • Trixie

          I certainly hope she has evolved in her thinking on this issue. I know so many same-sex parent households that are doing a beautiful job of raising children, both biological and adoptive. There is probably something to the argument that children do better in homes with more than one ever-present, caring adult.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            I view it as a variation of adoption. There’s nothing wrong with adoption but it has a profound psychological impact on adoptees.

          • http://housefulofchaos.com/ Christy

            Yes! Although I would go further and say that there is a lot wrong with adoption as practiced in the world today, where baby trafficking is rampant because the demand for newborns and infants exceeds the supply.

            But, basically, the problem with gay couples adopting is the same problem with straight couples adoping: the adoption. There’s a good post about this on Musings of the Lame: http://www.adoptionbirthmothers.com/open-letter-to-every-gay-lesbian-homosexual-couple-thats-wants-to-adopt-a-child/

          • SNM1

            As a mother who has adopted both of her children through foster care I take great offense to the idea that being raised by the biological parents is always what is best for them. Is it best for a young child to be beaten and neglected? Is it best for a 5 year old girl to be sexually assaulted by the mother’s boyfriend night after night for more than five years? Is it best when the child tells her mother that this is being done, and the mother sends the child on camping trips with her abuser? Is it best when the parents use drugs? Is it best when a child almost dies from leukemia because her BIOLOGICAL parents refuse to take her to the doctor, because they know when it is discovered how they have been living and neglecting their child that she will be taken away? Is it best for the child to have to have intensive surgery to repair the damage done to her vagina by her own father when he raped her? How about the rapist who fathers a child in his crime? And the mother should be forced to raise a child of rape because biology matters?
            What about the mother who is abused during pregnancy and has a gun pointed at her pregnant abdomen and told if she tries to leave the man will kill her and her baby? Should she stay because biology is what matters? Is it best for the child to be raised by him and be abused as well? What about the mother who uses drugs and alcohol while pregnant?
            Who are you to determine, without a doubt, that something is always right, or always wrong? Are you the one comforting the fears of the abused child at night when she can’t sleep because of night terrors and PTSD? Are you the one dealing with the behavior problems and irrational fears those children now have? Will you be there when she has her babies and regresses to the terror she endured as a child when others controlled and hurt her? Do you fight the everyday battle to let her know how loved and precious she is so that she doesn’t turn into another statistic?
            Biology, parenting, love – it isn’t all black and white. There is no simple answer. There is no definite right or wrong that can be applied to all situations. How about stepping back from your preconceived notions and realizing that one size does not fit all. All I can say is that I am glad that my children’s fate was not left up to close-minded people who thought that biology was most important. Because of this my girls have a chance at happiness and health that they may not have had otherwise.
            (just FYI – every single scenario I listed above is one that I have encountered in my life and in my role as a foster mom)

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            Where did I say that being raised by biological parents is always best for a child? Nowhere.

          • Poogles

            “Where did I say that being raised by biological parents is always best for a child? Nowhere.”

            From the Salon comments (Dr. Amy): “It’s very simple really. It’s not merely what’s “best” for the child. It is that the child has a moral right to two resident biological parents, and no parent should take that right away from the child”

            I can easily see that statement be taken to mean that being raised by non-biological parents (1 or both) is not “merely” less than the best but also a violation of that child’s “moral right”. That’s how I read it then and now, anyway….

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            Let’s go back to the basics: what the piece about?

          • Poogles

            “Let’s go back to the basics: what the piece about?”

            I don’t understand what difference it makes….the article was about whether fathers are “optional” and seemed to focus on women who choose to have children, knowing beforehand that the bio father will not be present.

            Regardless, your views on this issue and the related issues it inevitably brings up (donation, adoption) weren’t really fleshed out until the comments, which is why I am quoting those and not from the post.
            You specifically asked “Where did I say that being raised by biological parents is always best for a child? Nowhere”, and that is what I responded to, with your own words, which seemed to me and others to say exactly what you are now denying you’ve ever said.

          • NoLongerCrunching

            Given that she feels so strongly about children’s rights, I venture to guess that she feels abuse is a bigger violation of their rights than taking away access to a parent to protect them from abuse. It’s absurd to say she wants kids with their bio parents at all costs, even when their lives are threatened. After all, as a doctor, she is a mandatory reporter.

          • Poogles

            “I venture to guess that she feels abuse is a bigger violation of their rights than taking away access to a parent to protect them from abuse.”

            Her comments on the Salon post lead me to believe otherwise:

            Dr. Amy:
            “What other explanation is there for depriving a child of a father other than the fact that the mother doesn’t like him enough to live with him?”

            RogerF:
            “1) Maybe the father beats the shit out of the child.
            2) Maybe the father beats the shit out of his wife.
            3) Maybe the father spends all of the families money at the racetrack.
            4) Maybe the father is a serial adulterer.
            5) Maybe the father is all of the above.”

            Dr. Amy:
            “Right, she doesn’t like him.”

          • Poogles

            Ok, after re-reading more comments on the Salon post, I also came across this from Dr. Amy:

            “I have repeatedly acknowledge that if a child’s physical safety is threatened by the father, the father must go.”

            So, not nearly as bad as what the previous comment I quoted could lead one to believe….

          • NoLongerCrunching

            That sounds bad. But I think her wording here is just clumsy rather than her believing a woman should stay with an abuser. Here is a later quote:

            “i have repeatedly acknowledge that if a child’s physical safety is threatened by the father, the father must go. That, of course, is the exception to the rule. 70% of black women are not having babies out of wedlock because 70% of black men are abusers. Clearly, as reflected in the differing ethnic choices, the decision to bear a child without a father is a lifestyle decision, not a safety decision, so why do you keep trying to derail the discussion with safety concerns?”

          • Poogles

            Yes, I posted that quote too, saying perhaps it wasn’t nearly as bad as the previous one suggested. Though, I don’t know that she ever said anything about a mother leaving a father who was abusing her but not the child…her comments seem to suggest that if the father is abusing the mother but not the child, than the mother should stick it out for the sake of the child (she mentions that “plenty” of women choose to stay with their abusers, so obviously it is an option).

          • SNM1

            “It’s very simple really. It’s not merely what’s “best” for the child. It is that the child has a moral right to two resident biological parents, and no parent should take that right away from the child.”
            Those are your words Dr. Amy, not mine… my point is that no sweeping generalizations should ever be made… What is right in one situation may be completely wrong in another… Children have a right to be loved and taken care of… They have the right to be cherished. The family make up matters much less than the ability to meet the child’s physical and emotional needs. BTW I am heterosexual and married – 10 years this April, and was raised by a fabulous single mother who did not choose to raise her children on her own but was forced to when he held a shotgun to her pregnant abdomen -me- and threatened to kill her. Our extended family helped her care for us and we always felt safe and loved by so many. He moved to another state and has had nothing to do with us out of his own choice since I was 3 months old. My childhood is filled with happy memories of being loved and adored. I am on the cusp of obtaining my MSN. I turned out well, despite my origins. And I attribute my compassion, my determination, my spirit, pretty much all that is good in me to my mother and my grandparents, aunts, and uncles. I have no desire to know him or have him as a part of my life because I am so much more than my biology.

          • Poogles

            “did not choose to raise her children on her own but was forced to when he held a shotgun to her pregnant abdomen -me- and threatened to kill her.”

            According to Dr. Amy, apparently this means your mom just didn’t “like” him and violated your moral right to have this man married to your mother (whom he threatened to kill) and living with you until you were grown. She was selfish to do otherwise.

            (Please note, I do not personally hold those beliefs at all, they’re just what I have gathered from Dr. Amy comments/post)

          • R T

            You’re being ridiculous! Adoption was created exactly for the reasons you state, to give homes to children who do not have parents who love and keep them safe. Your situation is very different from the typical newborn adoption. Most newborn adoptions don’t involve an abusive, drug addicted mother. They involve a young mother who loves her child very much and thinks she’s doing the best thing by her child. Comparing adopting a child out of the foster care system who has been sexually abused to adopting a newborn with a very capable parent who does love them is very different. Of course, it’s better for a child to stay in contact with their biological parents if those parents love the child! A child can never have too many people who love them!

          • R T

            Yes, it can! It something people don’t like to talk about for fear of seeming politically incorrect, but children of gay couples and children of single parents by choice deserve to know who their biological parent/parents is. It may not be the most comfortable choice for their parents, but its the right choice for the child. I have no problem with gay couples adopted children or using egg or sperm donors, but I do have a problem with it being done anonymously. This will never be the right choice for children pyschological and that is recognized now. It’s one of the main reason less than 5% off adoption today are closed adoption. Adults are finally starting to put their needs second to the needs of innocent children.

          • Jessica S.

            That’s really interesting about closed adoptions being less than 5%. I agree that that’s a good thing. It seems to me that a child should have those doors unlocked and available should they choose to knock and explore when they’re older.

      • http://kumquatwriter.wordpress.com/ Kumquatwriter

        Well, agree or disagree, and regardless if she still holds this belief, it is not hypocritical at all, as her point is that child needs are more important than adult – although I hope, like Trixie below, that her opinions have evolved on this, as I don’t agree – but that’s not the topic of this blog, or this post.

        • AlisonCummins

          The topic is the joy of shaming, lying about the benefits, and pretending that it’s about the best thing for the child. Check, check and check.

          • http://kumquatwriter.wordpress.com/ Kumquatwriter

            Fine Allison. She’s a big meen old bully. You win, enjoy your damn victory. I’m not going g to play this game.

          • Danielle

            So let’s say you are correct and Dr. Amy does shame people on this one point. Okay, noted.

            This does not invalidate the point being made. It just gives you an opening to launch an ad hominem attack.

            Do you dispute the validity of the point? Do you wish natural birthers shamed more, or that Dr. Amy shamed less? If the later, then you should be agreeing with the post, and urging everyone to examine how they use shame illegitimately when advancing their cause.

          • AlisonCummins

            You can draw your own conclusions. I’m not drawing them for you.

            If someone says that it’s irrelevant that Amy Tuteur, MD lies about people and tells them they are bad parents on spurious grounds, I’ll dispute that. If you think that’s a good lesson to watch out for the inappropriate use of shame by people on your own side, great.

        • Siri

          It IS hypocritical, because she and her husband placed their desire for children far above those hypothetical children’s needs. By definition. They did NOT have them as a favour to those children. Amy in effect says that only members of a certain club should have children, and by sheer coincidence, she herself happens to be a member! What luck! Too bad about all those less worthy people; they’ll have to get a hobby instead.

    • sdsures

      Well, my dad died when I was 2, from lupus. I’m pretty sure there’s not much anyone or Dr Amy can do about that.

      • KarenJJ

        That’s what I wonder. How many people in the past were raised by two biological parents? Humans seem pretty adaptable and resilient to me.

    • Carolina

      Yikes! I hope her thinking on that has evolved. That sounds like something Phyllis Schalfly would write. Lots of sweeping assumptions. The women I know who became single mothers didn’t set out to be. The relationship with the fathers did not work.

      • Poogles

        “The women I know who became single mothers didn’t set out to be. The relationship with the fathers did not work.”

        According to Dr. Amy’s Salon post and comments on the post, “did not work” is a selfish reason – children still have a “right” to 2 married, co-habiting, biological parents. Even if one spouse is abusive to the other, the children still have a “right” to 2 married, co-habiting, biological parents.

        This is one opinion/view of Dr. Amy’s I am completely opposed to.

        • me

          Well, she is Jewish.

          There’s that.

          While we’re being totally politically incorrect and bigoted, I might well remind her…. tho she probably doesn’t *need* the reminder if she thinks about it long enough, that seeping generalizations about whole classes of people (religions, races, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, etc) are wrong and harmful at best, and at worst…. well, she can ask her Bubbe about that.

          • NoLongerCrunching

            Wow, hyperbole much? She is not making sweeping generalizations about a group of people in terms of who they are and what they do with their own lives. She is saying that she thinks it’s selfish to deliberately conceive children when you do not plan to have both biological parents raise them. Not saying I agree with that extreme viewpoint, but I get where she’s coming from. The point is, she is criticizing people’s behavior, not who the person is.

          • me

            “She is saying that she thinks it’s selfish to deliberately conceive
            children when you do not plan to have both biological parents raise them.”

            It’s selfish to have children AT ALL. Name me one unselfish reason to have kids. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

            You may “get” where she’s coming from. I don’t.

            But then I’m a full generation younger than her and was taught that families come in all sorts of configurations. Maybe she should watch a few episodes of Sesame Street. My 4 year old could teach her a few things about tolerance.

            @Trixie: as far as Godwin’s Law, I was just pointing out where dr amy’s brand of bigotry tends to lead us. The Nazis weren’t just against Jews, they didn’t much care for the gays either…

          • NoLongerCrunching

            It is selfish to have children at all, when there are so many orphans; yet I did it and I’d do it again. It’s not human nature to be selfless all the time.

            Like I said, I’m not saying I agree with her about it being unethical, I’m just feeling that people are putting words in her mouth by suggesting that she is homophobic etc. I never saw her say she dislikes gays or objects to them raising children; what she objects to, I think, is *anyone* bringing children into the world when they do not intend to raise those kids with both biological parents. I bet she’d be fine with 2 gay people adopting orphans.

          • me

            “I bet she’d be fine with 2 gay people adopting orphans.”

            That’s a good question. Let’s ask her. Amy?

            I have kids too (3 of them). I don’t pretend that because I am married to their father (and “intend” to be, whatever the hell that means, for the rest of our lives) that it somehow means that my having kids is
            “less selfish” than a gay couple using a surrogate (or a lesbian couple using a sperm donor). Having kids is selfish. Period, full stop. Dr amy is “selfish” X4 and yet she is telling single mothers, gay/lesbian couples, or anyone who finds themselves raising a child in a nontraditional family set-up that they are “selfish”. WTF?

            Outcomes for gay/lesbian parents are just as good as for “traditional” parents. Where’s the problem (if it doesn’t simply lie with good old fashioned bigotry)?

          • AlisonCummins

            And she’s against all forms of gamete donation, for anyone, in any circumstance.

          • R T

            I’m completely against it too unless some form of a relationship can be maintained between donor and offspring should the child seek it. Completely anonymous donation should be illegal!

          • Trixie

            In other words, you Godwined Dr. Amy. You fail the internet today.

          • me

            :) I just find it hilarious when a kike is bigoted.

            It makes me laugh.

          • NoLongerCrunching

            Nice. And fyi:

            “big·ot” noun ˈbi-gət
            : a person who strongly and unfairly dislikes other people, ideas, etc. : a bigoted person; especially : a person who hates or refuses to accept the members of a particular group (such as a racial or religious group).

            Disagreeing with *some* of the members of a group’s *behavior* is NOT the same of hating others for *who they are*, and it bothers me when people overuse the word bigot, because real bigotry does result in things like Nazism.

          • me

            So, the evidence clearly shows that there is no harm, in terms of outcomes, measuring all parameters, when LGBT couples have children. Yet dr amy apparently disagrees with the practice, insisting that there “must be” some “harm” done (even tho, there clearly isn’t). Why does she disagree, if not good old fashioned bigotry? You have yet to answer that.

            So this is why my great grandfather went over there… so the good dr’s family could come here and gay bash. Nice.

            Stay classy, dr amy.

            And, yes, I find the irony here h.i.l.a.r.i.o.u.s.

            because it is.

            I’ve been giggling myself silly for a good half hour now.

          • NoLongerCrunching

            I think she disagrees because she feels it’s not fair to the child to deprive him of ongoing contact with both his biological parents. If you want to see that as bigotry, that’s your prerogative.

          • AlisonCummins

            It’s bigotry if something’s a problem when “those people” do it but not when “we” do it.

            So if it’s ok for a married heterosexual couple to use donated sperm but not for a lesbian couple, that’s bigotry. If it’s not ok for anyone in any circumstance, it’s not rational but it’s not bigotry.

          • R T

            No, it’s just as bad if the child has no way to ever meet their biological parent or trace their heritage should they be inclined to do so. I don’t care if you have a mother and a father, two fathers, two mothers or just one parent, a child deserve the knowledge of where they came from and who they are.

          • AlisonCummins

            Amy Tuteur, MD is against that too. The only gametes ever used to conceive a child must belong to the parents who will raise the child together. Children have a right to be raised by both biological parents, the only exception being a biological parent who assaults the child. So no, a donor who is a relative or family friend, or an open donation made through a clinic where the other parent and the child can meet the donor, is not good enough.

            Lesbians may not use donor sperm and heterosexual couples may not use donor gametes, from anyone, for any reason, ever. Not because it’s harmful to the child — she says it isn’t — but because it’s just wrong.

          • Comrade X

            That is the THIRD antisemitic comment/insinuation you have made on this thread. Please. Stop. Now.

          • R T

            What evidence? There is plenty of evidence showing closed adoption are detrimental to children and that’s why they’re rarely done now. There is just now a generation of children who are starting to grow up the product of egg, sperm or embryo donation. The repercussions for the offspring concieved from these processes won’t be known for sometime. I have read several blogs from teenagers who are anger and sad they have no way to know who their biological parent is. It’s a right we should all have to know about our past and where we come from.

          • AlisonCummins

            Except that her original argument was that *lesbians* who use donated sperm deprive their child of a biological father and are therefore selfish, bad parents.

            She has now seen reason and agrees that married heterosexuals who use donated sperm are also selfish, bad parents. But her first reflex was to focus specifically on selfish, bad-parent lesbians who conceived with donated sperm. Not a peep about straight couples who demonstrated the same behaviour.

          • NoLongerCrunching

            Well, you could be right, but I’d rather give her the benefit of the doubt and assume that she was just using lesbians as an example of people who sometimes deliberately raise kids without a father. If she truly does have prejudices against gay people, I agree that that’s wrong, and I hope she comes around to a more inclusive and accepting POV. Many people do, once they discover that a child or grandchild is gay, so who knows how she will feel about this eventually.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            The essence of prejudice is to judge people for characteristics that are immutable like race or sexual orientation. The essence of respect (in my view) is to judge each individual based on what that individual says and does and never to assume that an individual is somehow representative of all people of her ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, etc.

            I find it ironic that you insist that judging people’s choices is a form of prejudice. It’s as if you believe that a gay person who decides to have a child with donor gametes is somehow the avatar of all gay people. A specific gay person can do something that I consider philosophically wrong without it reflecting ANYTHING about gay people as a group.

            Why do you insist that no one can ever treat a person from a minority group as an individual and that person must always be viewed as a representative of the group as a whole?

            If a French person robs a bank and I disapprove, does that mean that I am prejudiced against French people? I don’t think you would accuse me of being anti-French, so why on earth do you think you can accuse me of being anti-gay when I say that I believe it is wrong to deliberately conceive a child that you deliberately plan to deprive of a relationship with the other biological parent? It sounds like you view gay people as a monolithic group.

          • AlisonCummins

            Of course. So if you only think using a sperm donor is selfish and bad parenting when a lesbian couple do it and not when a heterosexual couple do it (for instance, to prevent a genetic disorder) that would be bigotry.

            Since you believe that it’s selfish and bad parenting when the heterosexual couple do it too, then it’s not bigotry. It’s an irrational prejudice against a practice that has no empirical evidence against it — like caesarian section or formula feeding.

            (By “irrational” I don’t mean “wrong,” just that it’s not based in logic, like a food preference.)

          • http://thefresstyler.blogspot.com/ Hannah

            Did you seriously just call her a ‘kike’?

          • me

            Sorry it went over you guys’ heads. Thought it was pretty clear that I was being deliberately offensive to demonstrate just how hateful her whole line of thinking is. Dr Amy’s arguments sound a lot like the (antiquated) argument that interracial couples shouldn’t have children because it will cause some sort of “harm” to the child’s psyche. Or any other racist/sexist/homophobic nonsense. She can try to hide behind the whole histrionic “what about the children” crap all she likes, the bottom line is she is doing exactly what NCB activists and lactavists do: ignore a growing body of evidence that shows that they are wrong, and insist on digging their heels in despite the evidence to the contrary.

            The bottom line, whether you like my tactics or not, is that Dr Amy is ignoring actual evidence that shows that, hey, the kids are all right, and insisting on defending a homophobic, bigoted viewpoint.

            She could have responded to the guest that linked to that story by conceding that she was wrong, that maybe years ago when she wrote that the evidence showing that children raised in these “nontraditional” families are no worse off than their counterparts in “traditional” families didn’t exist, or there wasn’t as much of it, or whatever. She could have shared that her thoughts on the subject have evolved since then, especially in light of new information.

            But she did not, and has not, done that. She still insists that it is somehow more harmful to find out that your two mothers loved you and wanted you long before you were born, and went to great lengths so that they could bring you into their family, than it is to find out that you were born 6 months after mom and dad got married. Why? Because two moms is icky and uncomfortable. For her.

            And pretty, carefully constructed hate speech is still hate speech. She might as well being using the ‘f’ word or the ‘d’ word. At least it would be honest.

          • http://thefresstyler.blogspot.com/ Hannah

            Sorry, that doesn’t fly with me, and I’ll thank you not to patronise me by implying that I am too stupid to understand your oh so smart attempt at being ‘deliberately offensive’. You are just making yourself look stupid.

            You clearly have an attitude about Jews. You can try to justify it all you like, but you can’t make marble from shit: what you have done is offensive, bigoted and incredibly tiresome to have to read.

          • http://kumquatwriter.wordpress.com/ Kumquatwriter

            Wow, super classy. Let’s bring in the ACTUAL hate speech.

          • me

            “Actual” hate speech? Hate speech is hate speech. And flowery hate speech couched in politically correct terms is far and away more dangerous than the overt kind that uses slurs and derogatory terms. At least the latter is readily apparent to even the least perceptive in the crowd. The dangerous thing about covert hate speech (like what we are seeing from the doc) is that other people might not recognize it for what it is, and may actually listen to it.

            That’s dangerous.

          • http://kumquatwriter.wordpress.com/ Kumquatwriter

            Clarification: here on the boards, we get accused of hate speech for saying breast isn’t always best or homebirth isn’t as safe as hospital birth. That ain’t hate speech. “Kike” is hate speech. I’m not talking about the Salon article, nor am I going to discuss anything else with someone using straight up slurs.

          • Comrade X

            Did you REALLY just use that word? REALLY??

            I’m sorry, I know all of us (including Dr T) are very much for free speech around here, but I actually think you should be banned or blocked or whatever one calls it. Racist abuse is not something anyone should have to tolerate.

          • Trixie

            Did you seriously just Godwin Dr. Amy?

          • http://kumquatwriter.wordpress.com/ Kumquatwriter

            Classy!

          • Comrade X

            Wow. I couldn’t disagree more with Dr Tuteur on this issue, and I will even go so far as to say that I detect hypocrisy in opining against judging apparently-non-harmful things while yourself publicly judging apparently-non-harmful-things. But now you’re bringing the antisemitism? Seriously? What the fuck is wrong with you? Go away somewhere and have a good long think about yourself. Really.

    • The Computer Ate My Nym

      I hope that Dr. Tuteur has changed or will change her position on these issues, especially in light of the overwhelming data that children of gay parents do as well as children of straight parents. Divorce is a more difficult issue, but at least some data suggest that a divorce may results in better child outcomes than a high conflict intact marriage. I have strong feelings on the issue, having been the child of an intact marriage that probably shouldn’t have stayed intact as long as it did, but recognize that my anecdote may be atypical.

      • Amy Tuteur, MD

        Children who are adopted do well, too, but would anyone say that there is not impact on the child as a result of adoption? I doubt it.

        Do we tell children who were adopted that they should buck up, forget about their birth parents, not try to learn about them or find them? Would we tell parents, either birth parents or adoptive parents, that adoption is no big deal since adopted kids tend to turn out well? I doubt it.

        So why do we tell people who plan to have a child without involving the parent of the opposite sex that it’s no big deal simply because the child is a wanted child?

        • AlisonCummins

          Ok, so we are talking about an undetectable, philosophical harm to children. The fact that children raised in same-sex homes do just as well as those raised in opposite-sex homes is irrelevant, because you are referring to some abstract good to raising a child in an opposite-sex home, that is good whether or not there is any benefit to the child.

          You criticize this reasoning in NCB and breast feeding promotion.

          Question: are all parents who conceive using assisted reproduction by definition bad parents? If an opposite-sex couple conceive a child with donated gametes, are they bad parents? Or does that epithet apply only to same-sex parents?

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            Are people who adopt bad parents? Of course not. Does that mean that adopted children don’t long to learn about and find their birth parents?

            Do you think it is a bad thing if adopted children imagine that they were kept and raised by their birth parents? Would you chide them for not being grateful, for not recognizing all the benefits of being adopted?

          • AlisonCummins

            You didn’t answer my question.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            I am answering your question. We would look askance at people who adopted children and didn’t tell them the truth about their adoption or chastised children for viewing the adoption as a primal loss.

            Why do you think different principles apply for creating a child who will suffer that primal loss because of your deliberate action?

          • Ennis Demeter

            I think the questionable ethics is usually more on the donor side.

          • AlisonCummins

            I’ve heard that in med school it’s not uncommon for a lecture on reproductive health to include pointing out to the male med students that they are very desirable, high-quality donors and that it would be a mitzvah (not those words) to donate sperm to help out infertile couples, with instructions on how to go about it.

            The ethics might sometimes be questionable, but not always.

          • AlisonCummins

            That’s not what you said.

            You said that same-sex couples who used donated gametes to conceive were BAD PARENTS. You didn’t make that conditional on not telling the children they were conceived using donated gametes. Neither did you say that being BAD PARENTS was conditional on the privacy around gamete donation being legally unbreakable.

            I will repeat my question: are opposite-sex couples who conceive using donated gametes BAD PARENTS?

            (Not all adopted children experience adoption as a primal loss, by the way.)

          • Trixie

            I think you’re on the wrong side of history on this one, Dr. Amy. And the evidence is just not there for your allegations of psychological harm.

          • R T

            Of course it is! Adopted children have higher rates or drug use and suicide and adopted children are 7 to 8 times more likely to be abused! You need to check out Birth Mother, First Mother and some of the other blogs on this topic. Adopted children can do wonderfully and usually do, but adoption brings all sorts of confusion and pain for many children. My cousin has a wonderful life and loves his parents, but it didn’t stop him from wanting to find his birth mother. He had to wait until my Aunt died to look though because it upset her so much that he didn’t think she was “enough”. What a horrible guilt to heap on an innocent child. Closed adoptions are rarely done anymore because the damage they caused children is now widely accepted! Anonymous sperm, egg or embryo donation carries ALL the same issues! It should be illegal! Children deserve the ability to know their past if they wish to without walls being thrown up to impede their personal growth!

          • Trixie

            Children raised in same-sex parent households do just as well as children raised in opposite-sex parent households.

          • SuperGDZ

            As a child I went through a phase where I longed for my “real” parents to come and take me away. Alas, the people who raised me are my real (biological) parents.

            (I don’t mean that as a criticism of them – it was just a childhood fantasy that I was actually a princess or something.)

          • Ennis Demeter

            My own position on reproduction via donated sperm or egg has long been that it is a type of adoption. Parents have long framed it as magical conception, but there are still always two bio parents, and adults can be very naive about how their offspring are going to feel about that. I also don’t think it’s ethical to donate sperm or eggs without knowing where and with whom your bio offspring are going to end up. If a man carelessly sires children all over the place with no thought to their wellbeing, we usually know what kind of a person he is, yet sperm donation is treated as a joke. I wouldn’t even let my dog have puppies, for Gods sake.

          • http://housefulofchaos.com/ Christy

            Yes. There are issues around adoption and around donor reproduction that are still questionable. Ethical questions… we should be able to discuss the pros and cons, without it being taken as “shaming” the parents.

            There are growing numbers of stories of donor conceived children wanting access to the information about who their parents are. There are stories of men fathering hundreds of children through sperm donation and of the children meeting up as adults. There’s questions about whether women donating eggs are really given enough information about the risks and whether they are being exploited. There’s also issues around surrogacy, and the idea of non-traditional surrogacy where they use one woman’s eggs and another’s uterus so that neither woman can change her mind and claim the baby. Is it ethical for parents to willfully decide that they will seperate a child from the child’s biological roots? Is it ethical for society to support that decision financially?

          • Irène Delse

            “Ok, so we are talking about an undetectable, philosophical harm to children.”

            Say rather “psychological”, not philosophical. It’s probably not som

          • AlisonCummins

            Yes, she means an abstract, philosophical harm. We already know there is no concrete, psychological harm.

          • Irène Delse

            Did you read my comment to the end? It’s not a hypothetical problem.

          • AlisonCummins

            No I hadn’t read your comment to the end because it was cut off. I see it now.

            The harm that Amy Tuteur, MD posits is the one where two opposite-sex biological parents are not both actively engaged in raising the child.

            When one biological parent is known to the child but not actively engaged in raising it — because it is being raised by two competent parents, one of whom is not a biological parent — that makes everyone concerned BAD PARENTS. (With the possible exception of when the parents raising the child are of opposite sex.)

            This has nothing to do with disclosing.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            We just disagree, Alison. I believe it is wrong to deliberately conceive a child who you plan to deprive of a parent. That’s my personal opinion. That doesn’t mean that you have to believe it, too.

          • AlisonCummins

            Yes, it’s your personal opinion. You also have no data to support it. And your purpose in sharing it with the world was… what, exactly?

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            Of course there’s no data! This is a philosophical argument, not an empirical one.

          • AlisonCummins

            Which is what I said. This is about an abstract concept of philosophical badness, not about empirical harm. Kind of like vaginal birth or breastfeeding.

          • fiftyfifty1

            But there is data. The children of gay parents do very well on every measure of wellbeing (and better on abuse).

          • http://kumquatwriter.wordpress.com/ Kumquatwriter

            This is the crucial point – this is an opinion, not a pile of baby corpses and a ream of scientific evidence.

          • Trixie

            I absolutely agree with this.

          • fiftyfifty1

            Nah, I disagree. Dr. Amy speaks out against people who shame women for having epidurals. She calls them sanctimommies. But the lack of epidurals don’t cause piles of baby corpses. Something doesn’t have to cause death to be worth speaking out against.

            Let’s face it, Dr. Amy is a sanctimommy about gay parents and gamete-donation parents. Just because she’s right about CPMs doesn’t mean she’s right about everything.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            The irony is that Gorski is complaining on his blog that I have minions that agree with me and defend me no matter what.

          • Comrade X

            Yeah – you couldn’t ask for more solid proof that that allegation is total bollocks than today. We are officially the world’s worst minions, and you are the world’s worst brainwashy cult leader. :)

          • Jessica S.

            I love this comment so much. :)

          • AlisonCummins

            Well, you do. Just because not everyone is one doesn’t mean that nobody is.

          • http://kumquatwriter.wordpress.com/ Kumquatwriter

            I think the salon piece and comments attached definitely came off sanctimonious. I never said I agreed with all of it – only that I understood her logic and agree that a single parent family may affect kids (I was raised by a single parent and have single parent friends). I still think this whole thing has been off topic and is largely irrelevant to this blog. I do wish she hadn’t kept defending her opinion tho, that didn’t help either.

          • Siri

            I hate to disagree with you, Kumquat, because I think you’re really great. But I don’t think it was a troll, and I think the post is very relevant in this context. Sanctimoniousness is sanctimoniousness, and the age of the piece is irrelevant, as clearly Amy still hoIds those views. If I found a piece you’d written elsewhere that made you look hypocritical, I would feel justified in reminding you of it. You could then say, Yes, that’s what I thought then, but I changed my mind. Or you could confirm that those are still your views and risk disappointing or offending your readers.

          • http://kumquatwriter.wordpress.com/ Kumquatwriter

            Don’t hate disagreement, ain’t no thing. I was and am disappointed that Dr. Amy holds this view, but I didn’t agree that it was hypocritical to everything else she’s said. I’m comfortable not agreeing.

          • AlisonCummins

            Full disclosure: I think anyone who deliberately conceives a child in any way at all is behaving unethically, but it’s something that people do so I don’t get worked up about it. I reserve judgement for anyone who deliberately conceives more than two children.

            You don’t have to share my judgementalism.

            COI: I have no children, biological or otherwise.

          • Trixie

            Wait, what?

          • AlisonCummins

            Yeah, exactly. I don’t expect my weird judginess to be shared by anyone here. Neither do I write screeds against other weirdly judgy people à propos of nothing. Neither do I try to fudge or avoid being explicit about it.

            VHEMT pretty much nails it. If you’re intrigued or want to argue with me, you can write to me at alison.cummins@gmail.com. I don’t think it’s worth getting people all worked up over.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            Some people DO write screeds against large families. That doesn’t make them prejudiced against parents who have large families, either.

          • RinAlberta

            Alison, you were plenty weird and judgy about families and parents who want school choice and have made the decision to homeschool. Remember? You likened it to making the choice to homebirth and the baby dying?

            You were completely closed to others thoughts, studies and very good points about poor neighbourhood schools and school choice.

            Interesting that you feel anyone who decides to have children is wrong (shaming) and you hang out here? Where those of us who care about babies lives and their safety regarding birth, early childhood vaxes etc… hang out? But you think reproduction is unethical?

          • AlisonCummins

            No, I was not weird and judgy about people who want to homeschool. I said that children are vulnerable and that oversight helps protect them. I said that if someone asserted parents’ right to teach their children whatever they want, however they want, then they are also asserting parents’ right to deny their children any education at all.

            If you can quote me saying anything else I am happy to clarify.

          • RinAlberta

            You said plenty more Alison. Remember when you refused to actually discuss the excellent point of school choice and failing schools with a reply like:

            “Alison: Babies die in hospitals too.”

            You equated the tough choices parents have to make regarding their child’s education to the spin of an industry that puts women and babies in danger whilst lying to them about how unsafe hospitals are?

            But here you are baiting and antagonizing again, this time Dr. Amy. And even having the nerve to interpret her words and then speak for her?

            You said that any reproduction is unethical, therefore you don’t really think gay couples should reproduce either! How fair of you! My question is, when you’ve disclosed that you feel reproduction is unethical, why are you hanging out on a forum, where we discuss concerns about bringing babies into the world SAFELY?

          • fiftyfifty1

            I don’t think your judginess is weird. At least there are concrete reasons that a person can use to argue that having more than one child is selfish (the environment etc). This is unlike Dr. Amy’s judginess about gay parents where child outcomes have been scientifically shown to be equal or better. Dr. Amy is just being a sanctimommy about this, pure and simple.

          • Siri

            It’s easy to condemn others to perpetual childlessness (eg same-sex couples) when you yourself are lucky enough to meet your own arbitrary requirements. Amy had four children because she and her husband WANTED them; this is no less selfish than anyone else wanting a baby. Before she conceived there WAS no child, let alone a child with specific needs; Mr and Dr Tuteur placed their wants high above a hypothetical child’s needs. It’s so hypocritical to give yourself a pass (especially as a good marriage is just as much due to luck as to merit) while relegating others to a lesser existence (ie those who want children, but according to Amy shouldn’t have them.) Hypocrisy stinks to high heaven; I am really disappointed.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            Great. That’s your opinion and you’re entitled to it. Furthermore, it does not mean that you bear ill will or prejudice toward me because I and my husband deliberately conceived 4 children or that you are prejudiced against people who have more than 2 children. Is that an accurate description of your view of parents of large families?

          • AlisonCummins

            Yeah, pretty much. So now you know.

            My father was the oldest of eleven. I loved being born into a large family with my youngest aunt exactly between me and her next older brother. The middle kids suffered though.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            How do you express that prejudice?

            Should we condemn you for being prejudiced?

          • AlisonCummins

            If I complain that other people are prejudiced, you would be completely justified in enjoining me to pluck the beam from my own eye.

            You will note that I don’t. We all have our prejudices. You have yours, I have mine. The difference is that if I had written the post above, I would have disclosed my own acts of shaming and either apologized or explained why they were different.

          • ngozi

            I have six children. Should I bring my own stake to be burned on?

          • AlisonCummins

            You never asked my opinion so I figured you didn’t want or need it. If you want to ask my opinion I prefer you write to me privately because I don’t want to upset people needlessly — because it would be truly needless.

            Amy Tuteur, MD however, wants everyone here who used donated sperm or eggs to conceive to know that she thinks that they are selfish, bad parents.

            Please note that nobody brought the Salon.com article up until Amy Tuteur, MD wrote something nasty about people who judge loudly and needlessly, even though several of us remember it.

          • Irène Delse

            What? Every one concerned a bad parent? Are you putting words into someone’s mouth there or is it you yourself defending a philosophy that would in effect force all biological parents to effectively be involved in parenting, whatever the circumstances… Or maybe you just phrased your thought confusingly. Rushing to condemn is dangerous.

          • AlisonCummins

            How else so you interpret this quote from the Salon.com piece?

            “You’re saying that gay men who conceive children through surrogacy and raise them without mothers are bad parents? You’re saying lesbians who raise children conceived via sperm donors are bad parents?”

            I’m afraid so. There’s a difference between what adults want and what children need, and children’s needs trump adults’ wants.

          • Irène Delse

            Did Disqus just have a fit or did you edit your previous answer to my comment instead if replying to the second one? Whatever. I’m not going to take your word on what is or isn’t on Dr. A’s mind. Sorry.

            (Btw, before you jump to the conclusion that I’m irrationaly against adoption, see what I wrote a little before on this same thread about biological parents and different ways to build a family. Thanks.)

          • R T

            All you have to do is look at the harm closed adoptions did to children to know what the negative implications of anonymous sperm, egg and embryo donation will be for the children concieved from it. It should only be done openly as most adoption are today!

        • Irène Delse

          But apart maybe from some extremists (I’m thinking of the evangelical groups described in “The Child Catchers”, who pretends that adoption is “no big deal”, either from the child’s perspective or the parents? Contrary to the famous Tolstoy quote, not all happy families are happy in the same way. Children raised by a loving, nurturing, emotionally stable same-sex couple, or by heterosexual but biologically infertile parents can both learn that they are adopted, and that they were very much wanted. It’s not to mean that they never face problems (whether to look for their biological parents for instance), but that different family circumstances just mean a different set of problems than the ones found in the classic heterosexual, fecund, monogamous, married-for-life set of parents. I should know, having been born in one such. And let me tell you, it can be unnerving to realize as a young adult that you’re one of the “whoops, didn’t mean to be pregnant this time, it’s annoying to start so early and I’m still a student, but what the heck, I’m Catholic, I’ll keep it and try to get granny to babysit while I work at my exam” babies. The certitude to have been not only unwanted but a hindrance to my mother’s life… That’s something I’ll probably carry to the grave.

          /End rant. Sorry if that was a bit too personal :-(

          • AlisonCummins

            I was raised by two opposite-sex, cisgender biological parents who remained married until parted by death. My father was my mother’s first boyfriend. He had been around the block often enough to know when he’d found someone special, so he got her pregnant and married her eight months after they met. She was nineteen and still in school when I was born.

            My mother made sure my reading material included birth control information by the time I was seven.

            They were mostly good parents, like most parents. They weren’t perfect, so I have been eagerly awaiting Amt Tuteur’s screed against their selfishness since I read that Salon article in 2010. Have I missed it?

        • The Computer Ate My Nym

          Children raised by gay or lesbian couples have essentially identical parameters on every measurable outcome compared with children raised by straight couples. Oh, except one: they’re less likely to be prejudiced against LGBT people. And children of lesbians are less likely to be abused. There simply is no excuse for prejudice against gay and lesbian parents based on the “think of the children!” excuse. If the children are curious about their “other” parent, sure, why not indulge that curiosity (unless there is some constraint from the parent/donor side)?

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            It has nothing to do with sexual preference. My OpenSalon post was about single mothers. The title was “Are fathers optional?” I think they aren’t optional and mothers aren’t optional, either.

            It makes no difference whether the children turn out fine. I believe that no one has the right to take a father or mother away from a child. I’m not sure why some people believe that their need for a child is more important than a child’s need for a mother and father.

            My belief is descriptive not prescriptive. Every adult is free to do whatever he or she wants regardless of what I think (obviously).

          • Trixie

            In your comments you extended the analogy to same-sex parents having biological children, though.

          • http://kumquatwriter.wordpress.com/ Kumquatwriter

            This would be how adults discuss things – opinions are one thing, facts are another. I see your logic, dr. A, and I agree somewhat (I had a distant and uninvolved father and it messed me up a bit), but I’d rather agree to disagree on a philosophical or opinion based point that isn’t relevant (inasmuch as it is outsife of pregnancy/birth and the related circle of infant care, without studies) and get back on topic than play “I don’t agree – DEMONIZE!”

          • http://momofmanyfeet.wordpress.com Bambi

            Dealt with the same. Although I had a dad that raised me, it wasn’t the same.

          • http://safermidwiferyutah.wordpress.com/ Safer Midwifery Utah

            Shouldn’t you look at it on a case by case basis instead of making sweeping generalizations? There are a lot of people out there who wish they could have had nothing to do with one of their biological parents. I believe that is entirely valid.

          • LibrarianSarah

            Wouldn’t it be best to aim the post at absent fathers rather than single mothers if that is the point? If a father walk’s out of his child’s life and refuses to see the child, support the child etc. there is little a mother can do. She can sue for child support but she can’t make the father be a father. If a father walks out on a kid HE is the jerk. It seems cruel to blame the mother for something she can’t control.

          • me

            Ah, but according to dr amy the mother “chose” to deliberately have a child knowing that she would “deprive” him/her of his/her father. The mother apparently “took away” the father (by what mechanism, I’m not sure, ask the doc) because apparently every one in the world has the ability to foresee the future in its entirety prior to having children.

            Because, you see, it’s easier to believe that single mothers chose their “lifestyle” than it is to realize that in the real world, things don’t always go as planned.

          • http://momofmanyfeet.wordpress.com Bambi

            What of the moms who use the kids as a pawn while making him out to be a bad guy?? How many threads have we seen of women encouraging one another to take the kid from dad using any means necessary, including breastfeeding??? Yes, deadbeat dads are a problem, but loser moms are also a huge problem.

          • LibrarianSarah

            It sucks when women to that and women shouldn’t do that. But I from my experience, most single mothers are not single mothers for that reason. They are single mothers because the father is:
            1. A jerk who walked out on his family
            2. A jerk who abused her
            3. Dead
            4. In prison
            I have yet to meet a single mother who planned and deliberately conceived a child and then deliberately “deprived” a child of his/her father. That really only occurs on Springer/Maury Povich. Real life is more complicated.

          • Aki Hinata

            I’ve know three. Two who pushed the father away once they had their desired baby and no longer needed him, and one who quite literally got pregnant with a casual bofriend and then dumped him so she could have her “own” baby.

          • http://momofmanyfeet.wordpress.com Bambi

            Or she’s the kind that cheats and pushes dad out so new guy can be daddy. Or cheats and becomes a raging ^&*() to the dad.

          • http://thefresstyler.blogspot.com/ Hannah

            I know a number of women who have done it. In a lot of cases it wasn’t a great decision simply because the women involved acted like martyrs even though in each case, the choice was entirely within their control.

            Even so, I disagree with Dr Amy because the above are the exceptions, not the rule.

          • http://momofmanyfeet.wordpress.com Bambi

            I’ve seen too many women play games with kids and it’s ridiculous. I’m happy to live in an area where, if moms play that game, moms lose custody! This should be the case all across the country.

          • Guest

            It is best for a child to be raised by her own biological parents just like it is best for a child to be breastfed by her own biological mother — who of course, eats a pristine diet throughout. No, that “best” is actually a “nice-to-have:” it comes with privilege and luck. When it comes to “best” here it is: best is a child who is adored by at least one adult caregiver who feeds the child well and reliably, keeps her safe, vaccinated, educated, warm and dry, who resists yelling or unkindness toward the child while setting reasonable limits, and gives her with enthusiasm enough of the joyful things to make life good. That is best. The rest is life. We all have our sorrows and being deprived of a parent while blessed with another who did the job well? Low on the scale of life’s sorrows. I speak from experience.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym

            If it makes no difference to whether the child turns out well or not, what does it matter? Why is the “right” to a mother and a father important if a child who does not have one or the other does just as well as a child who has both?

          • Trulyunbelievable2020

            “My belief is descriptive not prescriptive.”

            Bullshit. “No one has the right to take a father or mother away from a child” is the definition of prescriptive.

            I love your work, Amy, but you are really, really wrong on this one.

          • An Actual Attorney

            Amy, the very fact you would use “sexual preference” when you mean “sexual orientation” shows how very much you have to learn about this issue. You’ve been quite offensive, previously on Salon, previously when this issue came up, and today.

            If you wish to engage in actual dialogue, I’d be happy to see that happen and be a part of it.

            But please, until you are ready to do that, leave this topic alone.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            I never wanted to discuss it in the first place. An NCB advocate (I know who it was) came in and threw the bomb to harm our cause and leave everyone in disarray fighting with each other. And everyone let her do it.

          • An Actual Attorney

            Amy, you keep coming back to this. If you didn’t, it would die like every other random tangent the comments take.

            You say very offensive things, and some people, mostly as I see it because they expect better of you and care about you, have tried to explain. You keep defending yourself, and in the process digging a bigger hole.

            I haven’t bothered jumping in, because you aren’t worth it to me. I won’t defend myself or my family to you. But when you said something so completely offensive, I had to beg you to stop. Please do. You are going out of your way to defend your hurtful ignorance. Walk away from it.

            I struggle to know why you would keep coming back.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            Fine. I’m done.

          • fiftyfifty1

            “I never wanted to discuss it in the first place.”
            Sure you did. That’s why you wrote the Salon article.

            “An NCB advocate (I know who it was) came in and threw the bomb”
            Just because someone is wrong about NCB, does that make them wrong about everything?

            “harm our cause”
            What, we have to censor ourselves or it “harms our cause”?

            “Leave everyone in disarray”
            We’ll find the strength to pull through.

            “fighting with each other”
            I don’t see many people “fighting with each other” but rather disagreeing with *you*.

            “And everyone fell for it.”
            Or perhaps decided it was a legitimate concern that needed to be addressed.

            “Someone please tell me what we accomplished by this because I’m struggling to understand”
            Pointing out sanctimommy behavior is important. That was the point of your post today. Turnabout is fair play.

          • AlisonCummins

            You did discuss it. On Salon. Voluntarily. It’s your bomb, not anyone else’s. It’s a little like blaming an NCB advocate for ruining your marriage by telling your husband about your affair. If you don’t want your marriage ruined by an affair, don’t have one. Or be open with your husband from the get-go.

            But actually, I don’t see a lot of fighting with eachother. You made some inflammatory statements and not everyone supports them. If you didn’t accomplish what you wanted with your statements, why blame other people? Why not just make fun of people who disagree with you? Or why not reconsider a position you took years ago?

            This is about the truth, about defensible positions supported by science.

            “My cause” has nothing to do with gamete donation, so you can speak for yourself.

        • Trulyunbelievable2020

          “So why do we tell people who plan to have a child without involving the parent of the opposite sex that it’s no big deal simply because the child is a wanted child?”

          With all due respect, this is complete and total bullshit, Amy. My father is a neonatologist. Every once in a while a couple that relies on two incomes will ask about the risk of their kid getting sick when he or she goes to day care. According to him, the conversation usually goes like this:

          Parents: We’ve heard there’s an increased risk of contracting diseases in daycare.

          Dad: Yes, there is an increased risk.

          Parents: Well what can we do about that?

          Dad: Not much, really. You both need to work, right?

          Parents: Yes.

          Dad: Well, then, the kid is going to need to spend some time in daycare. It’s no use feeling guilty about that. You’ll do the best you can.

          That’s good advice, Amy. How in the world can you criticize others for “shaming” when you shame them for not having the absolute ideal situation? Not everyone can manage your perfect heterosexual marriage where the husband’s income allows for the mother to stay at home. People make compromises. Don’t lecture us about shaming while insisting that everyone who has to deal with less than perfect circumstances must wallow in their failure to achieve perfection.

        • Renee

          I see that others have taken your stance and have gone places with it that are not relevant, and not what you were even talking about. I get what you said the first time in Salon. It is very specifically describing certain instances where single parents decide the other parent is irrelevant, And not for important reasons like abuse or neglect, but just because they do not find them important, or necessary. This has zero to do w same sex marriage, IMO. Sorry this was a cluster###

          Sure, people form all types of families can turn out well, even abusive ones. That doesn’t mean that purposely cutting out a parent for no reason is a good plan.

          Im adopted, and I hate hearing that crap about how I am fortunate, my family was meant to be, and all that. I lost a family, a mom lost a baby, and adoptive parents often lost their fertility. That its an imperfect solution is always ignored too/

    • http://thefresstyler.blogspot.com/ Hannah

      I patently disagree with Dr. Amy on this issue but it doesn’t take away from the issue that she is addressing here: shaming women who choose options that NCB/Lactivists/AP movements think are ‘unnatural’ even though in some cases (e.g. NCB at home) their choices are objectively the dangerous ones.

    • ngozi

      The definition of a “bad parent” is going to vary from person to person. So the argument of who makes good or bad parents is going to vary as well.

    • theadequatemother

      Anecdote: I grew up with a single mother. But in our case it was very clear that my father was the bad and selfish parent.

  • fiftyfifty1

    I think 2nd to last line should read socially UNacceptable.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      Thanks!

  • yugaya

    There is one statement that underlines this shaming aspect more than any other: “Our bodies were made to give birth ‘naturally’.”

    Shame on you if you are a woman and you choose not to give birth.

    Shame on you if you are a woman and your child is given birth by a surrogate mother.

    Shame on you if you are a woman and you cannot give birth or have children.

    Shame on you if you are a woman and you cannot or do not want to give birth without medical intervention like induction.

    Shame on you if you are a woman and you cannot or do not want to give birth without pain relief.

    Shame on you if you are a woman and you have an emergency c-section or choose to have an elective or requested one.

    Shame on you even if you are a woman who gave birth ‘naturally’ but think that women should never be shamed for not being able or not wanting to give birth at all or in any particular manner.

    Shame on you women for doing with your bodies anything other than what ‘nature designed your body for’.
    :(

    • fiftyfifty1

      Unnatural!

    • T.

      I belong to the first line and man, doesn’t it seems to make some of those bullies confused…

      The “You’ll change your mind” (to think like I do!) is very close to “Do your research!1!”

      • Anj Fabian

        Nothing but nothing makes me want to go ballistic on someone like “You’ll change your mind.”.

        It’s judgmental (Your current choice is wrong.)
        and smug (And when you do change your mind, you’ll realize how right I am.) at the same time.

        • Amazed

          Well, I do know women who I knew would change their mind and in fact, did. And yes, their current choice was wrong.

          A particular example coming to mind is an all-natural friend who went to her OB armed with her research that was meant to convince him that footling breech was best delivered vaginally. When she got educated with him explaining the actual research (you all can guess what her own ‘research’ constituted of), she happily went for a C-section.

          • Karen in SC

            Wow, somewhere there is “research” claiming footling breech is BEST delivered vaginally? Double wow!

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            AND she is going to educate the OB…

            (that was my favorite part – seriously, you are going to try to tell an OB about delivering a breech baby based on something told you on the internet?)

          • Amazed

            And then a double wow once again.

            I’m starting to think that the resemblance of the words “wow” and “woo” isn’t purely by chance.

        • T.

          So true Anj. It makes me positively ferocious.

      • yugaya

        You need to ‘EDUCATE’ yourself. :)

        • Jessica S.

          This reminds me of a Facebook post I saw the other day, of a HuffPo article, titled “‘I’ve Read Too Many Books’ to Vaccinate My Child”.

          I rolled my eyes and thought, “really? They weren’t the right books, then.”

    • guest

      You forgot..

      Shame on you for wanting a natural birth.

      Shame on you for wanting a VBAC.

      Shame on your for wanting to have a homebirth.

      Shame on you for wanting natural methods for pain relief rather than taking an epidural.

      Shame on you for not wanting to give birth exactly like I do.

      Shame on you for not wanting to sign up for a c-section, not wanting to be induced at 38 weeks, not wanting an epidural the minute you walk into the hospital.

      Don’t you know that REAL mothers have no interest in natural birth?

      • Amy Tuteur, MD

        You seem to have missed the point. I am not arguing for an abolition of shame. I’m talking about shaming people based on personal characteristics, most of which a person cannot modify or change. There are many situations involving shame for personal choices where shame is quite appropriate, including valuing your birth experience over your child’s life.

        • guest

          So it’s okay to shame some mothers, just as long as they aren’t the mothers who follow your blog? I’m confused, would you clarify? Shaming a formula feeding mother=bad, shaming a mother who wants a natural childbirth=good?

          • yugaya

            The statement I used as an example manages to “shame” MOST of women with one single sentence.

            Not that I agree with any shaming, just that no one from this blog could be that insulting even if they tried. :)

          • Mariana Baca

            I think she is saying it is not ok to shame women for having a bad pelvis, low pain tolerance, or inadequate milk supply. It is ok to shame drunk drivers, incompetent and manipulative midwives, or doctors and nurses that don’t use facts/medical consensus, and mothers that ignore best medical advice when there is a dangerous situation.

          • T.

            The point is not wanting a natural childbirth, as you would know if you had actually read some post. The point is putting natural childbirth above the health of mother and child. In most case having a child “naturally” is perfectly feasible. Sometime it is not. When it is not, it is not.So you don’t shame people because they had pre-eclampsia and needed a CS.
            Also, some people don’t want a natural childbirth. And that is fine, too. So you don’t shame them because they wanted a MRCS.
            Is it clear? Perhaps with some pictures…

          • http://thefresstyler.blogspot.com/ Hannah

            No, it is okay to shame people who put a desire for an ‘experience’ over the welfare of their unborn child, and also to shame the people that ‘educate’ women who just do not know any better.

          • SNM1

            I will debate your birth center comment as even ACOG supports birth centers as a safe option with outcomes just as good as hospitals. Very large studies have been done that show the safety of birth centers as an alternative to hospital birth. They are safe because there are standards they have to meet and laws that govern them. While I am not big on home birth I think the answer may not be to ban home birth but to find a way to make it safer (an example would be that like the woman birthing at the birth center they must meet certain criteria for home birth). Banning home birth (like abortion bans) doesn’t keep women from doing it, it only serves to make it even more dangerous. We need to figure out a way to give women the options they want and make it as safe as possible. We also need to work in how we, as providers, work together to provide seem less care. Birth centers and the doctors and hospitals they work with can be a very good example of good transfer and communication between providers that enables good, high quality care with great outcomes.

          • http://thefresstyler.blogspot.com/ Hannah

            I think if you re-read I have specifically stated that I have an issue with birth centres that do not have immediate access to medical or surgical care. There is a fundamental difference between birth centres that are fifteen minutes drive from a hospital and one that is right next door with existing protocols of communication and integrated management in place to ensure speed of care in an emergency.

          • OBPI Mama

            I’ve not come across Dr. Amy shaming women for wanting a natural childbirth. That comes in when a mother puts that want over her child’s needs or when she judges and shames other mothers for not wanting it for themselves. It comes in when midwives value a natural childbirth much more than a live baby so they spread lies, misinformation, and make horrible judgement calls. Many of us have had natural childbirths and have received no shaming or judgement about our choice of how to give birth. Many of us have had c-sections and received no shaming or judgement about our choice of how to give birth. Infact, this place has been the least judgemental place I’ve ever been to online (and I went from homebirth with my first to c-sections with my last three, so experienced the gammet of comments from many online birth communities).

          • R T

            I don’t have a problem with a woman putting her needs over those of her unborn child. I do have a problem with her making others feel bad for not doing the same.

          • Amy

            You must not read many of the posts or comments. Dr. Amy has four children and at least one was a 100% natural birth– I forget how many, because really, who cares? And she breastfed. As did I, as did plenty of other readers or commenters.

            Dr. Amy isn’t against anyone breastfeeding or forgoing pain medication *if that’s what they want*. She’s not against anyone wanting a VBAC if it’s safe. She’s against the people who do want those things acting like they’re better parents than the people who don’t.

        • SuperGDZ

          So it isn’t shameful to feed formula if you can’t breastfeed, but it is shameful if you won’t? I know that you also don’t approve of CDMR/MRCS.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        Can you please provide any example of any of these, particularly on this blog?

      • yugaya

        “Shame on you for wanting a natural birth.”

        No.Shame on your midwife if she manipulates you into insisting on natural birth by ignoring signs that indicate your baby is in imminent danger.

        “Shame on you for wanting a VBAC.”

        No. Shame on your peers and friends and midwife if they lie to you that having a VBAC at home is as safe as having it in hospital.

        “Shame on you for wanting natural methods for pain relief rather than taking an epidural.”

        No. Shame on you for putting masochistic natural pain endurance on f-ing pedestal because, you know, for most women the herbs and hypno and godknowswhat apparently does not work.

        “Shame on you for not wanting to give birth exactly like I do.”

        No one in their right mind would want some of my ‘birth experience’.

        “Shame on you for not wanting to sign up for a c-section, not wanting to be induced at 38 weeks, not wanting an epidural the minute you walk into the hospital.”

        Shame on you for using generalisations.

        “Don’t you know that REAL mothers have no interest in natural birth?”

        Define: REAL.

        • http://kumquatwriter.wordpress.com/ Kumquatwriter

          Awesome reply!

        • OBPI Mama

          Perfectly worded!

      • http://kumquatwriter.wordpress.com/ Kumquatwriter

        Yeah, because you’re being bullied by coming to a post about women being bullied and saying, “nuh-UHHH, YOU’RE mean!”

        Go away troll.

        • Susan

          Love Ya Kumquat you do know how to express things I can’t quite find the right words for….

      • Trulyunbelievable2020

        Dear Guest:

        Just about four hours ago my brother’s wife gave birth to a perfect little six pound six ounce baby girl. Looking at the pictures of this perfect little munchkin wrapped up in a blanket and a little hat (gasp! NO HATTING!), I think it’s safe to say that I have never in my life been more convinced that anyone who is concerned about their own egotistical desire to prove that they can undergo great pain to achieve the trophy of a “natural birth” is a complete moron.

        To think that you morons have made it so that women who give birth to perfectly healthy babies come out of the experience feeling disappointed because they had an epidural, or because someone put a hat on their baby, or because someone didn’t pay them the full respect due to a “warrior mama” is simply incomprehensible.

        Seriously, what the fuck is wrong with you people?

        • Amazed

          Congratulations on the newest addition to the family!

          • Trulyunbelievable2020

            Thank you! It’s amazing–after seeing just one picture of this baby I feel like I’m bonded to her, even though I’m thousands of miles and an ocean away. And these nitwits think a friggin’ hat is going to stop her mother from bonding with her. It’s beyond insane.

          • R T

            I don’t care if they put a hat on my baby, but the first thing I did was take the hat off my baby and bury my face in his head and kiss away! It wasn’t something I planned to do, it was something I had to do when he was on my chest! I wonder how many mothers keep the hat on for very long? I rarely see a picture of a new mother and baby in the hospital with the hat still on. I don’t get the uproar over “hatting” it’s not like they attach the hat to the baby’s head! They’re really easy to take off!

          • Josephine

            What, they didn’t put your baby’s hat on with a few well-placed surgical staples? No hat monitor to make sure you weren’t taking off the hat at any time? We wouldn’t want any baby sniffing in the hospital, now, that’ll just get you breastfeeding and we all know how much medical professionals hate that!

        • gtrslingrmama

          Yes times a million!!!!!!!

      • Susan

        Guest: I would agree with you that mother’s should not be shamed for those choices, even homebirth, which triples the baby’s risk of death. Nor should they be shamed for wanting a medicated birth, an elective C/S, or formula feeding. Shaming has no place in maternal/child health and … shaming should be shameful!

      • Jessica S.

        You’re clearly about disrupting and derailing than any continuing contribution to the comments so, as Kumquatwriter suggested: go away.

    • R T

      A little OT, but ALL you hear about when you have a newborn is establishing the breast feeding relationship and how important breastfeeding is and not to give up no matter how hard it night be. Nobody tells you how to stop the relationship later! How do I get my 17 month old to stop breastfeeding without it being the meltdown of the century! I have no idea how to stop! Ugh, seriously, this should be a part of what lactation consultants give you information about! My mom was no help because she said we all stopped on our own around 12 to 15 months of age very peacefully!

      • NoLongerCrunching

        Gradually drop the nursings that seem least important to the toddler. Replace it with a snack, activity, book, etc; and don’t sit in the chair he associates with being nursed.

        • R T

          Okay, good advice! What about comfort nursing? If he’s tired, gets hurt or is upset about anything he runs to me and pulls down the front of my shirt and screams to nurse! I feel like this is the biggest obstacle to weaning. That and the fact he still wants to nurse everytime he wakes up at night!

          • NoLongerCrunching

            Well, it’s been a while since I’ve dealt with that, but what I’d say is that as you de-emphasize nursing as a regular thing, he will think about it less. I’d still do it if he needs it, but I’d try to just keep him occupied with other things most of the time. Oh, and try to prevent him getting too tired by making sure he’s getting enough sleep; he will be less irritable and thus less wanting to nurse.

            Also, teach him nursing manners so he’s not ripping your shirt off. When he comes over, ask him if he wants to nurse so he learns the words, then ask him to say it (when he’s in a good mood) rather than pulling your shirt. Over time that’s what he will start doing all the time.

            As far as night time goes, personally I just decided when my kids were capable of understanding “milkies are going night-night,” I would just do it cold turkey. He will be pissed, but it usually only takes a few days until he learns that he nurses before bed and in the morning, but not in the middle of the night.

          • Susan

            That’s good advice. I weaned ( not self weaned) my first two at 18months and third at 2 1/2. All were waking up at night to nurse and it was getting more, not less, frequent. Frankly, it was a long time ago, but I think I did cold turkey. All three children were sleeping through the night within days of being weaned.

          • R T

            Yes! He’s nursing more at night than ever! I’m so tired! I want to sleep so much, lol!

      • Aki Hinata

        Try ignoring the toddler while nursing, i.e. read a book, surf the interwebs, etc.

      • Ainsley Nicholson

        I kept hoping they would stop on their own…when that didn’t happen before they turned three years old, I arranged to go out of town for a week. Done!

      • AlisonCummins

        What I was taught was to introduce a bottle halfway through a feed. You want the child to be hungry/motivated enough to figure out how to use a bottle but not so hungry they become frustrated and angry when offered a bottle instead.

        At 17 months though he probably doesn’t need a bottle at all. A change of routine that naturally eliminates one of the feeds?

        In cultures where extended breast feeding is normal, children may be sent away to be weaned. They’ll go spend two weeks with Auntie and figure out weaning with all its alternative comfort routines away from mother. Not saying you should do that, just that you aren’t the only one to find this difficult.

      • http://momofmanyfeet.wordpress.com Bambi

        I just gave in. Then I was looking at her 4th birthday and it was like “No”. I redirected her when she wanted to nurse.

      • Amy

        Stop offering and wait until they ask for it. Then gradually start making it something that only happens at certain times of the day– for us, we called it “boobie at bedtime,” and that was the only time she got to nurse.

        If he wakes up at night, have your partner attend to him, so that nursing isn’t even an option. With comfort nursing, I’d go with your gut, but if it’s making you uncomfortable/unhappy, do what you’d do with a non-nursing child– redirect, remove the child from the situation and deal with it somewhere else (if that’s possible), emphasize that we don’t touch people without their permission, things like that.

        Good luck!