Rixa Freeze: Disagreeing with you online is not cyberbullying

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To a surprising degree, natural childbirth and homebirth advocates are desperate for validation. So desperate, in fact, that when they are not validated, they actually believe that they are being bullied.

Consider how Rixa Freeze explains cyber bullying to her daughter. But before we do, let’s look at the definition of cyber bullying.

According to bullying.gov:

Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place using electronic technology…

Examples of cyberbullying include mean text messages or emails, rumors sent by email or posted on social networking sites, and embarrassing pictures, videos, websites, or fake profiles. (my emphasis)

Here’s how Rixa explains it in a dialogue with her daughter:

Did you know that sometimes adults are cyberbullies?


Yes. Did you know that there is a doctor who says mean things about me online?

Really? And she’s an adult? And a doctor?


That’s not good.

She says mean things about me because she doesn’t think anyone should have their babies at home. She says that mamas who have their babies at home do not love them and do not care about them.

But that’s silly. You love your children!

I know.

What did you say to the doctor?

I told her she was a bully and that how she was acting wasn’t right.

I’m glad that you spoke up. I think you should call the police to stop her.

No, it’s the law that people can say anything they like, even if it’s mean. I just choose not to pay attention to mean things that people say about me.

Rixa, of course, is talking about me.

Have I sent her any text messages or emails (mean or otherwise)? No.

Have I posted any rumors about her online? No.

Have I posted any embarrassing pictures or videos? Only if she think linking to a video that she posted is embarrassing.

So what did I do to Rixa that she believes is cyberbullying? I didn’t agree with her, I didn’t validate her beliefs and self-image, I failed to praise her.

Oh, the horror!

Why do natural childbirth and homebirth advocates have a dichotomous view of the world and everyone in it: if you aren’t validating them, then you must be bullying them?

Because natural childbirth and homebirth have nothing to do with childbirth, and nothing to do with babies. They all about the women who embrace them and how they would like to see themselves. They would like to see themselves as smarter, better and more loving than other mothers, and they believe that their choice of natural childbirth or homebirth is a shorthand way of broadcasting their superiority. Simply put, Rixa has made homebirth into something far more important than the way that her children were born. She has made homebirth into an integral part of her self-image. Apparently, if you believe that your choices make you superior, you also believe anyone who questions those choices is bullying you.

For Rixa, it is “bullying” to point out that she could have killed her 3rd baby who stopped breathing after an unattended homebirth. It is bullying to point out that in supporting Dr. Robert Biter, she was supporting someone who had committed negligence and malpractice. It is bullying to note that her unattended homebirths are such as large part of her identity that she manages to mention them in situations that aren’t appropriate. It is bullying to tell the truth instead of relate the sugar-coated, self-congratulatory fantasy that Rixa wishes to project.

Here’s what I’d say to Rixa’s daughter if I had the chance:

Part of being a grown up is thinking about what you do and whether it is right. There are lots of different people in the world, and lots of different ideas about what is right. Just because someone disagrees with you does not mean that they hate you, or are trying to bully you.

Most people keep their thoughts about what is right within their circle of family and friends. But some people, like your Mama, want other people to copy them. She set up a public blog to tell all the people in the world what she believes about birth, and why other people ought to believe the same things that she believes.

Your Mama thinks she knows a lot about childbirth and she is trying to teach people what she knows. Unfortunately, much of what she thinks she knows isn’t even true. Worse, much of what she tries to teach people is actually dangerous to babies; it can hurt them or even end up leading to their deaths.

I also have a blog to teach people about birth, and especially to correct the untrue things that others believe about birth. Why should anyone listen to me? Well, in addition to having given birth to four babies, just like your Mama did, I spent 8 years learning everything that I could possibly learn about women having babies, and taking care of thousands of women while they were giving birth.

It hurts my heart when I learn that babies have been injured or died because they believe the things your Mama told them. She’s not a bad person. She’s not trying to hurt babies. She’s a good person. She just doesn’t realize how much she DOESN’T know about childbirth, because she didn’t spend 8 years learning everything she could about taking care of women giving birth.

So sometimes I correct the things your Mama writes. I point out when she says things that aren’t true (she doesn’t know they aren’t true). One of the things your Mama says that isn’t true is that giving birth at home is just as safe as giving birth in the hospital. It isn’t. It’s just like saying that not wearing your seatbelt is as safe as wearing it. If your Mama said that, I would correct that, too.

As you probably know, it hurts when people disagree with us. Grown ups get hurt feelings just like children do. It would be much easier and feel much better if no one noticed when we did something wrong or said something that wasn’t true. But then we wouldn’t learn to be better people. When you get an answer wrong on a test in school, it feels bad. Sometimes you might even think that the teacher is being mean to you for marking an answer wrong; after all, you thought it was correct when you wrote it. But the teacher isn’t being mean, is she? She’s teaching. She knows more than you and she is helping you learn what she knows.

I’m sure that your Mama feels bad when I point out the things that she says that are wrong. It feels to her that I am being mean; it feels to her like I am bullying her. After all, she thinks that what she say is right, otherwise she wouldn’t be saying it. But I’m not being mean, and I’m certainly not bullying her. I’m teaching and I’m helping many people learn what they do not know.

Hopefully, when you are a grownup, you can handle feeling bad about being wrong. Hopefully, you will consider that the people who disagree with you might know more than you do and might be right. Hopefully you will learn from criticism. Children think that someone is being mean when they don’t agree with them. Grownups hopefully know better.

226 Responses to “Rixa Freeze: Disagreeing with you online is not cyberbullying”

  1. Bugsy
    April 4, 2015 at 11:27 am #

    I just saw this post and wanted to say “thanks,” Dr. Amy. It helps explain the difficulties I had in staying friends w/ Crazy Lactivist after she became an extreme believer. All she wanted from me was validation…and I couldn’t provide her with the never-ending validation she required to be her “friend.”

  2. Jeremy
    May 29, 2014 at 9:15 am #

    It’s the internet, if someone is saying shit about you, IGNORE IT. “Cyber bullying” is such a dumb term.

  3. Beth S
    May 13, 2014 at 7:34 pm #

    OT: I have a friend who’s all the sudden freaked out about BVO being in the glucose test that they give all pregnant women. She’s reading some idiotic food alarmist blog online and now plans on skipping her test, can any of the ladies and gentlemen on this board give me some info. I have very little time as the squirt was born a few days ago and I haven’t slept since then.

    • Rebecca
      May 13, 2014 at 8:00 pm #

      Ingredients list for Dynalife glucose drink:

      • Beth S
        May 13, 2014 at 9:07 pm #

        Thank you, I sent those to her, she’s caught up in the NCB woo which is driving me nuts. Told me I’d abused my kid by getting a C-section and almost got punched.

        • doctorex
          May 15, 2014 at 10:14 am #

          Why are you still friends with this person?

    • Rebecca
      May 13, 2014 at 8:03 pm #

      Rapilose OGTT ingredients:

    • Rebecca
      May 13, 2014 at 8:16 pm #

      She can ask to see the ingredients list at her doctor’s office. BTW I am seeing a lot of bloggers complaining about other ingredients, so let’s run those down. Here’s an example:


      “GLUTOLE ingredients: Glucose syrup, maltodextrin, purified water, acidity control compound E330, preservative E211, cola aroma, foodstuff colour E150, and carbonic acid.”

      GLUTOLE is a UK OGTT beverage. The E numbers are apparently a standard nomenclature for food additives in the UK (?).

      E330 is citric acid, which is present as part of the metabolic cycle of essentially all plants. It makes citrus sodas taste tart. Not scary.

      E211 is sodium benzoate, antibacterial and antifungal. Extremely common in foods: milk and meat products, condiments, baked goods, soft drinks.

      E150 is caramel color. Made from sugar, it makes things brown or black. Like cola.

      Glucose is sugar, maltodextrin is sugar, water is water, carbonic acid is carbon dioxide dissolved in water (i.e. fizz) and is one of the gases you inhale/exhale with every breath you take. Cola aroma… beats me.

    • Jessica S.
      May 13, 2014 at 9:55 pm #

      I don’t have any advice on the test but congrats on the new bebe!!

    • Ash
      May 13, 2014 at 9:34 am #

      I saw this too, but I’m waiting to see the original source (a release from the final NHS guidelines). the Daily Mail article does not have a linked source

      • Jenny_from_da_Bloc
        May 13, 2014 at 9:44 am #

        Yeah, I was just looking for that too

    • Gene
      May 13, 2014 at 10:38 am #

      Giving birth at home is “far more pleasant”. Yeah, except for the complete lack of effective analgesia that is available in the hospital.

      • The Computer Ate My Nym
        May 13, 2014 at 10:49 am #

        I never have gotten this claim. I found giving birth in the hospital with an epidural much more pleasant than laboring at home in severe pain. Probably the tectonic contractions weren’t helping there, but even for a normal labor, it hurts. What’s pleasant about that?

        Also, at home you have to clean up afterwards. Is having a hep lock and having to wear a hospital gown really worth that?

        • Jenny_from_da_Bloc
          May 13, 2014 at 10:51 am #

          My thoughts exactly

        • araikwao
          May 13, 2014 at 5:49 pm #

          “tectonic contractions” – I realise that’s an autocorrect fail, but it’s a pretty awesome one!

        • Beth s
          May 13, 2014 at 9:21 pm #

          Dude I was having contractions when I went to the hospital tectonic is how I would describe them!

    • Beth S
      May 13, 2014 at 9:16 pm #

      Yeah giving birth at home would’ve been far more pleasant with my footling breech and my DH going ape because his OCD is raging yet he can’t clean….sure.
      Yeah no, I had a much more pleasant experience with no Seizure, effective drugs, nurses who respected my FF decision, and sleep! I miss sleep sooo much.

  4. Guest
    May 13, 2014 at 8:52 am #

    Is “cyberbully” the new “birth rape?” What exactly is empowering about this movement? They seem to get victimized a lot.

    • EastCoaster
      May 13, 2014 at 9:50 am #

      The people who constantly crow about empowerment usually aren’t that empowered. They wouldn’t know empowerment if they tripped over it.

  5. Renee
    May 13, 2014 at 1:58 am #

    Reading this made me picture you telling this to a child. You must be one hell of a mother!

    Rixa lives in la-la land. Her blather KILLS, she pout her own babies at risk and almost did kill one of them, but YOU are the bully> LOL.

  6. Guest
    May 12, 2014 at 9:33 pm #

    “when you are a grownup, you can handle feeling bad about being wrong. ”

    One of the wisest sentence about emotional maturity. Thank you.

  7. realitycheque
    May 12, 2014 at 9:27 pm #

    “Yes. Did you know that there is a doctor who says mean things about me online?”

    Did hell just freeze over? Did I actually just witness a NCB advocate acknowledge that Dr. Amy is a doctor?

    • Jessica S.
      May 12, 2014 at 9:11 pm #

      Thanks so much for sharing the link. That little boy is a cutie. And the picture of Shahzad – oh, my heart breaks in two.

    • guest
      May 13, 2014 at 10:04 am #

      Thank you so much for posting this! I’ve never read a better or more comprehensive article on the state of things in Oregon. Journalism lives!

  8. CognitiveDissonaceHurts
    May 12, 2014 at 6:15 pm #

    OT: In light of the discussion on Canadian healthcare below, there’s a sad situation on Facebook.

    The mom writes: “Cooper was born @ 9:42 pm on May 7th at hospital after 3 crazy days of labour. He aspirated meconium and got stuck coming out. So L. has accompanied him to sick kids hospital. He’s a chunky little man but I don’t know his weight yet as there was way more pressing issues. He’s on oxygen and at the NICU at sick kids hospital in Toronto. I fell madly in love with him the second I saw him. I will join him today after I can leave/ sign my self out of the hospital as I lost a lot of blood and couldn’t go with him to sick kids. Looks like he will be spending some time at sick kids so please keep us in your prayers!”

    I heard about the situation and asked the nagging question in my mind, “Was this a homebirth transfer?”

    Answer: ‘Yes. She wanted homebirth but after 48 hours of labour she went to the hospital to be induced. He was delivered by the midwives at the hospital (they had come to the house but then transferred to the hospital right away). She was having contractions every 6 mins for 48 hours. The midwives had said to call them when water breaks, if there is bleeding or contractions are every 4 mins for 1 hour. At the hospital, mom was being monitored (not sure how). They knew there was meconium but they didn’t know how much. They had the pediatrician there when he was born just in case. They said if he came out and cried he was ok and the dr would leave. If not they needed to work on him. The meconium was one part of the problem, the second part was that he got stuck at his shoulders for 2 mins. If he had just come right out, they could have suctioned the meconium before he aspirated it.”

    Cooper isn’t doing well. He’s had an xray to check for damage from the SD, and an MRI to check for brain injury. He isn’t responding to the drugs for the meconium aspiration.

    It’s very sad, and a good thing she didn’t have her homebirth after all! I’m
    just not sure how I feel about her labouring at home without the midwives for 2

    • Young CC Prof
      May 12, 2014 at 6:23 pm #

      Oh, that poor child!

    • May 12, 2014 at 6:50 pm #

      So sad.

    • Mishimoo
      May 12, 2014 at 7:55 pm #

      Damn! Thinking of the poor little guy and his family.

    • May 13, 2014 at 5:10 am #

      What strikes me initially is the confusion between “induction” and “augmentation”. But after tranferring, and labor eas being augmented, labor should not have been allowed to continue for such a long time, especially if there was meconuim. It sounds to me as if the mother might have refused C/S.

      The important thing about contractions is not the frequency or strength, but whether they are effective. Oh, right, PV exams are an unnecessary intervention.

      • saramaimon
        May 13, 2014 at 6:03 am #

        antigonos, would you mind explaining the difference in scope of practice between israeli nurse-midwives and US CNM’s? my impression is that in the US CNM’s are semi independent practitioners and are licensed to diagnose and prescribe a clinical course of action within there defined field of practice, whereas israeli nurse-midwives are not licensed to do so, and are to carry out the clinical decisions determined by the physician on duty? if you think it is not relevant to the discussion here feel free to respond to me at yahoo.

        • May 13, 2014 at 2:00 pm #

          Broadly speaking, you’re right: Israeli midwives are almost exclusively employed on staff in L&D units. However the degree of autonomy varies, and there’s a reason for this: many midwives who obtain Israeli licenses come from countries where their training may or may not be the best [this problem surfaced in a big way with the large mass aliyah from Russia]. So, a staff doctor and midwife who work together, once the doctor knows the capabilities of the midwife, generally tend to let her manage without interference. Whereas, in the UK, I could order pethidine within certain parameters without a doctor confirming it, here I need to inform him, although I’ve never had a doctor withhold permission. CNMs in the US are also constrained to a degree by hospital policy, but in the UK [at least when I was there] we had national regulations that spelled out what we could and could not do without notifying a doctor. We also did far more of the antenatal and postpartum care in the UK. When I went to work for one of the Health Funds, I was told “we don’t need midwives as we don’t do deliveries in the clinic” and only after I described the ongoing A to Z care British community midwives give, did they think I might be useful in an outpatient setting.

  9. Mariana Baca
    May 12, 2014 at 5:38 pm #

    Off topic: how do you pronounce her name?

    • Certified Hamster Midwife
      May 12, 2014 at 6:50 pm #

      She’s not Aztec, so I pronounce it “Ricks-uh” in my head.

      • May 12, 2014 at 7:54 pm #

        I do as well, but out of curiosity, what’s the Aztec pronunciation?

        • MLE
          May 12, 2014 at 9:43 pm #

          Ree-shah I believe

          • Mariana Baca
            May 13, 2014 at 12:42 am #

            It would be pronounced that way in portuguese, too, which is what confused me. Didn’t know if she could be brazilian or something.

          • MLE
            May 13, 2014 at 11:47 am #

            I always assumed she was Mr. Freeze’s wife/sister.

    • Starling
      May 12, 2014 at 7:55 pm #

      Ricks-uh is correct. She is an acquaintance of mine IRL, and that is how she pronounces it.

      • Mariana Baca
        May 13, 2014 at 12:43 am #

        Thanks! Hopefully that will help me not stumble over the word so much.

  10. Lena
    May 12, 2014 at 3:34 pm #

    If I didn’t already dismiss everything she said, I would have stopped taking Rixa seriously with that post. Forget not even understanding what cyberbullying means–anytime someone brings their kid into it with some cutesy teachable moment that could have been written by a sitcom writer, you know they are incapable of rational thought.

    I really think that ridiculous post is a desperate attempt to discredit Dr. Amy. NCBers are feeling the heat–that crowd-sourced birth was their undoing, they know they look bad, and that the baby’s family is thanking Dr. Amy for her support is pissing them off.

    • NoLongerCrunching
      May 13, 2014 at 8:57 am #

      Whenever I am reminded of that crowdsourcing, it blows my mind all over again that the editor-in-chief of Midwifery Today would do something like that.

      • Siri
        May 17, 2014 at 6:42 am #

        Whenever I think about Jan Tritten, it blows my mind that anyone could be the very least bit surprised by her actions.

    • Beth S
      May 13, 2014 at 9:26 pm #

      I hate when people bring their kids into things, I mean do I talk about pregnancy and child birth? Yes, but I tend to keep the names out of it and pics are a no go because at 4 days old my daughter deserves her privacy. Sometimes I wonder about people.

  11. May 12, 2014 at 3:18 pm #

    I can’t reply to the person talking about MRAs but if you want endless examples of them check this out- http://wehuntedthemammoth.com/

  12. May 12, 2014 at 3:14 pm #

    For some reason I can’t reply nor can I edit my comments.

  13. ngozi
    May 12, 2014 at 3:06 pm #

    I just wanted to say that my reply buttons have disappeared too. GAH!!!

    • The Bofa on the Sofa
      May 12, 2014 at 3:09 pm #

      Mine, too

      • NoLongerCrunching
        May 13, 2014 at 8:58 am #

        I don’t get how you guys are replying, if you don’t have a reply button.

        • Siri
          May 17, 2014 at 6:45 am #

          Bofa is a sly fox; he’s got him one of them universal remotes.

      • Siri
        May 17, 2014 at 6:44 am #

        They’re probably under your sofa.

  14. Amy M
    May 12, 2014 at 2:58 pm #

    AmyP–not sure why there is a yellow bar by your comment below, but if I accidentally flagged it I am sorry. My “reply” buttons have disappeared and I was trying to find them.
    Anyway, I wanted to tell you I never heard the acronym “MRA” but once you all explained it, I knew of the men of which you speak. But yes, luckily, I have not dealt with them directly.

  15. T.
    May 12, 2014 at 2:45 pm #

    If you critique very harshly a person it (likely) is bullying.
    If you critique very harshly an idea, it is not bullying.

    If you say for example “Communism (or capitalism pick your choice) is one of the most stupid economic theories ever developed, and deserves to die a fiery death” and keep saying it, that is not bullying.
    If you say “John Smith (or whatever, no offense to real John Smiths) is one of the most stupid creature ever born and deserves to die a fiery death” and go on and on saying it, it may well be bullying

    Those people are so dependent on their way of giving birth to define themselves that they consider an attack to this idea as bullying. This is weird. And a bit like some religions.

    • The Computer Ate My Nym
      May 12, 2014 at 3:46 pm #

      If you say for example “Communism (or capitalism pick your choice) is
      one of the most stupid economic theories ever developed, and deserves to
      die a fiery death” and keep saying it, that is not bullying.

      OT but…too late. It already has. Whichever one you mean.

      If you
      say “John Smith (or whatever, no offense to real John Smiths) is one of
      the most stupid creature ever born and deserves to die a fiery death”
      and go on and on saying it, it may well be bullying

      The Smith you want is Adam. But only if you believe the parenthetical comment.

      So sorry. I simply can’t resist The Snide when it comes to economics.

      • auntbea
        May 12, 2014 at 8:14 pm #

        Capitalism has died a fiery death?

        • The Computer Ate My Nym
          May 13, 2014 at 9:06 am #

          Well, maybe not a fiery death. It died with a whimper, not a bang. Nonetheless, you rarely see true, unadulterated 19th century capitalism out there these days. For good reason. Mixed economies work best. At least under current conditions.

          • Young CC Prof
            May 13, 2014 at 12:20 pm #

            “You rarely see true, unadulterated 19th century capitalism out there these days.”

            Except in China.

      • T.
        May 13, 2014 at 4:05 am #

        I used economical theories because nowadays people are less… touchy about them than about, say, religion. I could have said “Merchantilism is one of the most stupid economic theories ever developed and I am glad it went the way it went!” 😛 (Incidentally, I don’t think it had)
        I do despise Adam Smith, though he did have some rather interesting ideas.

      • Siri
        May 17, 2014 at 6:51 am #

        Howard Johnson is right when he agrees with Olson Johnson that Gabby Johnson is right!

    • lilin
      May 12, 2014 at 4:12 pm #

      If you harshly critique a person it isn’t bullying. It might not be nice, but it isn’t bullying.

      Doing things that reasonably make them feel threatened (like making threats or giving private information to people who might hurt them), that’s bullying. Sending people or messages to harangue them in their professional, public, and private life – provided that life has nothing to do with the conflict – is bullying. Bullying means pushing yourself into someone’s life with the intent on making their whole life not worth living. It’s not just saying something mean to them, and certainly not saying something mean about them.

      • May 12, 2014 at 7:56 pm #

        An excellent distinction – one can certainly be “mean” without being a “bully “

        • Guest
          May 12, 2014 at 9:38 pm #

          Sometimes I worry I am bullying my child into brushing his teeth. But mostly, I’m mean when I lock us both in the bathroom until his teeth are brushed.

          • NoLongerCrunching
            May 13, 2014 at 9:01 am #

            That’s called the protective use of force. He simply a more drawnout version of violently yanking your child out of playing in traffic.

      • T.
        May 13, 2014 at 4:14 am #

        This depends highly on the single person. Some people can stand very high level of personal “critique”, other throws themselves out of buildings for less. This is a lot like childbirth: some people suffer more than other for the same thing.

        If you go on saying to our John/Jane Smith that they are inferior being, worth of nothing, etcetera, and that person perceive it as bullying, then it is bullying even if it could only be classified as “critique”.

        I don’t think most bully have the intent of making another person life not worth living. That is the end, yes. But it shows a high degree of empathy (I do THIS to make X feel THAT) which most bully in my experience just don’t have. Bully more often (but not always) than not bully not to make the other person unhappy. They do it to make themselves feel strong or because they think they are “right” (for example religious people bullying homosexual people, skinny people bullying fat people, breastfeeders bullying formula feeders or MRA bullying women) or because they think it is amusing. The other person is an object in this, a mean, not an end. The end is feeling powerful and restoring their self-worth, which is tied to being “right” (right about their religion, their sex, their infant-feeding choices, their weight…) and which the bullyed person somehow treat.

        So while it is true that the accidental mean comment or critique is not bullying, and that you can be mean without being a bully, you can’t being a bully without being also mean.

    • Squillo
      May 12, 2014 at 7:07 pm #

      I think bullying requires more than just critique, harsh or not.

      To me, it is when someone exploits an imbalance of power to try to deprive someone else of a right.

      • Amy Tuteur, MD
        May 12, 2014 at 8:16 pm #

        I think the circumstances also matter. We are not talking about casual conversation with a group of people. We are talking about a woman who presents herself as an authority (by dint of an American Studies PhD), who seeks to educate others. She has repeatedly made claims that are factually false. She nearly killed her own child and she could contribute to the death of other children.

        Frankly, I think Rixa’s reaction is of a piece with the emotional manipulation that is such a prominent part of homebirth midwifery. When challenged, homebirth advocates insist that you are hurting their feelings rather than addressing the substantive issues.

        I’d be willing to bet that on virtually all empirical issues that we have disputed, Rixa understands that I am right and she is wrong. Rather than acknowledge that, she tries to emotionally manipulate her readers into addressing her feelings rather than her factual errors.

        • Squillo
          May 12, 2014 at 9:29 pm #

          Agreed. We’re also not talking about a group of schoolchildren, in which power balances might be reckoned differently.

          By Ms. Freeze’s apparent definition, anyone who writes a scathing commentary of the President is a cyberbully.

        • Lena
          May 12, 2014 at 10:23 pm #

          “I’d be willing to bet that on virtually all empirical issues that we have disputed, Rixa understands that I am right and she is wrong.”

          Absolutely. That’s evident by the fact that she rarely addresses issues of homebirth safety. She’s incredibly sly. No matter what the concern, she always responds with “autonomy.”

          • Young CC Prof
            May 12, 2014 at 10:35 pm #

            Yup. Telling someone, “Hey, I think that’s a bad idea” violates their autonomy. Just like physically stopping someone. Everyone is an island, true freedom means no one affecting your choices in any way.

  16. LibrarianSarah
    May 12, 2014 at 2:23 pm #

    I am sorry but what kind of parent get’s their kids involved in their own interpersonal problems? I know I don’t have kids so I can’t judge but it seems to me entirely inappropriate to me. Does Rixa not have friends that she can bitch about Dr. Amy too instead of her own minor child?

    Also can we stop watering down terms like “bullying” by using it at the drop of a hat. Bullying is not someone disagreeing with you even if they are using mean words to do it. Bulllying is not someone telling you that you are wrong or that you made stupid or dangerous decisions. Bullying is a group of people doing every thing in their power to make your life a living hell for no reason whatsoever.

    • Amazed
      May 12, 2014 at 2:25 pm #

      Aww, Sarah, but that’s exactly it. Not being perceived as the well of every wisdom – THAT’s making Rixa’s life a living hell for no reason whatsoever than those silly babies and mothers she’s influencing.

    • wookie130
      May 12, 2014 at 5:22 pm #

      The kind of parent who is so desperate for validation, that she stoops to the level of seeking it from her own kid. It’s more than sad, really.

    • Certified Hamster Midwife
      May 12, 2014 at 6:55 pm #

      Don’t families talk about their day and about their lives at the dinner table anymore? Or is it all toys, Disney Channel stars, and preschool gossip until the kids go to bed? How dull.

      Or maybe it was the best example she had of cyberbullying. Her idea of it, anyway.

      • LibrarianSarah
        May 12, 2014 at 10:44 pm #

        Sorry but in my family if you want tantilizing conversation you have it with your husband over a glass of wine not infront of your children.

        • May 13, 2014 at 1:35 am #

          Then how will the children learn to hold tantalizing conversations? We always talked about stuff over the dinner table- not birth, really, but politics and religion and bullying and ethics and stuff, even from the time we were little, and my parents talked about stuff that was over our heads while we were there.

          • yugaya
            May 13, 2014 at 3:51 am #

            Holding a meaningful conversation on difficulat subjects with young children is mostly about asking the minimum amount of carefully worded follow up questions and active listening, and being very diligent about not superimposing the adult’s position of power and authority as a parent over the child.

            The way she self-centralised the whole communication and force fed her own little definitions, ready-made interpretations and takeaway opinions instead of allowing more talking time to her child to explore, form and express her own understanding of bullying is just plain disgusting.

          • LibrarianSarah
            May 13, 2014 at 9:08 am #

            It’s one thing to discuss the city’s plan to renovate downtown and another to discuss what a bitch you think Shela at the office is to you. Or in this case some lady on the internet.

          • May 13, 2014 at 3:19 pm #

            Well, yeah one shouldn’t discuss what a bitch Sheila is at the office. But one can talk about things that Sheila did that make her a less than ideal colleague, letting one’s child know (through osmosis if nothing else) that this is not acceptable behavior in a professional environment or in general.

        • Certified Hamster Midwife
          May 13, 2014 at 4:15 am #

          Of course you don’t talk about the neighbors’ infidelities or dark family secrets in front of the kids, but I can’t imagine leaving all talk about day-to-day grown-up life for after the kids are out of earshot. I did a lot of quiet sitting and listening as a kid.

          • LibrarianSarah
            May 13, 2014 at 9:16 am #

            There is a reason when parents discuss things like bullying they mostly use the phrase “when I was a kid.” It is because, for most people, things from childhood are mostly resolved.

            If you are going to use personal experience as a teaching tool in this case the story should go, “when I was a kid, this bully did x and I did y and as a result z happened”. It should not go “right now some mean lady is telling the entire world on the internet really mean and hurtful things and their is nothing you or anyone else can do about it. Goodnight!”

            The latter will cause the child to worry about the parent which, although sometimes can’t be help such as when a parent is sick, is inappropriate.

    • Lena
      May 12, 2014 at 10:31 pm #

      The same type of woman who distributed an essay about her homebirth experience to her students as an example of the type of writing she expects from them, that’s who.

      Rixa’s a more dangerous level of narcissist than TFB. At least Gina’s crazy is obvious.

      • Anj Fabian
        May 13, 2014 at 5:28 am #


        I think the mark of a good teacher is using diverse resources to teach. I took a course from someone who used the textbook they wrote. I don’t recommend it.

        • Amazed
          May 13, 2014 at 5:46 am #

          Many of my professors used their own books as a part of the literature they recommended. PART of being the key word. I mean, when you’ve got this far in your field, I do expect that 2 or 3 of your own books will be among the 15-20 you require us to read. Now, if these 2 or 3 books ARE the literature you expect, I have a problem with that.

          • Anj Fabian
            May 18, 2014 at 2:35 pm #

            In this case it was physical chemistry and there was only one textbook.

        • Trixie
          May 13, 2014 at 7:47 am #

          I took a course from someone who wrote the textbook, and it was great! But, his textbook was the most widely used on the subject across the country, on its 9th edition or something, and he was an acknowledged expert in his field.

        • doctorex
          May 15, 2014 at 10:05 am #

          Currently, I teach college courses primarily in prison and as a side gig. Resources are lean. Yet my students still in every case get material that is more appropriate than random shit I wrote about events that might be meaningful to me. This is insane, and someone should write the department head.

    • Siri
      May 17, 2014 at 6:55 am #

      Well said indeed. And having been a child gives you the perfect right to judge; no offspring needed. Parenting isn’t an exclusive club that confers privilege; we’ve all been little more or less recently, and at the receiving end of adult behaviour.

    • Bugsy
      April 4, 2015 at 12:02 pm #

      People who know no boundaries between themselves and their children. People who use their children as pawns for their parenting activist causes, and who raise them to be actively involved in their own causes without the opportunity for open discourse and free speech…

  17. Anj Fabian
    May 12, 2014 at 1:36 pm #

    My son was watching a Disney sitcom. A teen girl is talking to a teen guy and she points out that his flyer is implying things that aren’t true. He feels hurt and accuses her of bullying him. She says something like “I’m NOT bu-.”. She stops and tries to think of another way to say it that won’t upset him, gives up and finishes with “Good luck.” and leaves.

    I laughed. My son didn’t because he didn’t understand the joke.

    • The Computer Ate My Nym
      May 12, 2014 at 12:42 pm #

      I thought one got Canadian health insurance by being in Canada. No residency requirement, no citizenship issue, just be there and it happens. Am I wrong about that?

      • guest
        May 12, 2014 at 12:51 pm #

        Yes. Even a citizen has to be in province three months before receiving care. In B.C., anyway. Each province administers it’s own plan.

        • guest
          May 12, 2014 at 12:51 pm #


        • AmyP
          May 12, 2014 at 1:00 pm #

          My husband is Canadian (living in the US as a permanent resident), and my understanding is that he’s not eligible for Canadian healthcare as a non-resident.

        • ModerneTheophanu
          May 12, 2014 at 2:08 pm #

          So what happens if someone moves from New Brunswick to B.C. and gets in a car accident 2 weeks later? Or moves at 7 months pregnant and then has a preemie? It seems strange to me that there would be such a large gap. Do they get covered under their previous province’s insurance?

          • Jpow
            May 12, 2014 at 2:33 pm #

            Yes, your previous province covers your expenses. You just present your old health card and the provinces take care of it for you. Unless Quebec is involved. Then you have to pay out or pocket and get reimbursed (this used to be the case, it may have changed).

        • mishabear
          May 12, 2014 at 5:43 pm #

          In BC the wait is remainder of the month plus 2 months (so, anywhere from 2 months plus 1 day to 3 months). Ontario is 3 months (there is separate insurance you can get for the wait period — my husband got coverage through his employer). There is no wait period in Alberta. However, if you get coverage in Alberta and leave before at least 6 months, they can go after you and make you pay it back, based on the theory that you were only there for healthcare and weren’t really living there. Other provinces can do this too. I’ve heard of instances where BC has in fact gone after someone. Quebec has a wait period too, but exempts pregnancy/childbirth.

      • Lori
        May 12, 2014 at 1:12 pm #

        I had to be working/paying taxes here before I got it. I came in from the US on a work visa. Every work visa renewal required renewing my insurance. Now that I have lived here several years and am a permanent resident it isn’t linked with my work status the same way, I could still be covered even if I lost my job or something.

      • May 12, 2014 at 2:19 pm #

        There’s a residency requirement – Canadian health care is for Canadians and for those who are here on a permanent basis – ie. it is not for tourists, and tourists can expect to pay for care they recieve in Canada out-of-pocket. A couple of provinces also require waiting periods before qualifying for their provincial insurance (Ontario and BC). Under the Canada health act though, insurance by one province is to be accepted by providers in another province, so Canadians moving between provinces retain their originating province’s insurance until they meet the requirements of the province they are moving too. Also of note – not all provinces charge insurance premiums and those that do, do so more as a head tax (ie. the premium does not reflect an individuals health risk.) However, due to delays in getting official status in Canada, some moms are left unable to access health insurance as the province cannot determine eligibility without the proper documentation from the federal government as to immigration status.

        • The Computer Ate My Nym
          May 12, 2014 at 3:48 pm #

          That strikes me as silly. Do you want to discourage people who just flew in from Hong Kong from going to the hospital to get their SARS treated right away or what? (Yes, I know, it’s pretty rich of a US-American to be criticizing CANADA for lack of universal health coverage, but there it is.)

          • May 12, 2014 at 4:02 pm #

            I’d be hoping that those folks who just flew in from Hong Kong would buy travel insurance before they left. However, the current situation with respect to mothers pregnant with Canadians is very silly and quite repugnant.

          • theadequatemother
            May 12, 2014 at 4:27 pm #

            Physicians and hospitals can’t deny emergency treatment. We’d treat and then try to recover costs. The lady in question, should she show up at the hospital in labour would be cared for. The hosp bill and the physicians bills are seperate bc most physicians are independent contractors. So for example I’d probably pity her and give her an epidural and waive my fee if they were unable to pay or discount it. The hospital would charge for the supplies, nursing care, and OR time if needed, etc. the hospital billing dept would work out a payment schedule. The physicians would ask for cash or debit or credit payment prior to services because there is no effective way for us to collect funds from the uninsured who decide they don’t want to pay afterwards.

            The couple in the news story has options. A payment plan with the hospital for example, the resident clinic at BCWH used to discount care for women in her situation based on ability to pay.

            I personally don’t agree with cdn insurance just automatically covering the care of every pregnant woman that ends up on Canadian soil bc that would be open to abuse. Imho we have enough abuse of our immigration system already. But that said the office processing her application should get on it

          • May 12, 2014 at 5:06 pm #

            I also think there’s a difference between all pregnant people and people pregnant with Canadians, and I think if the father is Canadian, that that should mitigate the circumstance somewhat.

          • CognitiveDissonaceHurts
            May 12, 2014 at 5:07 pm #

            “people pregnant with Canadians”

            I love that phrase! 🙂

          • mishabear
            May 12, 2014 at 5:12 pm #

            The Canadian baby WILL be covered (assuming dad is covered — i.e., not in BC’s 3 month-ish wait period). So baby’s pediatric care, NICU, etc., that will be covered. What’s not covered is the mother’s expenses related to pregnancy and childbirth.

          • May 12, 2014 at 6:04 pm #

            Which is silly because the risk of NICU etc. goes up significantly if the mother makes poor care decisions during childbirth. For example in this case deciding to have ahomebirth instead. Better to recognize that pregnancy and childbirth merit a greater degree of compassion.

          • mishabear
            May 12, 2014 at 6:48 pm #

            Not necessarily disagreeing with you on the compassion point, but your reasoning applies equally well to babies born on Canadian soil to visitor parents…. Though hospital can try to get costs back, in reality it doesn’t happen since everyone just flies back to their home country. Might as well cover every pregnant person to reduce the presumably larger NICU bill…? Not sure the Canadian taxpaying public wants to take on that particular moral hazard.

            Besides, the alluded to homebirth in the article is a red herring. Hospitals will work with couples in their situation (which is not uncommon). IMO, they’re only raising the spectre of homebirth to force CIC to act and get full MSP coverage.

          • May 12, 2014 at 6:55 pm #

            That’s somewhat different, in the sense that the case where both parents are foreign, one parent’s off-spring is not advantaged because of the parent’s sex. I could see a charter argument being made on that ground – similar to the charter argument that was made with regards to the offspring of those with first nations/aboriginal status.

          • May 12, 2014 at 6:05 pm #

            Point being the Canadian born to a Canadian mother and foreign father should not be at an advantage to the Canadian born to a foreign mother and a Canadian father.

          • Young CC Prof
            May 17, 2014 at 11:03 am #

            I now have a mental image of a planned hospital parking lot birth. With Dad carrying the baby inside for evaluation immediately afterward.

            Actually, that might make more sense than planned home birth, especially if you put a secondhand wheelchair in the trunk in case Mom needed help.

          • Siri
            May 17, 2014 at 8:08 am #

            Some Canadians are more equal than others?

        • MaineJen
          May 12, 2014 at 4:05 pm #

          Apparently “30 Rock” got it wrong, then…

          • AmyP
            May 12, 2014 at 10:32 pm #

            Jack could have paid the bill very easily.

    • mishabear
      May 12, 2014 at 5:34 pm #

      Not exactly clear to me, but it looks like she has been in Canada for 2+ years already and applied August 2013, which means she/they procrastinated on getting her application in for over a year. The situation sucks for them, of course, but not sure I’d be getting huffy and up in arms over CIC’s inefficiency….

      The couple should call and work out billing options with the local hospital. Not sure where they got the $20K they’re throwing around in the article. BC Women’s charged me about $6K for a c-section including the internal medicine consult for HELLP Syndrome — that was the rate they charged returning citizens who got caught in the 3 month-ish wait period before they get covered by MSP. (I was actually in the applying for PR situation too — the billing department was being nice.) That was a few years ago, but I’m sure prices haven’t tripled in that period. If you go with midwives (real ones in Canada, not CPMs), it’s probably much cheaper.

    • Bugsy
      April 4, 2015 at 12:13 pm #

      I’m completely late to this discussion, but wanted to provide some background. I can relate to this woman’s frustration b/c I was caught in the same backlog of applications. In a nutshell, the current government decided in early 2014 to no longer prioritize family PR applications. There was a 6-month backlog when I applied in July of 2013. I was within 2 weeks of having mine approved when the apps came to a complete standstill in January of 2014.

      The queue moved 2 weeks in 6 months. Mine was approved in July of 2014, but only because my Member of Parliament got involved – I needed to travel back to the states to visit my ailing father.

      Nearly one year later, the queue has moved an additional 2 weeks. This means that people who applied in the summer of 2013 expecting a roughly 6-month process are, nearly 2 years later, still awaiting their PR approval.

      It’s unfortunate that this woman got caught up in it, especially while pregnant. The government really screwed over a lot of legitimate Canadian families.

  18. Mel
    May 12, 2014 at 12:09 pm #

    Times Rixa has been mentioned on this blog:
    2014 – Twice (including today)
    2013 – Once (in defense of Dr. Biter)
    2012 – Seven times (including the footling breech discussion from hell in which several commentators mentioned Rixa was the most logical person)
    2011 – Eleven (mostly surrounding her terrifying video of Inga’s birth)
    2010 – Five

    26 blog posts – most of which mention Rixa in a glancing way – in 5 years.

    That’s 5.2 mentions a year – from a blog that posts roughly 250 times a year.


    • NoLongerCrunching
      May 12, 2014 at 12:12 pm #

      Awesome. I just googled “Rixa Freeze videos” and one of the first Lankes was to Dr. Amy’s blog!

  19. Irène Delse
    May 12, 2014 at 12:08 pm #

    In other news, Dr. Jen Gunter comments on the latest celebrity to embrace ‘natural’ childbirth:

    • The Bofa on the Sofa
      May 12, 2014 at 12:15 pm #

      There is no prize for pain and it certainly doesn’t make you a better person if you sweat it out for 24 hours or more without help from pharmaceuticals. I despise the idea that if you need, or God forbid desire, analgesia during your labor and delivery that somehow you just aren’t mom enough.


      • araikwao
        May 12, 2014 at 6:10 pm #

        I was just saying to my husband a few weeks back that I feel so so so much more proud of enduring the last 11 months or so of truly awful sleep problems with our son than having had an unmedicated delivery. That is far more indicative of my love for him than the way I gave birth to him. Being able to function well enough in spite of that to care for him, my daughter, and more recently, go back to med school – all that says far more about my inherent value as a person and mother than his birth does. (and he’s now had FOUR mornings of getting up significantly later than 0430, so there seems to be hope for us!)

    • ngozi
      May 12, 2014 at 1:06 pm #

      That was refreshing.

  20. NoLongerCrunching
    May 12, 2014 at 12:06 pm #

    The only way this post would be better is if person in the photo were texting “your meen.”

  21. May 12, 2014 at 11:55 am #

    OT from this post, for those not in the Facebook groups, we are making a video to raise awareness. If you want to be in our “Not Buried Twice” video, please email me ASAP. All photos and footage are due this SUNDAY, May 18th. Email me for instructions: douladani1@gmail.com
    Thank you!

    • Trixie
      May 12, 2014 at 1:37 pm #

      You might want to edit your post to break up the text of your email address so the spambots don’t find it.

  22. Amy Tuteur, MD
    May 12, 2014 at 11:54 am #

    Excellent piece on the risks of homebirth:


    • Guesteleh
      May 12, 2014 at 12:23 pm #

      Thank you for posting this. I give the paper a lot of credit for running that story because Oregon is homebirth central and I imagine they are taking a lot of heat right now. Also kudos to Judith Rooks for speaking out.

      Abel is adorable. It breaks my heart he was hurt so badly and people are trying to sweep it under the rug.

    • Starling
      May 12, 2014 at 12:23 pm #

      So, doctors, that baby in the birth photo? That’s a pretty blue baby, isn’t it? My son came out that color, and instead of skin-to-skin, the nurses and doctor took him over to the warmer and did some rubbing down and stuff. I got him back after he started breathing and pinked up a little.

      I’m *not* an expert on birth, normal or otherwise, so you guys tell me–should that little guy be getting some attention?

      • Irène Delse
        May 12, 2014 at 12:57 pm #

        That doesn’t look like a good color. My mother told me that I was born “with a blue face”, and that the doctor thought prudent to give me oxygen until the color improved before letting her hold me. I had thought nothing of it, just a curious tidbit of data, but through reading the stories here I realize that things could have turned pretty bad for me had I been experiencing oxygen deprivation for a little longer. Good thing I was born in a hospital…

    • ccccat
      May 12, 2014 at 1:34 pm #

      That was a good piece and yet it stilled contained some misinformation. Like, doctors have a financial incentive to do more c-sections. That’s an NCB claim. Did the reporter follow-up with an insurance company to verify? NCBers also claim that being calm help labor; fear stalls labor. Did the interviewer look for any supporting evidence? And where did she get the WHO recommendation (totally made up and since retracted) since its no longer on their site?

      I’m not saying she did a bad job. I’m saying the NCB spouts so much BS that an investigative reporter really needs to be on her toes and explore every single claim which is probably not possible given the lack of resources for journalists these days.

    • Ash
      May 13, 2014 at 7:42 am #

      Aaaah, the woo (in parts of the article)! Commenter Shannon says that she started her pregnancy with a freestanding birth center. She transferred to a hospital, diagnosed wtih HELLP, and had a C-section. She acknowledges that perhaps her midwives could have diagnosed her sooner with HELLP had they ordered laboratory testing and evaluated her (they relied on 3rd party information from her husband over the phone instead) . She believes that had she seen an OBGYN earlier she could have had been diagnosed and treated earlier. But a CPM midwife birth center is still cool and awesome.

  23. Mel
    May 12, 2014 at 11:49 am #

    Ok, I went back and read that piece of writing about Inga’s birth that she wanted to share with her college students.

    Holy – fricking – inappropriate – Batman!

    I really want to send her a copy of any popular psychology book that covers healthy boundary setting skills because she is CLEARLY lacking those skills.

    • Chione
      May 12, 2014 at 4:09 pm #

      Yeah. I did some catching up on her as well, and that text in that context was mindbogglingly inappropriate. However the real tour de force was the birth video, which was one of the more distressing things I’ve watched in a long time, and at least I knew from the start that the baby was going to be fine.

      Just shows you how blind people can be – after an experience like that I would certainly have re-evaluated my opinions concerning home birth, and at the very least I wouldn’t have shared that video with the world, knowing how horrifying it looks. Welp, to each their own I guess.

      • CognitiveDissonaceHurts
        May 12, 2014 at 5:00 pm #

        I’m pretty sure that was the video that I saw when I was hunting around the Internet getting brushed up on my crunchy, getting ready for the arrival of a grandbaby, that made me shudder and wonder what the NCBers had been up to in the 15 years since I had been away from them. Then I looked for some articles and ended up here…

  24. Adelaide GP
    May 12, 2014 at 11:23 am #

    It is this bloated language style ( legitimate debate = bullying, intervention = birth rape, commentor expressing dissent = psychotic troll, NCB skeptic = Satan, Caesarian section = sliced and diced ) that shuts down discussion and dilutes / minimises the experiences of , say, those who genuinely ARE bullied or raped. In this regard, NCB characters like TFB and Rixa Freeze wouldn’t seem too out of place in a Victorian gothic romance novel for all the overwrought prose they generate!! Unfortunately when discussing issues that actually matter and can’t be easily dismissed with lazy over the top exaggeration , eg a baby dies a preventable death, the NCB advocate communication appears to switch to the polar opposite style – minimalist denial, silence, the less said, the better. Where are all the extravagant catch phrases then? It’s a strange dichotomy indeed.

    • Life Tip
      May 12, 2014 at 1:36 pm #

      It’s too bad they don’t seem to understand that using emotional, bloated language doesn’t do them any favors. No rational person wants to have a serious conversation with someone using such exaggerated terms. They make it easy for everyone else to dismiss any legitimate concerns they actually have. A privileged, wealthy SAHM on her MacBook bemoaning her “birth rape” because the doctor checked dilation is not going to be taken seriously when we know the reality and horror of actual rape. But if she had just posed the problem using words that accurately described her situation, “I wish the doctor had been more gentle/more respectful/better able to explain to me the procedure”, then it might promote a real discussion about her concerns.

      It’s almost like they don’t want solutions. Or rational discussions. Just attention.

      • yugaya
        May 12, 2014 at 5:53 pm #

        You cannot have a rational conversation with NCB advocates because any/all criticism is interpreted as aggression. Whenever you communicate with them directly you are the enemy and they will communicate with you negatively. They will not be able to listen and they will resort to self-centered argumentation as a defense mechanism.

        The mere act of asking rational questions endangers their ‘evidence-based’ NCB truth because it is not based on rational, logical facts that can be as such successfully defended in a serious debate.

        Even when they claim to be open for discussion or unbiased or interested in hearing different opinions, they are unable to carry a decent conversation. I’m still waiting for a truly rational advocate of NCB ideology to appear on this blog and argue without descending into the typical meme speech patterns after a comment or two or fifteen.

    • Sue
      May 12, 2014 at 11:53 pm #

      I suspect a lot of the ”bloated” language style comes from a type of spectrum bias: if you don’t live a life where the consequences of your decisions or actions are truly life-affecting, you use that language for less crucial situations.

      I don’t mean at all to belittle the work of people working in literature or the arts – they are important to our society – but their daily decisions generally don’t affect the lives of others in the way that MWs and OBs do.

      The appropriate word is ”perspective”. You don’t need to be a MW or OB to get it – you just need insight.

      • doctorex
        May 15, 2014 at 9:59 am #

        I agree with part of your argument here but I think it’s also really important to understand that “lay” voices and non-scientific scholarship are really important in setting and understanding the tone of the debates between the people having the life and death conversations. I am sort of a nut about this because I am a rather humanistically trained social scientist who does medical research, and a lot of the time the problems people have accessing the care they need to live really are actually problems in providers and patients communicating with each other in ways the other group can understand. This *actually kills people.* And you need people trained in the humanities and close language analysis to understand how and why and to prevent it from happening.

  25. Karen in SC
    May 12, 2014 at 11:04 am #

    NCBers come to this blog and call you vicious names and even write that you should be “shot in the face.” Maybe not Rixa herself but others. Talk about being a bully and hater!

    • The Bofa on the Sofa
      May 12, 2014 at 11:12 am #

      I am wondering…in terms of bullying, one thing that the “bully” needs to do is to actually seek out their victim (or wait for them to come by). In that respect, they make it very personal.

      To what extent does/has Dr Amy gone to seek out confrontation with Rixa? Talk about her here, that’s for sure. But for that, Rixa would have to come here to see it. Hard to call that bullying.

    • yugaya
      May 12, 2014 at 6:01 pm #

      When I go and read old SOB blog posts I get scared with how many comments were filled with aggressive hatred and open insults. I am glad that the tide has turned a lot and that compared to only a year or two ago nowadays they try to at least appear to be civilised when commenting ’round here.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa
        May 12, 2014 at 6:38 pm #

        Oh, we have our days. It’s always fun when someone chutes in.

  26. May 12, 2014 at 10:56 am #

    Well said. I get very tired of the accusations that you, and your readers, are “mean, haters, antifeminist, anti-women, bitter, vicious trolls.” I don’t think having a hospital birth means I’m better or smarter than any of them; I think it means I understand science and statistics better. No matter how gently you phrase this, or how gingerly you couch any criticism or concern in their language, you’re MEEN and a BULLY and a HATER.

    • Jocelyn
      May 12, 2014 at 11:49 am #

      I think it’s especially ironic when they accuse Dr. Amy of being anti-women and then call her the b-word, c-word, or some form of insult because she’s past childbearing age.

      • NoLongerCrunching
        May 12, 2014 at 12:13 pm #

        Well, once a woman is past childbearing and breast-feeding age, her worth significantly decreases dontcha know.

        • ngozi
          May 12, 2014 at 1:15 pm #

          According to that crowd she is worthless because she is retired.

  27. auntbea
    May 12, 2014 at 10:45 am #

    The next time I voluntarily send out an article for peer review, and get back something less than “publish as is”, I am going to sue that reviewer for creating a hostile work environment.

    • araikwao
      May 12, 2014 at 6:14 pm #

      And you should write a blog post about how meen and anti-woman they are

      • yugaya
        May 13, 2014 at 3:53 am #

        And use your child as your communication prop to reinforce your arguments.

  28. Captain Obvious
    May 12, 2014 at 10:28 am #

    Yes Rixa, like TFB, didn’t have a midwife show up in time for her delivery. Accidently, or by choice? It is one thing to promote “safe” Homebirth practices, and another to go ahead and have an unassisted Homebirth. And Rixa is clueless about APGARS and NRP. She gave her third child an APGAR of 9 or 10 at two minutes? Which it clearly wasn’t. She speaks of secondary apnea but waits for over a minute to do anything, and when she does she blows into her face from inches away. Now that’s PPV! Rixa is surely ignorant of many things, for such a smart lady.

    • Starling
      May 12, 2014 at 11:24 am #

      Her first was an intentional unassisted birth, but she felt that having a midwife present was safer for subsequent deliveries. I doubt the third (Inga) was a deliberate unassisted birth, but I also suspect she was pretty sure things would be fine either way.

  29. The Bofa on the Sofa
    May 12, 2014 at 10:26 am #

    Oh, scientists always bully others and use “scare tactics”, don’t you know?


  30. NoLongerCrunching
    May 12, 2014 at 10:19 am #

    Also, calling someone a fool on the internet is mean, but still not bullying.

    • yugaya
      May 12, 2014 at 6:09 pm #

      Mean yes, but so often correct.

    • doctorex
      May 15, 2014 at 9:51 am #

      Sometimes it’s hard to be both sugar-coated honey-dripping nice and responsible and accurate. Would everybody really like Dr. Amy better if she told them all “Bless your Heart.” I wouldn’t.

  31. NoLongerCrunching
    May 12, 2014 at 10:16 am #

    Oh man when that girl googles her mom, she is going to have a rude awakening…

  32. Dr Kitty
    May 12, 2014 at 10:13 am #

    The things that MRAs write to feminists ( rape threats, pornography photoshopped to look like them, HORRIBLE personal insults) is bullying.

    “Your interpretation of the data is flawed, I disagree with you because I don’t think you know what you are talking about and I’m afraid that your erroneous information is causing other people to make dangerous choices” is not bullying.

    Rixa must never have been on a debate team.

    • Young CC Prof
      May 12, 2014 at 10:55 am #

      You bring up a very good point. Adults need to understand that it is possible to disagree about things, even things that they consider very important, and still remain friends. (Or loving family, or civil colleagues, or friendly neighbors.) You may indeed decide that a certain subject is so important that you can’t be friends with anyone who disagrees with you about it, but if you have many such topics, in time you may find yourself with more principles than people in your life.

      • CognitiveDissonaceHurts
        May 12, 2014 at 4:53 pm #

        Some of the best times I have is when my dear friends and I disagree on things that we are passionate about and then have discussions where we defend our own points, listen to their points, and always end up loving each other anyways! We even look forward to these times and our kids get a kick out of watching us “go at it”. We are modelling healthy relationships to them, not bullying.

    • May 12, 2014 at 11:22 am #

      The things that MRAs write

      You’re not talking about MRA’s then, you’re talking about garden variety misogynistic assholes.
      It’s a small point, but one that irks me because it’s an underhanded way to dismiss legitimate concerns about radfem as drunken rape threats.

      • Dr Kitty
        May 12, 2014 at 11:43 am #

        Misogynists who identify themselves as MRAs in the abuse they send.

        While not all MRAs are misogynists, some self identifying MRAs very definitely are misogynists.

        • Amy M
          May 12, 2014 at 11:57 am #

          What is an MRA?

          • Young CC Prof
            May 12, 2014 at 12:01 pm #

            It stands for Men’s Rights Activist.

          • Dr Kitty
            May 12, 2014 at 5:21 pm #

            It’s often the “what about the menz” that turns very quickly to “you need some cock” or “shut up whore”.

            I have issues with transexclusionary radfem.
            I don’t think custody should go to the mother just because she is female.

            But too often MRAs come off like White supremacists- people annoyed that their automatic privilege is no longer quite so automatic…while also feeling free to say horrible things to women with impunity.

          • Irène Delse
            May 12, 2014 at 12:01 pm #

            ‘Men’s Rights Activists’.

          • AmyP
            May 12, 2014 at 2:08 pm #

            You’re so lucky not to know that.

        • May 13, 2014 at 3:55 am #

          Misogynists who identify themselves as MRAs in the abuse they send

          Dr Kitty, could you please provide an example of someone who explicitly identifies themselves as an MRA acting in a misogynistic or abusive manner?

          Cite your (primary) sources please.

      • Irène Delse
        May 12, 2014 at 11:58 am #

        I don’t know if you have noticed, but there’s an awful lot of raging misogynists, sexist a-holes and assorted nostalgics of ye good ol’ patriarchal order who, for all practical purposes, have basically hijacked the ‘MRA’ label. Why? Obviously because it’s socially more acceptable than their true colors. Anyone who genuinely cares about issues faced by men today would do well to distance themselves firmly from this possibly small, but vocal and obnoxious bunch. Things would be much more clearer then.

        /rant over.

        • NoLongerCrunching
          May 12, 2014 at 12:15 pm #

          So true. I fully support the men’s rights with regard to equal custody of their children. But need to keep the riffraff out and have zero tolerance for misogynistic vitriol. I mean many of them actually have daughters that they are fighting for joint custody of, so how does misogyny need help with that?

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            May 12, 2014 at 12:18 pm #

            As a guy, I do think about issues of getting men rights in places where they are getting the short end.

            However, I can’t identify with what I see from people who claim to be MRA.

          • May 13, 2014 at 3:51 am #

            I can’t identify with what I see from people who claim to be MRA

            Indirectly, that’s my point.
            By applying this one label to all critics of feminism, anyone who disagrees with any aspect of feminism is automatically typecast as a misogynist rape apologist regardless of what they’re actually arguing.

            Just look how quickly everyone here spattered the term MRA around when it was clear most of them had little idea of what it entailed in practice.

          • May 13, 2014 at 3:45 am #

            many of them actually have daughters

            I’ve had a very close male family member get royally screwed over in family court by an ex-wife with clinical NPD, and yet the legal system still comes down on her side every time despite her blatantly destructive and deceptive behaviour.
            This is not some academic exercise for me either.

        • ModerneTheophanu
          May 12, 2014 at 2:12 pm #

          I support parental rights for men, especially in custody battles (it used to be that children were automatically placed with the mother, whether or not that was actually best for the child), but all I see from MRAs on the internet is the nasty language that Dr. Kitty mentioned.

          • May 12, 2014 at 2:33 pm #

            Same here.

            I find more support for men in general among feminists than I do among MRAs. Considering that feminists support treating everyone equally, that’s not too shocking, but it still says a lot when the people who are supposed to represent men do a worse job of it than people who focus on representing women.

          • May 13, 2014 at 3:47 am #

            Considering that feminists support treating everyone equally

            All feminists support treating everyone equally? Really?
            It’s possible to criticise certain aspects of feminism without collectively damning all of it and that does not make you a misogynist.

          • May 13, 2014 at 4:31 am #

            Yes. Really. It’s a primary tenet of feminism, in fact- all people are people, including the women, and thus should be treated with the respect and dignity that all people deserve.

            Which aspects of that do you disagree with or would like to criticize, exactly?

          • May 13, 2014 at 4:43 am #

            Which aspects of that do you disagree with or would like to criticize, exactly?

            You’re being very disingenuous here.
            If that’s all feminism represented, then everyone would be a feminist.

          • May 13, 2014 at 6:00 am #

            Everyone really should be a feminist. But they are not. After all, you have people actively teaching that women are inferior to men- too emotional, not logical, incapable of taking care of themselves, weaker, etc. All false, of course. But the ideas exist, and some people even propound them.

            Justin Vacula says women are supposed to serve men. He clearly does not agree with this one basic tenet that women are people too. Debi and Michael Pearl teach that women must be submissive to their fathers and then husbands. They clearly do not agree with this tenet. There is an entire subculture in the US called Christian Patriarchy- they don’t even try to hide that they think women are inferior specimens of humanity. There is a huge problem with rape culture, in that it blames victims/survivors for their victimization while treating rape as “something that happens” instead of “a crime someone commits” and then devalues a female victim/survivor based on that sexual experience. Women seeking pain relief in childbirth are derogated as weak and women seeking C-sections are derogated as non-ideal based on flawed notions that women are supposed to suffer and women’s pain doesn’t matter enough to treat. Women still get paid less than men for the same job- somewhere between 77 cents on the dollar and 85 cents on the dollar. Professions that become female dominated also lose prestige and salary- nursing, teaching, and secretarial work were quite prestigious and well-paid until they became female dominated, at which point they became “women’s work” and were dismissed accordingly. We’re watching it happen in real time now- biology is being denigrated just as it tips to 55% female graduates, and pay is plunging. Primary care physicians were well-paid and well-respected until that became a predominantly female subsection of medicine. You don’t think that shows a profound disrespect for women and their labor? When John and Jane Smith send out identical resumes, John gets a lot more callbacks than Jane.

            Sadly, the notion that women are actually people is not fully ingrained in our society yet, and many fight tooth and nail against the practical applications of this basic principle.

          • May 13, 2014 at 9:42 am #

            What on earth are you talking about?

            None of the people you mentioned have anything to do with MRA!!

            I disagree with some of the figures you have listed above, but it’s absolutely indisputable that women are massively discriminated against in many areas of society.

            What I do take exception to is your glib assertion that to oppose any aspect of feminism is to believe that women are undeserving of respect and dignity.

          • auntbea
            May 13, 2014 at 10:22 am #

            Vacula wrote a post on A Voice for Men

          • May 13, 2014 at 3:12 pm #

            Ah, but I have never said that if you oppose any aspect of feminist thought you are not a feminist. You keep building those strawmen, though.

          • May 13, 2014 at 4:00 am #

            all I see from MRAs on the internet

            Do you see this, or have others just told you about it?

          • May 13, 2014 at 4:33 am #

            I’ve seen this repeatedly. Shall I point you to the Slymepit, home of proudly misogynistic self-described MRAs?

        • Isilzha
          May 12, 2014 at 4:52 pm #

          Plus, MRA is easier to type than “misogynist”. There may be some distinction between the groups, but there’s enough overlap that is really doesn’t matter in the end.

          • May 13, 2014 at 3:37 am #

            So if some MRAs are not bad but all misogynists are bad, doesn’t the distinction become more important?

        • May 13, 2014 at 3:36 am #

          Could you provide an example of a self-identified MRA exhibiting this kind of behaviour?
          A primary source please, not a second hand opinion from one of the FTBs drama queens.
          One line troll comments on youtube also don’t count.

          • May 13, 2014 at 4:36 am #

            A primary source please, not a second hand opinion from one of the FTBs drama queens.

            This right here? This gendered language used to slur and put down people you disagree with? This determined attempt to poison the well against bloggers most of the people here have probably never read or heard of? This makes you part of the problem.

          • May 13, 2014 at 4:45 am #

            This gendered language used to slur

            Oh for goodness sake. This is what you choose to focus on?

            That makes you part of the problem.
            And here’s the problem in a nutshell, that overly black and white thinking.
            It’s possible to disagree with aspects of something without being wholly against it.

          • May 13, 2014 at 5:47 am #

            What do you disagree with in feminism? And don’t you understand that it is exactly the opposite of being feminist to denigrate women using gendered slurs in order to marginalize them? You aren’t just disagreeing with some things. You are actively being anti-feminist when you deliberately put down women as “drama queens”, even after it’s been explained to you many times exactly why this term and others like it are a problem.

            Do you, or do you not, agree with the proposition that women are people and all people are deserving of respect and dignity? That is what feminism is.

          • May 13, 2014 at 9:35 am #

            it is exactly the opposite of being feminist….
            ..that women are people and all people are deserving of respect and dignity? That is what feminism is.

            Enough with these silly games and clumsy false dichotomies.
            Opposing certain ideas expressed by particular feminists does not mean that I do not believe that women are not people and deserving of respect and dignity.
            Go pedal this bumper sticker feminism somewhere else.

            explained to you many times
            Only once that I can count, but please, don’t let me stop your histrionics.

          • May 13, 2014 at 3:10 pm #

            No one is making any false dichotomies. When you denigrate women by referring to stereotypes of them as hysterical and illogical, though, that is nonfeminist behavior.

            Which ideas by certain feminists do you oppose, exactly? You’re being very vague. And also trying to move the argument away from your original claim that MRAs are not, as a group, misogynist.

          • May 13, 2014 at 8:38 pm #

            referring to stereotypes of them as hysterical and illogical
            trying to move the argument away from your original claim that MRAs are not, as a group, misogynist.

            Feminerd, could you please show where I have said these things?
            Please be specific.

          • May 13, 2014 at 11:49 pm #

            Easily done.

            A primary source please, not a second hand opinion from one of the FTBs drama queens.

            You’re not talking about MRA’s then, you’re talking about garden variety misogynistic assholes.

            I can’t identify with what I see from people who claim to be MRA

            Indirectly, that’s my point.
            By applying this one label to all critics of feminism, anyone who disagrees with any aspect of feminism is automatically typecast as a misogynist rape apologist regardless of what they’re actually arguing.

            You have both used gendered language to denigrate women as hysterical and illogical and claimed that MRAs are not misogynist as a group. I didn’t even have to look at your history- it’s all right here on this thread.

          • Dr Kitty
            May 13, 2014 at 7:49 am #

            Gawker and Jezebel.
            Pick a story about rape, abortion, the equal pay act or something and read the comments.

          • May 13, 2014 at 9:27 am #

            read the comments

            So you’re saying these commenters explicitly identify themselves as MRA, or can you just not read properly?

          • T.
            May 13, 2014 at 1:49 pm #

            Could you give me a primary source of a self-identified MRA who expouse the idea that women are equal to men? A MRA who writes a blog post about how women deserves 100% pay of men in the same job and responsability for example, something like that.
            Thank you 🙂

          • May 13, 2014 at 8:32 pm #

            a self-identified MRA who expouse (sic) the idea that women are equal to men?

            But what has that to do with the topic at hand?
            I’m specifically asking for evidence that MRA’s are involved in making rape threats or photoshopping pornographic images of feminists, not that their ideology is sound.

            Just for the record, my interest is specifically in fathers’ rights, and the only people addressing this in any substantive way are in the MRA movement.
            I don’t buy into the rest of their ideology at all – for the most part they’re a bunch of pretentious pseudo-intellectual idiots.

            What infuriates me though is when people looking for more equitable treatment of fathers end up being lumped into the same category as rape apologists since the term MRA has now become a catchall term for anything a particular feminist doesn’t like.

          • May 13, 2014 at 11:50 pm #

            You know who else is looking for more equitable treatment of fathers? Feminists.

          • T.
            May 14, 2014 at 2:33 am #

            I happen to be Italian, Miko. So my English is less than perfect. Remember not everybody in the internet is from the UK, US or Australia.

            I am not following you. You claim that MRA thinks women are equal to men or you don’t?

            About MRA being rape apologists:


            Just go to the “justification of rape” part and you will see plenty of example (cited link by self-descripted MRA). They are also against the criminalization of marital rape. Because clearly a man can’t rape his wife.
            The list of rather disgusting things they do is quite ample. They do one right thing, namely as you said the attempt to give more right to fathers. That is their only undiluited good point (other good points are their focus on violence toward men, but they diluited it by pretending that it is something women most often do, while it is a 50-50 between women and other men, and same with male being raped).
            But they do a lot of things that are downright disgusting and evil.
            Now it is your turn. That blog post/article/comment/everything that show MRA believing in equality with women…?

  33. moto_librarian
    May 12, 2014 at 10:09 am #

    Painting legitimate critiques and criticisms as bullying can be quite effective because it is treated like a trump card that shuts down subsequent discourse. It is also used as an excuse for banning commenters, erasing posts, etc. We have seen this happen with The Feminist Breeder, VBAC Facts, Midwifery Today, Aviva Romm, etc. It makes people tend to disbelieve in the existence of bullying, which does happen in real life and online.

    Just because you can’t rebut Dr. Amy’s claims with evidence doesn’t mean you are being cyber-bullied, Rixa. Grow up.

  34. Young CC Prof
    May 12, 2014 at 10:08 am #

    This is an idea I’ve seen floating around a lot, both in natural childbirth and in other naturalist or antiscience circles, the idea that criticism is a form of bullying.

    No. Invading someone’s personal space by sending your criticism through email, text messages, or phone calls is bullying. Sending 600 tweets calling someone a slut is bullying. (Similar things have happened to prominent female skeptics in recent months and years.) Hunting down someone in person to shout at them is bullying. So is calling up someone’s employer to file frivolous complaints.

    Someone writing negative comments on your public web page with comments section (relevant, on-topic comments in clean language, that is), or writing an article that disagrees with you, is not bullying. Among actual scientific or scholarly circles, people disagreeing with you is called doing science.

    • doctorex
      May 15, 2014 at 9:46 am #

      THIS! And also, among scientific circles, people disagreeing with you is not only “doing science.” It is a sign of respect, because it means they paid attention to your work, read it, and think enough of it is redeemable or its impact might be large enough to merit a conversation. That matters a lot in fields where people are mostly writing articles to the fifteen to fifty people who study exactly what they do.

      • Young CC Prof
        May 15, 2014 at 9:53 am #

        I’m a mathematician. 15 readers is a lot sometimes.

  35. The Computer Ate My Nym
    May 12, 2014 at 10:03 am #

    I just choose not to pay attention to mean things that people say about me.

    Really? How is bringing it up during a conversation with your daughter who was trying to talk about the bullying problems going on in her school “not pay[ing] attention to mean things people say about me”?

    It seems to me that Rixa is paying quite a lot of attention to things Dr. Tuteur says about her. If only she’d pay attention to the data Dr. Tuteur presents and stop advising women to do dangerous things.

    • ccccat
      May 12, 2014 at 10:33 am #

      I didn’t read Rixa’s post. Did she really bring this up during a conversation her daughter initiated about school bullying? Now that is a frightening level of a narcissism. “Yes, honey, but enough about you, let’s talk about how I get bullied*”.

      *not really bullied.

      • The Computer Ate My Nym
        May 12, 2014 at 10:51 am #

        I skimmed the article and did misunderstand (and therefore misrepresent) it a little: Yes, the conversation was initiated by her daughter. However, she was talking about a lecture they had on cyberbullying among students, not an incident in the school. So maybe not as much as I originally implied, but the post as it stands still takes the focus off of the daughter and puts it on Rixa very quickly: the story goes straight from the daughter talking about an anecdote of two friends sharing passwords then having a falling out and abusing the knowledge to “did you know that sometimes adults are cyberbullies?” I don’t get the transition. (Though maybe it’s just editing and they had a long conversation about the risks of sharing passwords even with close friends first.)

        • MaineJen
          May 12, 2014 at 4:05 pm #

          Or maybe it’s a totally fabricated conversation. Badly fabricated.

          • yugaya
            May 13, 2014 at 7:47 am #

            That depends on how old the child is, there are examples of add-on phrases and sentences that fit more with adult speech patterns:

            “….we talked about cyberbullying in school today… Do you know what that means?”

            “…two girls said mean things about each other… That’s not right.”

            “… If a mama had her baby in a hospital… I would say That’s great! That can be a good choice!”

    • Jenny_from_da_Bloc
      May 12, 2014 at 10:51 am #

      I think Zari is a boy…..

      • The Computer Ate My Nym
        May 12, 2014 at 10:52 am #

        Sorry. My mistaken assumption.

        • Jocelyn
          May 12, 2014 at 11:50 am #

          Mine too.

          • Laura
            May 12, 2014 at 1:35 pm #


        • Jenny_from_da_Bloc
          May 12, 2014 at 3:56 pm #

          I was wrong, I’m just super confused by her pictures and kids names

          • Laura
            May 12, 2014 at 6:42 pm #

            Yeah, the kids all look very much alike and she does subscribe to a certain level of gender neutrality, if you will.

      • Starling
        May 12, 2014 at 12:00 pm #

        Nope, Zari is a girl, her eldest.

      • Laura
        May 12, 2014 at 12:24 pm #

        No, Zari is a girl.

        • Laura
          May 12, 2014 at 12:24 pm #

          The little boy is Dio.

          • Zornorph
            May 12, 2014 at 1:03 pm #

            Holy Diver!

        • Jenny_from_da_Bloc
          May 12, 2014 at 3:54 pm #

          I’m so confused by her kids names

    • Amy
      May 12, 2014 at 11:25 am #

      Seriously. And how is it being a good “mama” to take your child’s concerns about school bullying and make the conversation about HER? When my kids are concerned about something in school, we talk about that, not my adult problems.

      • Mom2Many
        May 12, 2014 at 12:07 pm #

        As it turns out, they were discussing a lecture on bullying, but I get your point. Too often, conversation with certain individuals in my life, end up being about them and not the initial topic. For this reason, I try to replay conversations back in my head after a visit, to make sure that I was an attentive listener, and not simply talking the whole time, trying to make things about me and my experiences.
        Still, I have to say that as a mom to many, (bio and foster) I often use a real life example, to help them through whatever they are experiencing. I believe that hearing that Moms/Dads also go through some of the same things that they are going through, actually helps them grow in understanding that as they go through life, they are going to run into similar situations, and knowing that Dad and Mom truly understand/have made mistakes, can make all the difference. So, for me, Rixa sharing her ‘bullying’ experience is not misplaced as a teaching style-other than the obvious fact that her idea of cyber bullying and the real deal are of course miles apart. 🙂
        I believe firmly that parenting by modeling appropriate behaviour is highly effective. If I can make myself relatable to a teen, that is huge. If I can allow my teen to see that I too struggle with the correct response to a situation, even going so far as to have them give me advice….that can often lead to a breakthrough that is desperately needed and more importantly, there is learning going on for both them and I!

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