Actually, I do get to have an opinion on how other women give birth

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Doula Carrie Murphy is shocked, shocked to discover that some women judge other women’s births. In her Jezebel piece You Don’t Get to Have an Opinion on How Anyone Gives Birth. Ever. Murphy declaims:

Giving birth to a human being—however it happens—is a visceral, memorable and profound life experience. Why do so many people feel entitled to pass judgment on the way that anyone else makes it through?

You know what I mean. You’ve probably done it, even. Whether or not you’ve had a kid, you’ve probably texted about that friend from high school’s TMI Facebook birth photos where you can basically see her vagina. You might’ve told the pregnant lady in the grocery store just how bad the pain is, so don’t even think about trying to be a martyr because you should definitely get the meds, honey. This social tendency has practically been ingrained as tradition: passing on advice, mostly unsolicited, is part of almost every conversation about birth.

Which is why it feels so necessary to issue this reminder: You don’t actually get to have an opinion about where or how or why anyone else gives birth. Ever.

Ummm, Ms. Murphy. I have news for you. Judging other women’s birth is NOT socially ingrained tradition. It is relatively new and it can be traced to the advent of the natural childbirth movement.

What do I mean? Here’s an example of how some women judge other women’s births:

The culture around birth in the United States is a damaging culture of fear, guilt, and shame. It is a culture that teaches us that once we become pregnant, we are no longer capable of making our own decisions, no longer the stewards of our own bodies. It tells us that our bodies are broken and can’t bring a baby into this world without the help of synthetic hormones or a scalpel, while simultaneously reinforcing the idea that childbirth should be a perfect and beautiful experience where we act like amazing warrior goddesses who don’t yell or poop or beg for drugs.

Who said that? Why none other than Carrie Murphy peddling the typical judgmental crap of the natural childbirth movement within the very same piece. You know, the movement that tells you that anyone who isn’t a natural childbirth advocate is promoting a “a damaging culture of fear, guilt, and shame.” The movement that tells you that anyone who suggests that preventive care in pregnancy might improve outcomes is claiming that “our bodies are broken” or that Pitocin is only given to women because obstetricians believe women can’t give birth “without the help of synthetic hormones” or that we perform C-sections because we can’t imagine birth without a scalpel.

Murphy is mad:

Making fun of, or decrying, or trash talking, what another woman wants for when she becomes a mother is a shitty way to be a human being. The backlash against birth plans and birth preferences—the attitude that these things are for silly, high-maintenance women who are setting themselves up to fail—is just another way our society tells women that they do not deserve autonomy over their own bodies. We know what’s best for you. Adjust your expectations.

And who might be responsible for this supposed backlash against birth plans? Why none other than yours truly!

The article that Murphy links in the above quote notes:

I recently read a post (and a slew of supporting comments) on a popular parenting blog about birth plans and why you shouldn’t have one. Yes, you read that right — why you shouldn’t.

I suspect she is referring to one of my most commented posts ever, Birth plans: worse than useless, with 1049 comments and rising, where I wrote:

Birth plans engender hostility from the staff, are usually filled with outdated and irrelevant preferences, and create unrealistic expectations among expectant mothers. But the worst thing about birth plans is they don’t work. They don’t accomplish their purported purpose, make no difference in birth outcomes, and, ironically, predispose women to be less happy with the birth than women who didn’t have birth plans.

That was taken by the original writer, and apparently by Murphy as well, as criticism of women who write birth plans.

According to Murphy:

The bizarre, bitter tendency to criticize individual women for their individual choices is part of a greater cultural misogyny, where we’re taught to direct our rage at each other, rather than at the limiting messages and systems that control our lives as women.

That is self serving hypocrisy. Murphy can stuff her piece with minor criticisms of the excess of the natural childbirth movement, but that doesn’t change the fact that what Murphy is really upset about is criticism of the philosophy of natural childbirth and the people who profit from it like Murphy herself. Natural childbirth advocates had no problem with criticizing women and their births until people started criticizing THEM. Indeed, Murphy is spewing demeaning, critical nonsense in the very piece where she is decrying criticism.

Instead of focusing our energy on the epic shittiness of the maternity care system in the United States, our 32.8% cesarean rate, the abominable maternal mortality rate, or the disturbing fact that black babies are twice as likely to die as white babies, we snark on each other’s “naive” birth plans or hand-wring over elective inductions.

But our maternity care system is not shitty. That’s just another self-serving lie made up by the natural childbirth industry. The US has one of the lowest perinatal mortality rates in the world. The mortality of black infants is not a reflection of our obstetric system; it is a reflection of our cultural history of racism, classism and limited access to high quality health care. Our maternal mortality rate is the result of women who aren’t getting high tech obstetric care and has NOTHING to do with our C-section rate.

What is really going on here? The tide is turning and women are beginning to take a long, hard look at the claims of the natural childbirth movement, both their claims of scientific superiority and the claims of superiority of natural childbirth advocates, and they are criticizing natural childbirth advocacy.

Natural childbirth advocates are hypersensitive of anything that even approaches criticism of them. My empirical claims about the demonstrated ineffectiveness of birth plans are perceived as criticism of women who make birth plans. Even worse, anyone who isn’t actively praising natural childbirth is portrayed as criticizing it, when nothing of the kind is happening. But that hypersensitivity is not surprising; indeed it is only to be expected in a movement that encourages women to believe that the type of birth they choose is a sign of the type of mother they are. Simply put, the absence of praise is viewed as criticism.

While natural childbirth advocates may be hypersensitive about criticism, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t being criticized in other ways. We are just beginning to acknowledge the pernicious effects of the viciousness of natural childbirth advocates in rating women and their births. They are wrong on the science; they are self-interestedly shilling for their own products and services; and their philosophy is fundamentally anti-feminist, judging women on the function of their bodies, not on the achievements of their minds or the contents of their characters.

Actually, I do get to have an opinion on how other women give birth … and my opinion is that there is no best way to give birth and that how other women give birth tells us nothing about what kind of mothers or people they are.

Not only that, but I feel perfectly comfortable judging other women poorly for thinking that their unmedicated vaginal birth makes them better than other mothers. How sad that they only recognized the harm of judging when they started being judged for their judgmentalism.

  • Kate

    You are a medical professional? Obviously no care for the greater good of society and future generations. So why are you dedicating your life to preserving humanity? OxyMORON.

    • Who?

      Well what a cogent, powerful, meaningful response, if a little late.

      You’ve sure put everyone here in their place, well done you! I’m certainly going to start supporting whatever Carrie Murphy, you and all the other fellow travellers do, now I see how thoughtful, intelligent and thorough you are and the error of my previous thinking has been pointed out.

      Not.

  • !!! I Sarah Post This Testimony Coz Am Pregnant Thanks To Dr.Ukaka

    it is almost five months now since i order a pregnancy spell cast on me on Facebook (Dr.Ukaka) i saw in a website on how he help a couple to get pregnant and i contacted him which i started seeing changes on my body since the first week of last 4 months and i am 18 weeks gone and i am carrying my own baby in my womb i am so happy that i finally got pregnant after all i have been through. contact him for any problems you are having, he will surely provide you a solution, All thanks be to him Email him on freedomlovespell@hotmail.com

  • Bugsy

    http://edition.cnn.com/2014/11/11/world/asia/india-sterilization-deaths/index.html?hpt=hp_t3

    Just saw this article on CNN. I’m no expert, but *this*, not the current U.S. c-section rate, is what I would describe as shitty medical care.

    • Young CC Prof

      Yikes! Who decided it was a good idea to do female sterilization surgeries (inside the abdomen) in a temporary drive-by clinic? Did they not comprehend that women would die as a result?

      • sdsures

        *clenches involuntarily*

  • SkepticalFormerProfMom

    Could sub-in “natural health advocates” for “natural childbirth advocates” and this would sum up my entire, infuriating experience with the “community” of moms in my otherwise very liberal and over-educated Ivy enclave. Love your blog and looking forward to the book. Thank you for everything you do.

    • Sue

      Very much so. The “fructose is poison”, ”sat fat is good”, all-carb, no-carb over-zealous brigade of pseudo-scientists is fascinating to engage with – just as religious and hero-worshipping as rabid NCBers and anti-vaxers. And thriving in communities where knowledge and training are viewed with disdain, and populist book-writers rule.

      • araikwao

        That is so true – I note the collective wisdom of teh Interwebz has concluded beyond all doubt that coconut oil is healthy and a cure of all ills. I even got sent a change.org petition from an all-knowing blogger (hawking supplements and “wellness” products) trying to force the Heart Foundation to alter its recommendations for healthy eating to include sat fats. Still, the weight of evidence is behind the conventional advice (mostly)..

        • Who?

          Coconut water, coconut sugar (I kid you not). Surely your jam is even healthier if it is made with coconut sugar instead of er, sugar.

          Seriously, this introducing magic foods and getting rid of regular food has to be an eating disorder, surely.

          I told a coconut mad foodie friend of mine the other day that I’m waiting to get seriously ill before I get into the fad du jour: after all, I’ll need something to improve on that evil day.

          They also never get snark 😉

          • fiftyfifty1

            “Seriously, this introducing magic foods and getting rid of regular food has to be an eating disorder, surely.”

            Indeed it is when taken to extreme. Some people call it “orthorexia”. You also see it a lot in anorexia, and in the family members of those with anorexia. Lots of magical thinking combined with moralistic and dirty/clean thinking.

            Magic/safe/clean/moral: breastfeeding, quinoa, kale, coconut water, green tea, flax seed, blueberries, almond milk, salmon

            Cursed/dangerous/dirty/immoral: infant formula, gluten, dairy, carbs, sugar, “processed” foods, food coloring, many more

          • Samantha06

            When I hear this kind of thing, I think of how much sugar and other “poisons” I consumed as a kid and I think, gee I sure am healthy for someone who was poisoned with all that “dirty food” as a kid!! My infant formula was condensed, evaporated milk, my mom put tons of sugar in all her homemade pies, we would make sugar and cinnamon toast and each piece of bread had at least a huge, heaping teaspoon of sugar, and Lord knows how much more! And, my mom told me that when margarine first came out, it was white and in bags. Each bag had a food-coloring “button” you would pop and mix in the food coloring to make it look yellow! In spite of all that poisoning, I don’t seem to be any worse for the wear!

          • fiftyfifty1

            “In spite of all that poisoning, I don’t seem to be any worse for the wear!”
            And that is the part that is so vexing for the food prudes. The diet your mother fed you was obviously dirty, shameful, gluttonous, cursed and immoral….and yet you seem to enjoy life and be thriving physically.

          • Samantha06

            LOL! For sure! Now I don’t know about thriving mentally, haha! Maybe I should go on one of those food prude blogs and give a testimony to how I was “poisoned” as a child, yet I seem to be a healthy, happy 50 something…it would be interesting to see the responses..

  • The Computer Ate My Nym

    It tells us that our bodies are broken and can’t bring a baby into this
    world without the help of synthetic hormones or a scalpel

    Why should being unable to bring a baby into this world without a scalpel make me think my body is broken? At the time when the critter was born, my body had already survived 35 years and at least two life threatening illnesses*, deflected a number of other nasty illnesses with the help of vaccination, and built a whole baby. I’m supposed to conclude that a body that can do that is “broken” just because it needed a little help with one step of the baby producing process? Why?

    *Well, ok, Big Pharma helped with one. But my body still responded nicely to BP’s drugs.

    • Bombshellrisa

      I like being helped. I think it’s awesome to get help. I guess I am a lazy, low achiever with nothing to prove. If all it takes to avoid brain damage or death for my baby is an IV bag of synthetic hormones or a scalpel, I would rather be helped than not,

    • Dr Kitty

      I hate this “your body is not a lemon” stuff.
      By any metric my body IS a lemon, but it’s my body and I’m ok with it the way it is. It took a lot of time and effort from a lot of people to get things working as well as they do now.

      The only people who imply that I’m actually worth less as a person if I can’t (or choose not to) give birth vaginally are NCB people.
      Certainly not my OB.

      The only people who imply that my physical inability to babywear makes me a worse mother are AP people- not my spinal team.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        The only people who imply that I’m actually worth less as a person if I
        can’t (or choose not to) give birth vaginally are NCB people.
        Certainly not my OB.

        Ironically, the OB is the one who would tell you things like gestational diabetes and c-sections are “variations of normal” with pregnancies.

        OK, not in so many words, but they will tell you that getting a c-section is perfectly normal.

        The NCB crowd, the ones who invented the variation of normal concept, are the ones who consider it broken.

    • gingergirl

      I understand the broken feeling, and it’s not about being a broken person – but it is about reconciling what can be done and what cannot be done sometimes. I also understand how I felt (personally) when I was not prepared for a surgical delivery. I was scared out of my mind and worried for my sons, and worried that they might not have a mom at the end. I signed forms. We went into theatre. It was terribly fast and I cried a lot because I was frightened for us all and worried we might not leave the OR together with everyone alive. They were the only babies I was ever going to have, and the weight of the world depended on us all. No do-overs. No nothing.

      I (personally) felt very broken after several miscarriages before we all got lucky – and when I say lucky, I mean we got the Golden Ticket. When I finally had a successful pregnancy, my body did not cooperate with labor. Afterward, my breasts did not cooperate with breastfeeding. The spirit was willing in all cases, but the flesh was weak, I suppose.

      That feeling is just there sometimes, for some people. For me, it was immense and I felt very poorly that my body had let me down so many times. I still don’t understand why. We moved on and this isn’t a pity party, but it’s still OK to have feelings about things. It’s part of being human.

      • fiftyfifty1

        ” I also understand how I felt (personally) when I was not prepared for a surgical delivery.”

        Am I understanding correctly from you post that you had twins? And that despite being pregnant with twins you were not prepared for a possible surgical birth? I am wondering why that was the case, did your doctor not prepare you for the possibility? Or am I not understanding your post right?

        • gingergirl

          My OB was wonderful and I knew the possibilities going in (50/50). He felt that I was a very good candidate for a “natural” delivery, and my induction started off with a bit of promise to it. I was woefully unprepared for the possibility from my own personal standpoint and genuinely distressed in theatre. I signed those forms and got wheeled right in while I was still trying to comprehend that there would be a surgery in a couple of minutes. It was a lot to take in in that moment. It’s not like there was a dress rehearsal. I knew that I would be delivering in theatre either way (natural or surgical). I knew (well in advance) there would be many people in the room to care for 3 people (myself and my twin sons), but hearing/reading about a thing and experiencing it is different.

          When we went into the very big and very bright room and I saw all the people that were there prepared for anything, it was overwhelming to me. There were easily 16 people standing by, including 2 NICU teams, a paediatrician, 2 surgeons, an anesthesiologist, and at least one very nice nurse who helped me vomit into an emesis container right after surgery (and held my hand pretty much the entire time). I knew all those people were going to be there (in theory), but…

          The reality is, all of those people would have been there either way. I’m not sure anyone could have prepared me for birth. How do you prepare someone for that? I didn’t experience the “natural” way, but I’m sure there would have been some surprises there too. I knew what a hemorrhoid was in theory before I was pregnant too, but experiencing one in my own bum brought an entirely new level of understanding.

          If I had a time machine, I would go back and tell myself that everything would turn out just fine and not to worry so much. I hope that explains my meaning better.

      • toni

        I guess it is natural to wonder why such and such happened to you and try to think of a reason for it, what you could have done differently. Thing is though, no one’s body is perfect, everyone’s succumbs to illness eventually, something will stop functioning or function less well at some point. I had an easy, quick complication free delivery. My body handled that particular problem very well but it hasn’t and won’t handle other things so well. It will let me down and I will need medicine or surgery to make it work better. I had an elderly neighbour who had one daughter born by c section in the 1940s and couldn’t have any more though she longed to have a big family. Her body let her down in that regard but she was in her nineties when I knew her and was fit as a fiddle, sharp as a tack etc etc (Her one daughter had six children herself and they all had children as well so she did get her big family in the end) My father’s mother OTOH had 7 children naturally without a hitch but had all kinds of nervous system problems and died of leukaemia in her 60s.

        • The Computer Ate My Nym

          My great aunt never had a successful pregnancy. Rh incompatibility, we think. OTOH, she just celebrated her 100th birthday and seriously looks 80, so I can’t say I think her body a lemon.

          • gingergirl

            Feeling my body was a lemon, and it actually being one are two different things. Feelings and reality are two different beasts sometimes.

      • Sarah

        I agree it’s ok to have those feelings, as long as you ascribe them only to yourself and nobody else. It’s fine for you to feel broken after labour didn’t go the way you had hoped, and I have no right to tell you otherwise. It’s not fine to describe interventions and sections generally as ‘telling us our bodies are broken’ because when a person says that, they’re claiming that that’s what my own assisted delivery is telling me. And that is not how I experienced it.

    • Sue

      Does every diabetic have to feel broken? “Waaa – my pancreas is designed to make insulin, but it failed. My tissues are designed to respond to insulin, but they won;t.”

      or

      every person with auto-immune disease? “”Waaaa – my immune system is supposed to recognise the difference between self and non-self – it failed – call the waaaambulance.”

      Or not.

      • Amazingly, my “self-definition” includes “midwife” and “grandmother” while it doesn’t include “type 2 diabetic” or “half-crippled with bad back and arthritic knees”, “graduate of three C/Ss and an ectopic pregnancy”, yet I could claim all these on my “life CV” [that’s an oxymoron].

        I think it’s a case of the glass being half-full rather than half-empty. The very concept that every woman should be able to have the exact number of pregnancies and live children she wants is such a recent phenomenon. For nearly all recorded history it’s been much more “che sera, sera” — possibly with a bit of sadness, but also a sense that “this is life; deal with it”.

    • !!! I Sarah Post This Testimony Coz Am Pregnant Thanks To Dr.Ukaka

      it is almost five months now since i order a pregnancy spell cast on me on Facebook (Dr.Ukaka) i saw in a website on how he help a couple to get pregnant and i contacted him which i started seeing changes on my body since the first week of last 4 months and i am 18 weeks gone and i am carrying my own baby in my womb i am so happy that i finally got pregnant after all i have been through. contact him for any problems you are having, he will surely provide you a solution, All thanks be to him Email him on freedomlovespell@hotmail.com…….

  • Ennis Demeter

    It’s like they are astonished that people are calling them on their Bs.

    • Sue

      If they were blessed with insight, Ennis, they might not be saying silly stuff in the first place.

  • Rita Rippetoe

    Actually history and anthropology shows that many cultures do judge women on pregnancy and childbirth. Birth defects are frequently blamed on violation of food or other taboos, or on accidental encounters or frightening events. For example if a woman saw a destructive fire while pregnant and subsequently delivered a baby with a port wine birth mark the birthmark would be attributed to her fright during the fire. Many food taboos are irrational and even counterproductive, such as forbidding women to eat particularly nutritious foods. Defects or infant death may also cause accusations of adultery. I seem to recall that among the Celtic peoples a woman was expected to give birth without crying out–birth was a warrior woman thing for them. And, in many cultures, infertility was seen as the woman’s problem–she was barren–and even in societies that thought the actual seed came solely from the man seldom blamed the male for “bad seeds.”

    But these taboos, superstitions, etc. back up Dr. Amy’s assertion that birth is an uniquely dangerous time for both mother and child. Dangerous and/or unpredictable situations such as hunting, war, sports, fishing, going to sea, etc. typically generate attempts to control them. In the absence of science or effective technology the human mind naturally turns to magical thinking.

    • Rather than being judgemental, I think these are attempts to explain the unexplainable.
      Just look at how parents of autistic children try [frantically at times] to explain away the condition and cope with the [unnecessary] guilt that it might have happened through some action of theirs [such as vaccinating the child]

  • The Computer Ate My Nym

    Instead of focusing our energy on the epic shittiness of the maternity
    care system in the United States, our 32.8% cesarean rate, the
    abominable maternal mortality rate, or the disturbing fact that black
    babies are twice as likely to die as white babies, we snark on each
    other’s “naive” birth plans or hand-wring over elective inductions.

    So why isn’t Murphy writing opinion pieces on how to imporve the maternal mortality rate*, decrease the mortality risk for black babies**, or even safely reduce the c-section rate? She’s not even writing about her opinion on birth plans but rather her opinion of someone’s opinion of birth plans. There’s lots of nonsense on the internet and if you think Dr. Tuteur’s post is part of it, why even bother commenting, much less writing a whole post on it yourself?

    *Universal health insurance and more equal income distribution.***

    **Universal health insurance, more equal income distribution, and less racism (conscious or not.)***
    ***I could easily write a blog post on either one and in fact have written one on racism and medical care. And so far 3 different articles on health care disparities. The problem is really more getting me to stop talking about these problems.

    • attitude devant

      Keep talking and writing Computer. Link?

      • The Computer Ate My Nym

        Trying to sort out how to link without completely outing my identity…

  • CounterClockwise

    ‘But our maternity care system is not shitty.’

    Yeah it is.

    • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

      By what measure?

      • attitude devant

        Just another parachutist….

      • CounterClockwise

        It’s shit like the whole US healthcare system is shit.

        You guys have one of the least ethical healthcare systems in the world. I would hate to live anywhere where human life and health is measured in worth by money.
        It. Sucks. Balls.

        And also ‘Dr Amy’ is for sure out to make money.

        GOOD free health care for all.. WOOOOOOOOOO

        • Same ‘ol same ‘ol

          So, you make a statement that you cannot back by fact! What a surprise??

          • CounterClockwise

            It’s an opinion.

          • MLE

            I love it when comments are typed with the eclat of a proverb and then suddenly demoted to mere opinions.

          • attitude devant

            And note it’s an opinion by someone who apparently is not American. So how does she know? On what basis has she formed this opinion?

          • MLE

            On the basis of what passes for common knowledge among these types.

          • Wishful

            So basically what your telling me is you are just passing uninformed judgements against another country when you really don’t know anything about it. Very interesting, have fun with that..or don’t its kind of a lame thing to do.

        • Dr Kitty

          Healthcare may be free at the point of access in the NHS, but it still costs someone money (in the UK, it costs taxpayers, and the government administers the funds) and you’re kidding yourself if you think financial issues never drive decision making in socialised medical systems.

          Like the saying goes:
          Fast, good, cheap: pick two.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym

            I prefer the Swiss model myself: expensive, good, and available to everyone.

        • Bombshellrisa

          How do you think Dr Amy is out to make money? She is retired. She could make a ton of money if she traded in her ethics for a CPM license and pandered to the home birth crowd, at $3500 a birth.
          Even with the so called free healthcare systems, there are some major flaws. Nobody should have to beg for an epidural, yet that is exactly what is happening with so many women getting midwifery led care in the UK. New Zealand’s midwives are much the same. Sure, the argument is that people are always able to pay and get private care, but what about those who can’t?

        • GOOD free health care for all.. WOOOOOOOOOO

          Alas, there is no free lunch. Anywhere. In every country which has a “free” healthcare system, the taxpayer pays [and pays] but often doesn’t feel it so much since the amounts are deducted at source. And none of the “free” systems can keep up with the actual costs of providing high-quality care for all and are all more or less cash-strapped [which means restricting care eventually] If tomorrow, you were offered unrestricted, free healthcare but your income tax doubled, would you agree to it?

          I don’t mind paying the Israeli Health Law tax, because it gives me a decent level of care without too much waiting. But if I were to have some really rare condition that needed state-of-the-art care, the only place to get it is the US, and at immense expense. That’s part of the US problem — the level deemed “adequate” for US citizens is way, way higher than the care available in most Western countries.

          • Sue

            As another ”outsider” (Aus) who doesn’t live within the US health care system, I would have to risk derision and say that tax-funded universal health care leads to much less disparity of outcomes. Having said that, there are many societal things that add to differences between privilege and deprivation – poverty, education etc.

            But, would I say that the maternity care system in the US is ”shitty”. Well, not in comparison with countries with really ”shitty” systems and outcomes, like Nigeria or Sierra Leone, or anywhere in Africa, or South America. So, no.

    • moto_librarian

      I need to see some metrics on this. And let me give you a couple of tips on this:
      1) Our maternal mortality rate is high, but the causes are multifactorial. As a population, we are generally heavier, older, and more prone to pre-existing complications that impact pregnancy. Lack of good universal prenatal care is certainly an issue, but again, this is not something that can be fixed solely by doctors and hospitals.
      2) We have one of the best perinatal mortality rates in the world, and this is the correct measure of obstetric care. Infant mortality is a better measure of pediatric care.
      3) The primary c-section rate in this country is around 20% (varies regionally). The “1 in 3” figure is the total rate, which includes repeat and elective c-sections.

    • Guesty

      No it’s not! — I’m the rubber, you’re the glue whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you NO BACKSIES.

  • namaste863

    I truly don’t get this NCB obsession some women have. As long as everyone goes home healthy at the end of the day, WHO CARES what it takes to make that happen? And birth plans are ridiculous. You can’t control birth any more than you can control a hurricane. All you can do is roll with the punches, and being unwilling to do so makes you come off as, in my opinion, a micromanaging, spoiled brat.

    • Cobalt

      I agree with your overall point, but I think we should care about what it takes to get everyone out safely. The medical staff shouldn’t be needlessly abrupt, for instance, and the option of the dad cutting the cord in safe circumstances is nice. The little things, in the absence of medical necessity dictating otherwise, are appreciated by a lot of women.

      It’s the clinging to the little things, making them The Most Important Things, which is downright batty. The big goal should always be a safe arrival, not who cut the cord, or how long it pulsed, or whatever.

  • Yoyo
    • Young CC Prof

      Oh, my, no one here has ever seen that article before! I am in awe of your research skills!

      The death rate at planned home birth in America is seven times the rate found in that study, according to data collected by the midwives’ own professional organization.

      • yoyo

        Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit you know…

        nah I just posted it to see what people thought.

        • Young CC Prof

          If there are particular points about that study that you’d like to discuss, go ahead.

          But yeah, that study did a poor job of controlling for risk factors (that is, the home birth group was much lower-risk than either of the others) and US outcomes are much much worse.

          • yoyo

            Nope no points, just like to see what people think.

          • Dr Kitty

            I think it is a bad piece of research which doesn’t accurately reflect real life outcomes.
            Does that help?

          • Sue

            When posting an article on someone’s blog “just to see what people think”, it would be conventional (and polite) to post with some text.

            An example might be “Hi, folks. Has this study been discussed here before? What do people think of it?”

            That could lead to people coming back with “Yep – we’ve seen that one before. The test and control-groups were not well-matched for risk factors, so it;s difficult to justify their conclusions”.

            Then we could ask “What did you think of that study?”

        • !!! I Sarah Post This Testimony Coz Am Pregnant Thanks To Dr.Ukaka

          it is almost five months now since i order a pregnancy spell cast on me on Facebook (Dr.Ukaka) i saw in a website on how he help a couple to get pregnant and i contacted him which i started seeing changes on my body since the first week of last 4 months and i am 18 weeks gone and i am carrying my own baby in my womb i am so happy that i finally got pregnant after all i have been through. contact him for any problems you are having, he will surely provide you a solution, All thanks be to him Email him on freedomlovespell@hotmail.com

    • The Computer Ate My Nym

      Wrong comparison group used. Classic error in medical research, but an error nonetheless.

  • Bugsy

    This article was a great reminder that I’m due for my estrogen tablet and progesterone suppository for my IVF cycle – thanks for reminding me to take my hormones!

    • fiftyfifty1

      You unnatural woman! But I’m totally not judging, because who can really know the sad backstory which has led you to make your unnatural choice.

      • Bugsy

        Hahaha!! 🙂

  • Squillo

    The bizarre, bitter tendency to criticize individual women for their individual choices is part of a greater cultural misogyny, where we’re taught to direct our rage at each other, rather than at the limiting messages and systems that control our lives as women.

    Yes, but the flip-side to that is that there is a subset of women who seem to want constant affirmation that, while your choice may be okay (and I’m totally not judging you, sister), theirs is better. Why else would there be so many blog posts about those individual choices?

  • attitude devant

    Speaking of birth plans…. A particularly special snowflake showed up in our office today with a two-page single-spaced plan. But the icing on her cake? She had it NOTARIZED.

    • staceyjw

      Transfer her to another practice.

      • attitude devant

        You know my methods, Watson. We are indeed terminating her care with us.

        • moto_librarian

          Sweet baby jeebus…

        • Sara M.

          Can I get “epidural after the first scream” and “for goodness sakes let me sleep at night!” notarized??

        • CounterClockwise

          I can’t get over this you terminated her care because she had a birth plan? You people are so judgmental. Maybe that’s just what she needed to do to feel comfortable with the idea of labor!

          • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

            I can’t get over this you terminated her care because she had a birth plan?

            No, she was not terminatied “just because she had a birth plan.” She was terminated because she brought a birth plan that was going to make it impossible for the healthcare providers to actually provide the quality care that would be deemed necessary.

            It’s like if you go to a thai restaurant and order a hamburger. They will tell you, you can’t get that here, and you will need to go a restaurant (thai or otherwise) that has hamburgers on the menu.

            And then CounterClockwise whines, “They sent her away just because she ordered some food?”

          • fiftyfifty1

            NO!!! I insist that you make me the hamburger, and I insist that it be ultra RARE ’cause that’s how I like ’em. (And by the way if I get food poisoning from the hamburger, I won’t hesitate to sue your ass, because you should have known that it is against food safety rules for restaurants to serve rare hamburgers, and you should have talked my out of a hamburger, if I had REALLY understood I would have been glad to order Thai food).

          • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

            When my son goes to a place with a Japanese hibachi, he orders scrambled eggs. And they make it for him.

            They actually get a kick out of it.

          • CounterClockwise

            Oh Bofa Bofa Bofa,

            You are such a ranter.
            And you love to use similies to make your points. It is truly a shame such a creative mind wastes it’s time on being part of Dr Amy’s army of I’m right you’re wrongers.
            Such a sad sad waste.

          • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

            As my students know, I love to use analogies (not similes) to help convey a point.

            For example, given the analogy, do you now understand why your statement was nonsense?

          • CounterClockwise

            Good Lord they let you teach people??

            Well the future is as good as screwed.

          • fiftyfifty1

            Oh CounterClockwise, your arguments are so compelling!

          • CounterClockwise

            Glad to have you on my side fiftyfifty

            Together we can spread the joyous word of the benefits of natural childbirth.

            Together we can have all interventions banned.

            Banned I tell you!!!

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Don’t worry, CC, Dr Amy doesn’t ban people for being idiots. She lets them parade their stupidity around for everyone to see.

          • CounterClockwise

            Oh thank goodness. Although she does delete the posts she doesn’t want you to see… You know that bit right?

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Yeah, those spam posts about how Dr Wonderful helped someone get pregnant get deleted quite a bit.

            But other than that, no, she doesn’t delete posts. Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with Disqus for sure, but it’s not because things are deleted.

            It’s actually because we can see when posts are deleted (as with spam) that we know better.

          • Jocelyn

            I like when people get upset and think their comments are being deleted because they can’t figure out how to use the comment system. I had a person like that on my home birth blog post, accusing me of deleting his posts. Nope, it’s just because you didn’t hit “load more comments” enough times.

          • Bombshellrisa

            No, unlike a lot of pregnancy and birth blogs (feminist breeder, VBAC facts, ect) even comments calling Dr Amy every name in the book are left up. Insults and less than informed critics come with the territory when you get into healthcare, they don’t change the facts.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            Such as?

            Oh, I right. You don’t have any examples. You just made that up.

            Why would I want to delete anyone’s posts? They are perfect examples of the arrogant ignorance of many NCB advocates.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            It’s not like the comments are moderated, so any that would be deleted would show up at least for a while. And given that you don’t spend near as much time reading comments here as some of the regulars (damn, I gotta get a life), it’s not like you can delete things faster than we can see them.

            If you were deleting comments, we’d know, make no mistake. And those detractors could be doing things like taking screen shots to prove it.

          • Sue

            Ridiculous posts generally serve as ”own goals” – leaving them on display serves two purposes – it also adds amusement.

          • Dr Kitty

            Really?
            Lots of us in non-US time zones, so there is usually someone reading the comments 24/7.
            Latest comment are in the bar to the right.
            No way Dr Tuteur is moderating comments at 4am Sunday morning her time, which is 9am Sunday my time and prime blog reading time while I drink coffee and eat breakfast.

            I have seen spam deleted.
            I have seen NCB people go back and edit or delete their own posts (recently one replaced all of her comments with “no comment”) or ask Dr Tuteur to delete their posts.
            I have yet to see Dr Tuteur delete a comment she disagrees with, even the ones that personally attack her or use profanity.

          • realitycheque

            Yep! I’ve been coming here for around 3 years now and I am yet to see even the most abusive of comments get deleted… and there have been some doozies!

            Meanwhile, I’ve seen countless people banned from NCB spaces for expressing dissent in even the politest of ways.

          • Karen in SC

            You know it’s always the problem that the comments are sorted properly in their drop down menu, so they think it’s been deleted, when actually Disqus posted it somewhere else.

          • Amazed

            Great. Another special snowflake who can’t grasp how Disqus works but instead her training at NCB sites screams at her, “I can’t see my comment! It must be deleted, just like they do at NCB sites!”

          • Who?

            The future is screwed already, as it always is.

            Don’t give Bofa all the credit,

          • Cobalt

            Actual truth about labor, and actual truth about what can be done to effectively improve labor and the experience of being in labor, goes a lot farther to effectively reduce the fear of it than writing an ineffective wish list. Printed words on paper, especially when they come from a place of ignorance, will not relieve the pain or increase the safety of the mother or baby.

            The earlier the mother knows and understands this, the more likely she is to get an effective plan, one that won’t leave her betrayed by a bunch of worthless bullshit when labor actually happens.

          • attitude devant

            Well, CC, no one respects birth like an obstetrician. You walk in my shoes a few years and you’ll know that the most benign situation can go to holy hell in ten seconds flat. Birth is a bitch goddess, and you have to be ready to do battle with her. So when someone who has been working with us for months insists on turning a collaborative relationship into an adversarial one, yep, we’re going to show her the door.

          • PrimaryCareDoc

            No, she terminated care because there is no way in hell this patient will ever be satisfied. Risk management 101.

        • MJ

          I once had a friend who was having her baby in the same wonderful hospital as I had mine a year earlier. Her birth plan included a statement that she would charge the hospital with kidnapping if the staff removed her baby from her sight for any reason whatsoever.
          Don’t know what her medical providers ended up doing but I terminated that friendship.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      Now the baby will definitely have to follow the plan, seeing as it’s notarized!

      • Amy M

        Haha! I didn’t write it down, but I told my babies, while they were in utero, that they needed to wait until the season premiere of Lost, but after that, they could come any time. About 6hrs after it premiered, Baby A’s sac broke. Maybe her baby will be so accommodating….

        • Allie

          I told mine she better bloody be born before Dec 25 after my friend’s daughter got her a “Baby’s Fist Christmas 2012” stocking. Unfortunately, she took me literally. Came out on the 22nd, followed by a massive PPH : /

      • Cobalt

        I had a nurse ask me for my birth plan with my last baby. I told her I didn’t have one because it’s not like I could get the baby to follow it anyway. I also presigned all the anesthesia and surgical paperwork, just in case.

      • Sue

        So a fetus could be disobedient to its parents before it’s even BORN? Wow!

    • An Actual Attorney

      What did she think the notarization would do, exactly?

    • Squillo

      Nothing says trusting relationship like a notarized birth plan.

    • Young CC Prof

      I’m going to write a weather report, and get that notarized. Because rain this weekend just does NOT fit my style.

      • Trixie

        Where I used to work we had an admin assistant who was a notary, and we could sometimes persuade her to notarize silly things for fun.

      • sdsures

        Are you going to sue God?

    • Allie

      When I was a solicitor people were always wanting to notarize random things for no apparent reason. I don’t know what they think it will accomplish. It essentially has no legal effect other than to verify your identification. And no, it does nothing to enhance your intellectual property rights, any more than mailing things to yourself does. Being a barrister is far more restful.

      • mythsayer

        I JUST said this above!! All notaries do are certify identity of signees.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          I think it’s funny.

          She got it notarized, just to make sure everyone knew it was HER birth plan, and not one made up by someone else. Or, at least to verify that she signed it.

          Or maybe it’s because she doesn’t actually know what notarizing something means?

          Nah, let’s stick with the story that she wanted to make sure that it was her plan and not someone else’s. It’s funnier that way.

      • mythsayer

        I’m just a plain lawyer so I guess a barrister without the cool robes (do you guys still do that?). I want to take the solicitor exam.

      • Dr Kitty

        My dad is a notary. It was great that he could make copies of my birth certificate and marriage certificate for me!

    • CanDoc

      I wrote a satirical birth plan when I was pregnant with our first, complete with “I only want an epidural if I say our safe words, ‘pink bunny’, 6 times”, and “breastfeed right away, even if I’m unconscious”. And two of our labour and delivery nurses totally fell for it. You could tell they were trying to carefully broach the subject of some of my more bizarre requests (“Nitrous oxide is basically natural, made of nitrogen and oxygen, therefore I’d like to breathe it continuously during labour to help with the rushes”, and “Please call them rushes or surges, not ‘contractions’, even when talking amongst yourselves, if it has to do with my labour.”) I couldn’t decide if I felt better or slightly less reassured by their sweet, genuine response.

      • Pappy

        Thank you for the best laugh I had all day! I literally can’t stop giggling every time I read “pink bunny.”
        Poor nurses. I wonder what other madness they’d been handed prior to your satire that made it seem plausible.

        • fiftyfifty1

          We need Mama Tao back!

      • DaisyGrrl

        You joke about the epidural safe words, but my sister’s midwives suggested that for her and as far as I know she and her husband had one (my reaction was to ask what was wrong with the phrase “I want an epidural”). Of course, the midwives still put off her request for a few hours, but yeesh!

        • atmtx

          I have actually suggested this to people. Hear me out. Women get all dewy-eyed and have no clue what they’re in for. They tell their partner to not give in, that it’s just the irrational labor-lady talking, so don’t let her get the epidural because she really doesn’t want it. If their partner follows what they think the woman wants (based on the likely many discussions they had before labor started), then the woman will feel betrayed by the person she loves. At least with the safe word, bsdm-style, it gives you a definite out.

          Me, on the other hand, no safe word. I went in telling my husband that if I change my mind, my mind is changed. I didn’t have an epidural the first time, but with the second, I did. All I had to say was, “f* this, give me an epidural,” and dude was ON IT. Of course, I prepped him to listen to and believe me.

      • sdsures

        I think there are a few of those types of plans online. http://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/jamie-and-jeffs-birth-plan

        • Siri

          That is hilarious! Thank you for the link.

    • Lynn

      We just had a 4 page single spaced plan. Not notarized. My favorite it when they want us to listen to baby with a fetoscope. Umm, yeah, get right on that.

      • attitude devant

        We actually have a few fetoscopes in our office. But in labor? Ummmm no.

    • Are you nuts

      I truly can’t even imagine what could fill up that much space. My birth plan, was, “I plan to ask for an epidural early. I plan on breastfeeding. I don’t want visitors in my room. My husband is squeamish so warn him before anything gross happens.”

      • Anj Fabian

        I didn’t know that I’d be so grouchy about people barging into my room – not in L&D but the Maternity ward. I didn’t have a plan for that, but the nurses made a sign for my door to ward off non essential staff.

        I’ve never seen that on anyone’s birth plan.

        • Cobalt

          But it’s an excellent idea.

    • mythsayer

      AHAHAHAHAHA ad infinitum!!! I guess it’s so you’d know it was definitely her who signed that paper. That’s someone who probably doesn’t even understand a notary’s role…. It doesn’t turn it into a binding document but I bet she thought it did!!!

    • Therese

      Do you know why she chose your office in the first place? Why aren’t people like that seeing midwives or at least crunchy doctors (if I remember correctly you are in Oregon so I assume there is no shortage of such providers).

      • CrownedMedwife

        In all fairness, don’t presume all Midwives are open or welcoming to the nonsense or antagonism of a notarized birth plan. I’m all for discussing expectations for a pregnancy or birth, but mostly because it provides an opportunity to discuss realistic expectations, dispel myths or address concerns.

        A birth plan listing desires options or environment including support people, pain management, dim lighting, low noise volume, background music, access to a ball, shower or tub, skin to skin or baby directly to warmer. Those are all realistic discussions of a birth plan.

        A birth plan that starts out with refusing medically indicated IOL or CS goes downhill pretty fast. It’s an assumption of antagonism before the birth even occurs. Add in a desire for unrestricted duration of PROM, unlimited 2nd stage, avoid GBS or GDM screening or nondescript limits to postdates pregnancy. That’s not a birth plan, that’s a customer service demand for me to ignore warning signs and indicated medical management, as well as established guidelines for care, all the while presuming such care will still have a good outcome.

        I’m a little envious AD received the notarized plan with enough time to terminate care. Instead my hands are tied with a postdates high-risk multip quoting NCB phrases along the lines of ‘trust birth’, ‘babies don’t have an expiration date’, ‘my body was made for this’ and everything else ICAN, MDC and BC fill a woman’s heads with. The most I can do is try to prevent an adversarial relationship from spiraling out of control. It’s a little like being held hostage when all I can do is provide statistics on uterine rupture rates, failed TOL rates and IUFD rates specific to her circumstances.

        Sorry for the rant, but I’m feeling a bit envious of AD for getting the heads up in time to terminate care and a bit stressed for sitting on a hidden birth agenda. Midwife or not, birth plans directing obstetric management are a misconception of the process. No provider has control over preexisting medical conditions, pregnancy complications, placental sufficiency, fetal size or pelvimetry to name a few. You want to choose a playlist or pushing position, go for it. The rest, well the rest is why providers have an education and a license to practice, because a birth experience is so much more than just customer service!

        • Anj Fabian

          Guest post! Guest post!

    • floppypoppy

      To be fair, notarizing things does make them look cool.

    • Elaine

      I think I remember hearing once about a mom who wanted her birth plan added to her chart at the hospital so that the nursing staff would see it and was told she had to have it notarized in order to do that. So this may not be coming out of nowhere.

      • attitude devant

        well, there are some details I can’t discuss here, but no, her explicit intent was to give her wish list legal heft.

        • Cobalt

          Does she plan on suing the baby if it dares to present a transverse lie? What about placenta previa? Whose fault is that?

        • Squillo

          Another expert in law and obstetrics.

        • Elaine

          Ick. Sounds like a nightmare for a provider.

        • sdsures

          Does that mean I should get my Christmas wish list notarized? 😉

    • Junebug

      I have this plan of taking about 20 pages and spiral binding them with the most abnoxious cover I can think of, maybe a rainbow with a dolphin and a pregnant belly painted like a flower or something, the first page saying something threatening in pseudo legalese about following my birth plan OR ELSE, then the third page just saying “do whatever your training and experience indicates is in my and the baby’s best interest.” And leave the rest of the pages blank.

      I might have to get it notorized now.

      • araikwao

        On the page that lists the sacred warrior birth affirmations that will be sung over you, there should definitely be a picture of the yoni cupcakes from your blessingway. And then maybe some instructions for taking the placenta prints.

    • Dr Kitty

      IIRC my birth plan for my CS was:
      DH would like to take pictures in theatre, if the medical team feel it is appropriate.

      Please give baby to DH or me, as soon as is practicable. We would like to say some prayers over the baby as soon as possible and would appreciate a quiet moment to do that.

      I would like to breastfeed, as soon as is practicable.

      DH would like to stay with baby while you’re finishing up in theatre with me.

      We understand that these preferences may not be possible, but would appreciate you help achieving them if there is no pressing medical reason contraindicating them.

      I got everything on my list…

  • Amy M

    It’s kind of an odd thing to say..”you don’t get to have an opinion..” I mean, its certainly more pleasant when people keep their unwanted opinions and unsolicited advice to themselves, but everyone forms opinions sort of subconsciously. Opinions will be shaped by experiences. Opinions are just that–opinions, not facts. So, we can all have all the opinions we want about how women give birth, but if we want to a)have any friends and b)not waste time having pointless arguments on the internet, we best keep the opinions in our own heads, unless specifically asked. (and now I will continue to give you all my opinion about this article, even though you didn’t ask.)

    I find that whole “if you aren’t cheerleading for our side, you’re a hater” thing that the NCB world runs on really irritating. Maybe that’s why this author would even suggest that other women shouldn’t have opinions—if you are in the NCB club, part of the membership fees are spouting the NCB opinion loudly and often. I guess if your opinion isn’t in the charter, or “bashes” (I am SOOOOOOOOOOO sick of that word) someone, you don’t get to have it, by the club rules.

    Whether or not this article was lip service, its not very original. The ideas and even many of the phrases have been written before, always with the: “We have to stop judging each other! We should all support each other!” And inevitably, either the author herself will toss in something that contradicts that, or someone commenting on the piece will, and it becomes a name-calling festival of obnoxiousness. Several others will come along, attempting to get the “stop judging” message out, only to be drowned out and ignored by everyone else entertaining themselves with judging people who do things differently.

    I would love to see a new mommy-blog post, about how the judging will never stop, there will always be something to feel superior about and all mothers don’t really want to join hands and sing kumbaya together. Something more honest than the constant stream of “oh we should all support each other and not have opinions about how other women do things” garbage that clogs my facebook feed these days. I guess no one would click on that though.

    • Sara M.

      I would read that kind of blog!

    • Squillo

      Yes.

      Here’s the thing: Anyone is totally, utterly, perfectly welcome to judge me for anything I say or do publicly. I am perfectly able, if not always willing, to criticize anyone’s publicly stated opinion of my public statements or behavior. And so on, ad infinitum.

      • The Computer Ate My Nym

        I judge that position to be a reasonable one.

    • Siri

      Stop it with the bashing, you cyberbully!

      H8ers gonna h8te… you must be so sad and bitter; I really pity your children. Stop insulting people from behind your keyboard and go live your life in the real world.

      I’m going now, as I have better things to do than wasting time on stupid sheeple. Enjoy your minionhood defending “Dr” Amy.

      I’m totally going. Unlike you, I have lots of great ‘real life’ things to do.

      So I’m going.

      I’m done with this pathetic blog. Full of sheeple who refuse to open their minds and get educated.

      Going

      Going

      Gone…..

      • Siri

        …..until someone replies unfavourably to my comments …..then I’ll magically reappear. It’s almost as if the flounce never happened… 😉

  • lizdexia

    Did we read the same piece? All I got from this essay on jezebel.com was a call to respect and leave each other alone regarding birth choices – all birth choices. It’s like you only read the part about respecting choices you don’t like in order to find a cause for outrage where none need exist.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      Yes, we read the same piece, but I have the advantage of understanding the changing landscape of natural childbirth advocacy. I recognize the catch phrases that aren’t true and the mantras that have been used to instill fear of the medical community. I also understand that natural childbirth advocates perceive anything that isn’t praise as judgment.

      • achemgee

        Wow. You are actually delusional. Do you think the entirety of your readership is uneducated about obstetrics? The worst part about your writing, apart from your superior holier than thou attitude, is that you state every thought you have as fact without offering even a shred of evidence. You come off as angry, bitter and childish. You’re as bad as the Sears clan-thinking your MD makes you an expert in all things birth and baby. You just wrote that we all read the same piece but you basically know the super secret natural circuit shame language the rest of us don’t but you can’t share it so just trust you. The catchphrases and mantras from the article that have a secret meaning only you can see-what are they? Share. Lastly, if natural childbirth advocates are judgmental and shaming-what, good doctor, does that make you? Because I can’t see the difference between you and the people you claim they are.

        • DiomedesV

          Read her piece more carefully. Follow the link to Improving Birth, the advocacy organization she wants all women to support, then this link to Improving Birth’s version of what “evidence-based” care is:

          http://www.improvingbirth.org/2012/11/state-of-maternity-care/

          The first line, Surgical Birth is wrong. The recommendation is not < 15% of low-risk women. There is no current recommendation for an ideal C-section rate that I know of.

          The line about inductions is also wrong. High quality evidence indicates that routine inductions at term 1) lower the rate of stillbirth, and 2) lower the C-section rate.

          But these *are* the talking points of the NCB movement, even though they are not supported.

          • achemgee

            I’ll admit I didn’t click the link in the Jezebel article. I can’t say I have any interest in supporting one birth way or the other. I have read WHO recommends the 10-15% number that’s floated around. But there is no “low risk women” qualifier attached. The fact remains that the author of that article may have linked to that site but doesn’t use any of those website points in her article, which is kind of an important distinction between what actually *is* and what she’s being accused of. The article is a throwaway post on a feminist website where a large portion of the readership is childless and will continue to be so. The point was that yeah, have an opinion/scary story to tell all you want but realize when it’s good to keep it to yourself. Dr. Tuteur’s analysis is self righteous and borders on paranoia.

          • Guestll

            WHO made up that statand retracted it years ago. It wasn’t evidence based. Countries with section rates that low have horrible outcomes. Is the primary section rate in the US too high? Maybe, but then you be the one to pick whose babies won’t make it, with the benefit of your retrospectoscope, of course. 😉

          • achemgee

            Whether they did or not is mostly irrelevant to my point (my understanding isn’t that they made it up but lacked empirical date, which isn’t the same thing). Nonetheless, not every c section is a life and death situation and if that were the case, there are a lot of women of color and of a certain socioeconomic class in this country enduring life and death situations when they have their children. A disproportionate number, actually. C sections are an amazing medical advancement and they definitely save lives but ignoring the greater implications of the percentage of them among certain groups in this country does a disservice to all women.

          • DiomedesV

            “(my understanding isn’t that they made it up but lacked empirical date, which isn’t the same thing).”

            The hell it isn’t.

            Actually, it’s worse. The paper in which that data were ultimately published is not just of very poor quality, it’s obvious that the authors massaged their data to try to support their foregone conclusion.

            The WHO backed the claim then retracted it when called out by other scientists, all prior to the publication of that paper years later. I suspect that whoever made the decision to support the number initially had no idea how bad the data and analyses were.

          • Amazed

            Thank God that not every c-section is a life and death situation! I, for one, quite like my goddaughter with all her brain cells intact. I also like her baby brother, born last November, alive because after his mom’s elective (that is, medically indicated but not emergency) C-section they realized that it could have become a life and death situation. Kudos to the doctors for not compromising with my friend and her children’s life and quality of life because of silly notions that C-sections should be reserved for “life and death” situations alone!

          • Guestll

            Whether they did or not is mostly irrelevant to my point (my understanding isn’t that they made it up but lacked empirical date, which isn’t the same thing) << Wow, way to dismiss the fact that they made up a statement based on jackshit. So what, right?

            And why does every section have to be a life or death situation? Moreover, can you please tell me with absolute certainty which ones weren't, before they happen? What is the disproportionate number to which you refer, exactly? Please quantify it or STFU. And get this — some women choose to give birth via c-section. Their body, their choice.

          • Guestll

            I also love the fact that it’s now “mostly irrelevant to your point” when you were the one who introduced it to support your point in the first place. How much do you know about obstetrics, if you don’t even know that this statement was retracted in 2010 and has ZERO basis in evidence? Do you know what a 10-15% section rate even looks like? Because I do, I see the outcomes of rates like these every day in my work. Seriously, school yourself before you come here and criticize Amy or anyone else.

          • fiftyfifty1

            Vague insinuations won’t cut it here. Tell us what groups you are talking about, shows us actually stats about the rates, and then tell us why you think the rate is too high and what should be done instead.

          • AlisonCummins

            How is stating a number not backed up by data NOT making it up?

          • Sue

            ”not every c section is a life and death situation”

            Thankfully, most are done early enough to AVOID a life-and-death situation. That’s good practice, and appreciated by most people who don’t have to risk their lives or those of their babies.

            Comments like yours ”achemgee”, generally reflect never having been in the situation of having to make crucial health care decisions for others and be held accountable for the outcomes. Amy has, in contrast.

          • DiomedesV

            But the author did mention our “horribly high” C-section rate. Is it too high? Probably. Horribly high? How does she know? How does Improving Birth know? I disagree that her links don’t matter. For one thing, they illustrate the language that Dr. Tuteur was alluding to that you simply didn’t get.

            I certainly agree with the author that it is not acceptable to offer your unvarnished opinion to strangers or even friends about their birth plans. But then, it’s not generally polite to offer your unvarnished opinion about *anything* to strangers or friends. But the author seemed to be complaining about the internet. At what point do women need to learn to be less sensitive to the disagreements with others?

            And only women seem to pull this “don’t judge me!” BS. Why is that?

            Everyone judges. Friends shouldn’t overly judge us, especially to our faces, because that’s not nice. But the internet is a free space. Don’t like what someone has to say? Don’t go there. Why is a feminist telling other people they shouldn’t offer judgmental opinions about things on the internet for goodness sakes? Why is this a feminist meme that I see all the time? Grow up.

          • achemgee

            I mean, I didn’t write the article nor did I say I agree with it. I just disagree with the doctor’s analysis. So, maybe go comment over there? For what it’s worth, I do think the section rate is high, particularly among certain subsets of the population. And that can’t be chalked up to coincidence.

          • NoLongerCrunching

            why do you think it is high? What do you think should be done to lower it?

          • Sarah

            Exactly, the ‘horribly high’ section rate comment betrays what she really thinks. This wasn’t really a piece about promoting women’s birth choices and not judging. Because if you really think people need to get their opinions off womens bodies- as I do- you simply don’t get to be critical of section rates. If it’s ok for a woman to have an unmedicated homebirth, which it is, it’s also ok for her to have a MRCS. This may mean a high section rate, in all probability it will be considerably higher than 10-15%. If you think that’s a bad thing, actually you don’t think others aren’t entitled to an opinion about a woman’s birth. I actually disagree with Dr Amy’s premise in this article, but the author of the piece was also being disingenuous.

          • DiomedesV

            So do you or do you not think that people should publish their judgments on the internet? Should we deal with dissent in a public space by labeling it unacceptable?

          • achemgee

            I think I don’t actually care. I also think neither your nor the Doctor read Jezebel very often. Publishing that article is literally the height of hypocrisy for them.

        • DiomedesV

          I do think this piece was a bit harsh, however.

        • monojo

          “Do you think the entirety of your readership is uneducated about obstetrics?”

          hahahahahahahaha

          Sorry, I’m sure that comes off as angry, bitter, and childish. But for real, aaaahahahahahahaha!

        • Allie P

          I read Jezebel, and I’m a mom, and if we assume for a moment that it is true that most people who read Jezebel are not and will not become moms, then it is even more pernicious for an opinion piece to spout off false facts in order to support the equal weight of these opinions. It would be like a representative from the coal industry talking baout how there are lots of studies that show there is no issue whatsoever with pollution and climate change, and that’s why we should all just respect each other’s opinion. The false equivalency doctrine of journalism is a DISASTER for science. I’m also a proponent of VBACs if its medically indicated, but it doesn’t help the cause to throw around false statistics in support of anything, whether you are for it or against it.

      • Trixie

        Several of the most shared Improving Birth pictures of women holding up signs about their supposed mistreatment during birth are also ICAN board members. http://www.ican-online.org/leadership-profiles/

    • fiftyfifty1

      I agree with Dr. Amy. I didn’t read it as an unbiased call to stop judging either. It was more like: Whether you decide to give birth without unnatural hormones or whether you are afraid of the pain and decide to get numbed, I am totally not judging. Let’s all focus instead on the outrageously high CS rate that the OB industry sticks us with!

      • Cobalt

        And why is it that being “afraid of the pain” is why women choose to get numbed? I think it’s because there is pain, and it HURTS. Saying women are afraid of it implies getting meds before the pain has even started, which is logistically impossible except in the uncommon instance of being pain-free, then getting an epidural, then starting an induction. It’s not like you can get a preventive pre-labor epidural. Women are getting epidurals because of actual pain, not some vague fear of pain.

        • MLE

          Never mind that this “fear” of pain is totally reasonable, reality-based, and dare I say…natural? I’m so afraid of migraine pain that I take preventive measures when I think there’s even a hint of one on the horizon. I guess that makes me weak? Actually I know from bitter experience that if I leave it too late, I will be incapacitated for an indeterminate amount of time, so I choose to act before that happens. Obviously I’m not a grown woman acting in her own self interest, I’m a scared widdle girl.

  • OttawaAlison

    She’s a doula and specifically mentions Improving Birth.org which is an org that has aligned itself with MANA. So will she be supporting my choice of an elective surgical birth which I have chosen and feel comfortable about?

  • Sara M.

    Oh dear I have thoughts and feelings and they are not happy ones. First of all, I do believe my OB and hospital staff know better than me when it comes to childbirth. It’s not out of guilt,fear, or shame. I am equipped with the baby, everyone else is equipped with knowledge and ability to get us through safely. Trusting other people doesn’t make me mindless, it makes make makes me mindful how incredible bringing life into this world really is.

    I have friends who are low-intervention people and my next statement is not directed at them. NCB advocates are using their “trust yourself” philosophy as way to weed out the women they think should be entitled to have children. It’s the ultimate form of elitism. They are not thinking of moms or the babies, they are trying to craft a society where the “counter-culturals” take over. Guess what? Through this form of single-minded opinions they are actually risking the lives of the very people they claim to believe it. How’s that for passing judgement?

  • achemgee

    I just read this article on Jezebel and you’re really cherry picking parts of it to make pretty much the same point Murphy is making-specifically this one:

    “… and my opinion is that there is no best way to give birth and that how other women give birth tells us nothing about what kind of mothers or people they are.”

    I don’t understand even a tiny bit how we read the exact same article and came away from it with totally different takes. But I am certain you misunderstood what she was saying. Particularly because Murphy specifically writes about how terrible it is that women are judged for choosing drugs. I’m left to believe you’re intentionally interpreting it incorrectly to make a point that doesn’t need to be made.

    • Vg2010

      I read the article too and my impression was that she says she doesnt judge shile saying the csection rate is horrendous. Which in my opinion means you are judging csections. Also, it ignores the unpredictability of birth and makes it all about your personal preferences – which is messed up.

      • Amy M

        Or if not judging Csections, per se, being utterly ignorant about why the rate is what it is, and how it is impossible to define the ideal rate of Csections.

      • fiftyfifty1

        Yes, it implicitly pits women who fall prey to the evil OB industry against women who “choose” not to fall prey. But Hey, I’m totally not judging.

        • Vg2010

          I think she had the right intentions, and she probably didn’t realize what she was doing. But she was incredibly condescending.
          As someone who wants a csection in Canada and is dreading having the conversation with her OB/GYN, I was excited about the article and got increasingly disappointed as I read.
          She cannot say she isn’t judging when she talks about problems with drs, hospitals, inductions, high csection rates, and her examples about why a woman would choose a section is rape and a home birth is because her drs treated horribly before. Also, dont forget about the poor women who are at the mercy of drs who just want to make money.
          Her bias came out incredibly clear.

          • fiftyfifty1

            “I think she had the right intentions, and she probably didn’t realize what she was doing.”

            Naw, I think she knew exactly what she was doing. She just wanted to have it both ways–do all the judging she wants while at the same time make herself out to be pure as the driven snow.

          • Vg2010

            I TRY to see the good in people! but they often fail me… 🙁

            in any case… whether she did it on purpose or not… she did a lot of judging (as can be seen on the comment section chez jezebel, which became about judging people for unnecesary surgeries)

    • guest

      I tend to agree with you, that the takeaway from the original piece is indeed to stop judging each other for how we choose to give birth. It’s not perfect, for the reasons that Dr. Amy points out. However, the underlying intention seems legitimate, and for that reason, I find that shredding it is kind of meen. 🙁

    • fiftyfifty1

      No Murphy says it is wrong to judge women for choosing pain meds because maybe they are afraid of the pain and just want to give birth numb. Can’t you see the judgement contained in this statement?

      What if I said ” It’s wrong to judge women with migraines for using migraine medicines, maybe they are afraid of pain and would rather go through their day numb”. Does that sound supportive and neutral to you? Or does it contain a big dose of judgement?