Is the world of homebirth just middle school writ large?

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What would the world of homebirth look like if it were nothing more than middle school writ large?

It would look an awful lot like the world of homebirth looks today. Homebirth, like middle school is dominated by Queen Bees, based on exhibitionism and risky behavior, and ruled through enforced conformity, emotional manipulation, shunning, and purging.

The world of homebirth is dominated by Queen Bees. You know the type. They only feel alive when they are controlling a group of sycophants; hence they have blogs and websites restricted to sycophants. They run the gamut from complete wackos like Ina May Gaskin, Gloria Lemay, and Janet Fraser to mainstream business people like Jen Kamel, Gina Crosly-Corcoran, and Ricki Lake, to know nothings like Carla Hartley and January Harshe.

They are characterized by narcissism and overweening arrogance. They don’t need no stinkin’ medical or midwifery training to appoint themselves as experts on childbirth. They know what’s best for you in every situation, even though they don’t know you at all. What’s best for you is to copy them, to worship them at their seminars and workshops, and to buy their goods and services.

They demand rigid conformity to arbitrary rules:

You must not have a C-section or you must be devastated if you do. You must not have pain relief in labor or you must be ashamed if you do. High risk pregnancy? Your fault. Breastfeeding painful? Your fault. Baby died at homebirth? Bad stuff happens.

It’s is always your fault, except when it happens to them. When Queen Bees fail to meet their own arbitrary rules it’s the hospital’s fault: They had to get the epidural because the nurse mentioned it, or their heplock was too painful. Their C-sections were foisted on them by their doctors, even the C-sections they asked for. Their own complications never would have happened if they had had an unhindered labor.

Exhibitionism is key. You must demonstrate your conformity by filming your baby’s birth and posting it on YouTube for the world to evaluate. You must post your birth story in contraction by contraction detail so the Queen Bees of the homebirth world can parse it for ideological correctness. The more risky your exhibitionism is, the better. Breech baby? Twins? VBA4C? Awesome! The greater the risk of death, the more evidence that you are loyal to the Queen Bees’ arbitrary rules, and the higher your status in the group.

What if you refuse to conform? What if you don’t feel bad that you deviated from the Queen Bee’s rules? What if, horror of horrors, you don’t constantly feed the Queen Bee’s insatiable need for praise and worship. In those cases, Queen Bees have ways of dealing with you.

The first step is emotional manipulation through shaming. You are weak. You are selfish. You are a BAD MOTHER!

So long as you recognize the error of your ways, come slinking back promising to do better next time, and praising the Queen Bee for achieving what you could not achieve, you are allowed to remain in the group.

And if you don’t? You must be purged from the group and shunned. No one is to speak with you or acknowledge you. Whatever you write is greeted with the metaphorical equivalent of the Queen Bee putting her fingers in her ears and chanting “la, la, la, la, la.”

Why? Because, according to the Queen Bee, you are mean to her, bullying her, a troll and, horror of horrors, not supportive. That’s because the Queen Bee lives in a Manichean world where you are either with her or against her. There is no middle ground. She claims that she is protecting her group from unsupportive comments, but, really, she is protecting her fragile ego from anyone who doesn’t acknowledge her as the Queen.

This middle school behavior has important implications for a woman considering homebirth.

She needs to ask herself whether she is choosing homebirth because it is right for her and her baby or because it cements membership in the Queen Bee’s circle. That goes double for those planning a high risk homebirths where the possibility of her baby’s deaths is much higher.

She need to ask herself whether the “encouragement” she is getting for her planned homebirth is truly encouragement or just a way to bolster the Queen Bee’s fragile ego by having her own choices mirrored back to her.

When she is shunned for questioning the arbitrary rules of the Queen Bee, she needs to ask herself why the Queen Bee’s approval is so important to her.

When she is shamed for daring to deviate from the Queen Bee’s prescriptions for birth, she should recognize that the Queen Bee and her sycophants are not her friends. Friends help you when you are down. They don’t crush you.

When she is purged from the group for not being sufficiently worshipful of the Queen Bee, she should thank her lucky stars for being forced out of a toxic situation.

And in the worse case scenario, when her baby dies because she attempted a homebirth, she should never look to the Queen Bee for accountability. Indeed, she should prepare herself to be vilified by her former community; her empty arms and broken hear will be a source of unbearable cognitive dissonance to the Queen Bee and her sycophants.

The world of homebirth isn’t about babies and it isn’t about birth. It’s about Queen Bees enforcing their will through ideological conformity, emotional manipulation and shunning of those who deviate … just like middle school.

  • Thanks for giving us your good content. There are some good perspectives about learning that really give me ideal terms about learning, especially in the high school days. Well, I could only say that even in this kind of situation, we still need to develop our good learning in education so that we could have good degree.

  • sdsures

    I’m having a flashback to high school. Thanks!…I think. 😛

  • Anonymous Mouse

    Hah, you forgot the best part of middle school behavior. You know the part where you take screenshots of mothers sharing their stories in what they think is a safe community of sharing and caring and then proceed to mock them unmercifully in your own clique.

    • fiftyfifty1

      No, actually where NCB advocates spread their toxic misinformation on the internet, a public forum, and then she goes on to refute their misinformation, sometimes in a mocking manner, but never behind their backs.

    • Life Tip

      Middle schoolers do need to be constantly reminded that everything they post on the internet is public.

  • samasia

    Agree, though I don’t think painful breastfeeding is described as the mother’s fault. It is described as something that can be dealt with, which is great help for many women.

    • Emkay

      If it’s not the mothers fault it’s the evil doctors or nurses fault for knowing formula exists and not supporting mum to starve her child to death.

      Or it’s only painful cos mum didn’t “bond” with baby properly because she didn’t wear it 24/7 or took Panadol once

  • Deena Chamlee

    In fact the further I am from the drama and trauma of the evil doings of others, the more laughable it becomes. Actually while locked up myself and others were laughing at the entire scenario come to think of it. What I possess is pathologically envied by the narcissists. Dr. Sane come on really, humorous.. NO contact is the only way to keep such drama and trauma out of my world. So being purged from a narcissistic society is actually a blessing as Amy says.

  • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

    Unrelated to anything: I just had a cardinal standing by the patio door, tapping on the window to let me know that the birdfeeder was empty. She was like, “Uh….little help here?”

    The finch did that last week. We brought the feeders in before a rainstorm, and right after the rain stopped, the finch was hanging on the screen of the patio door trying to get into the house.

    These birds are too damn smart.

    • Deena Chamlee

      I think they are responding to seeing their image in the glass door. So actually it is on topic. I know it is all very tragic but it is reality.

      • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

        No, she didn’t do that until the feeder was empty.

        Same for the finch. They don’t hang on the door when the feeder is available, only when it’s gone.

        • Jacob Wrestled (Danielle G.)

          I’ve had birds do this too. It is not the reflection. They know the seed is usually there, and they know there is a Thing in the house that puts it out there.

          • KarenJJ

            We used to get rainbow lorrikeets tap on our kitchen window when they wanted food when we lived in Sydney.

          • Mishimoo

            They’re so adorable and cheeky.

          • sdsures

            They’ve conditioned YOU!

        • Deena Chamlee

          Crazy smart with tiny brains as we say down south…bless their heart.

    • Mishimoo

      I have baby Australian Magpies that sit outside the front door and call until I bring them some food and freshen their water. They seem to have problems flying, otherwise they’d be raiding the dogfood bowls in the backyard by themselves like the other ones.

  • Frederika
  • Deena Chamlee

    One more thought. The Queen Bees in all three midwifery organizations are not just narcissist but malignant narcissist. Thus, the inability to address unethical and anti social behavior observed in homebirth. Gross ethical violations have occurred against society at large by MANA and NACPM yet we are suppose to support these fraudulent midwives until they get a three year degree. A three year degree solves nothing because they will continue to be unable to admit their patients to in hospital status or obtain back-up. All Queens have something on each other and that something is the same pathology of malignant narcissism.

    Ethical committees for ACNM states :

    Ethics Committee: Promotes and facilitates the efforts of the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) to be responsive to the ethical dimensions of the midwifery profession.

    Really the dimensions. Wake up people it is always about the profession and not about the society at large. Malignant self love is also noted in the manner of which the “fellowship” is selected. They are self selected by the individual and by another fellow. Sad but oh so true. So I would not be looking for any drastic change in midwifery’s future unless people intervene for the sake of the profession and the patients we serve.

  • Deena Chamlee

    I would add it just isn’t homebirth. Sadly it is the profession of midwifery. Being a purged, devalued, organizationally stalked, blacklisted survivor for claiming my autonomy/individuality in regards to ethical and integrity beliefs has a resultant effect of PTSD. So not only are you emotionally, psychologically harmed you are financially harmed as well. When one takes a stand against the tribe due to ethical beliefs and individual integrity, one is called names such as “You would never guess who is related to Honest Abe”. In fact the narcissistic injury that occurs within the Queen Bees is so devastating horrific violence follows in order to stabilize the fragile egos of the Queens.
    False arrest by sheriffs, driven to a hospital where one was introduced to midwifery at age 18 against her will results in significant bruising to one’s forearm from resisting the false arrest. Once at the hospital further intimidation occurs by a nurse asking “do you think if you state midwives are killing babies that you will be killed.” To security officers being called to enforce containment and states “we want you to live a long and fruitful life” over and over. Then comes the anti anxiety shot against one’s will.
    After this one is involuntarily admitted (because one has access to a 9 mm) of course this is a lie. Once admitted one is placed on the ward for the severely insane. These individuals circle and begin to laugh because even they know one does not fit and is different than themselves. After this a nurse asks if one knows why they are there, of course the reply is “yes my colleagues placed me here.” The nurse reply “at least you are taking it well.” Being locked up on the worst wards was educational and gave ME much more insight into the Queen Bee’s pathology.
    Then the finale is being assigned to a Dr. Sane, who diagnosed ME as schizophrenic and PTSD. I was locked up and messed with for 11 days then finally I am free.
    While I remain unemployed after an abusive termination in January with the midwife, Queen Bee, stating I needed to be managed and mimicked for a tick that now occurs when exposed to narcissistic abuse I realize I cannot and will not reenter a profession that is this sick.

    • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

      It’s all Candy Mountain

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CsGYh8AacgY&hd=1

      “Shun! Shun the unbeliever!”

      • Deena Chamlee

        yes it wasn’t my kidney however it was an attempt at my soul. But fortunately for me I have a belief in a higher power and that higher power is not Queen Bees.

        • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

          Oh, the Charlie the Unicorn allegory runs very deep, Deena.

          The midwives promised you Candy Mountain, sent you into the Candy Mountain Cave, and stole your kidney.

          • Deena Chamlee

            Lol it is all smoke screens and mirrors. It a theatrical display to the world but it sure ain’t reality.

    • Medwife

      Deena… This is pretty extreme. Are you under a doctors care now? To be frank, you sound like you should be.

      • Deena Chamlee

        It was surreal and horrifying. Yes I am under the care of a MD and PhD therapist. I shared in order to get the blinders off and hopefully give insight regarding American Midwifery.

    • FormerPhysicist

      OMG. I have nothing else I can say.

  • Amy M

    I agree with this post.

    The one thing I would say, which isn’t really in opposition, is that the clique-forming, hierarchy behavior that people engage in, doesn’t really end in middle school. It DOES usually get toned down, though, and WAY easier to tolerate: Most grown-ups are secure enough in themselves, that the emotional manipulation doesn’t work, and they also know enough to seek out their own “tribe.” Hanging out with like-minded people doesn’t necessarily mean you will be a big jerk to people who make different choices, at least not if you are a mature person. But if you know you are a geek (for lack of a better way to put it), you’ll go find the other geeks and stop trying to hang out with the jocks, because you know you won’t fit in and have fun with them. And by adulthood, the jocks will be too busy playing sports with the other jocks to bother teasing the geeks.

    Then you get these people, and their partners in crime, the extreme AP crowd. I think they give off a strong middle school vibe because they are insecure like 12yr olds. I think pretty much all 12yr olds are insecure, it goes with the territory of growing up and learning who you are. Maybe the homebirth/extreme AP people got stuck in that phase for some reason, and never learned the lessons that most people learn, in order to be comfortable in their own skins? It doesn’t excuse the vile behavior of course, but it might be where they are coming from.

    • Smoochagator

      For some reason, some people really feel the need to be counter-cultural. Maybe because they have learned that they’re not really going to fit into mainstream circles anyway, so they just decide to be weird and let their freak flag fly. Which is fine if you are fifteen years old and listening to music with offensive lyrics and wearing skimpy clothes and flunking out of algebra to piss off your ultra-conservative parents. But as an adult, in this ultra-AP crowd, it comes to feeling superior to the rest of the “sheeple” by choosing to risk your and your baby’s life by having an unassisted homebirth because you’re “so in tune” with your body, and risking OTHER children’s lives by refusing vaccination because you don’t trust “the medical establishment.” I KNOW that many parents make these sorts of choices because they think it’s best for them and their children. But I think they also get a charge out of being different, making people mad, being avant-garde and progressive and a special unique snowflake.

      • Amy M

        Very true. And also a middle-school type attitude, part of self-discovery. I think most kids try on a few identities, before settling into who they really are, and certainly many go the rebel route. As an adult though, it comes across as kind of sad, to still be trying to be a rebel. (in the social sense, I don’t mean in the sense of actual oppressed people rebelling to gain civil rights, like black people in the 50s-60s.)