Mothers, fathers, midwives and doctors: please share your experiences with natural parenting and guilt

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It’s no secret that I think the commentors on The Skeptical OB are the best, brightest, wittiest and most insightful on the internet.

That’s why I’d like to make you part of my forthcoming book Guilt Trap: New Motherhood and the Natural Parenting Industry to be published by the Dey Street imprint of Harper Collins in 2015. I’d be honored to have you share your experiences with natural parenting (natural childbirth, breastfeeding and attachment parenting) and guilt. The book is, after all, for you and others like you.

Do you feel badly about having had a C-section? Did friends trying to convince you that it was “unnecessarean”? Are you wondering if you or your baby missed out on something important because the baby did not exit your vagina? This book is for you.

Did you have pregnancy complications like pre-eclampsia that necessitated interventions? Did you have an induction? Did your baby experience fetal distress? This book is for you.

Were you planning on avoiding an epidural but ended up getting one anyway? Are you worried that you exposed your baby to harmful drugs by getting an epidural? Are you ashamed that you “gave in” when the pain became unbearable? This book is for you.

Were you committed to breastfeeding but found it very difficult? Did you struggle with pain and other issues? Was your milk supply not adequate to meet your baby’s needs? Did you have trouble combining breastfeeding and work? This book is for you.

Did you watch your wife or partner struggle with guilt and disappointment over not meeting the prescribed goals of the natural parenting industry? Were you concerned that she lost sight of the miracle of a healthy baby in favor of the arbitrary prescriptions of an industry that did not seem to care at all about her mental health and wellbeing? This book is for you.

Are you a midwife, obstetrician, neonatologist, pediatrician or anesthesiologist who has felt concern or fear when a mother rejects conventional obstetric or pediatric practice in favor of something she read on the internet? Have you felt frustration that your patients have been primed by the propaganda of the natural parenting to distrust you? Have you found yourself trying to save the life of a mother or baby because the mother rejected the preventive care that you and your colleagues offered? This book is for you.

Your voices should be heard!

If you are interested in sharing your perspective, you can submit it to

I can’t guarantee that your story will appear in the book, but I can guarantee that it will be considered for inclusion by my editors and me. We want Guilt Trap to reflect the myriad ways that women have struggled against the guilt, shame and disappointment promoted by the natural parenting industry and the many ways that providers have struggled against the mistruths, half truths and outright lies of that industry.

Of course, Guilt Trap is also for anyone, male or female, concerned with women’s rights and freedoms and the effort to force women back into the home, not by a frontal assault on women’s equality in the political, economic, and intellectual spheres, but by way of a parenting Trojan horse concealing the age old desire to judge women by the function of their reproductive organs inside purported “concern” over the well being of their children. French philosopher Elizabeth Badinter argued that “the baby is the best ally of masculine domination.” I would amend that to reflect the fact that babies have no interest in promoting the control of one gender over another: Natural parenting proponents are the best allies of retrograde, sexist attitudes.

When you submit your perspective, please let me know if you would like to be named in the book or would prefer first name only, initials or being entirely anonymous.

Once again, the email address for submissions is Submissions from everyone are welcome, whether or not they read or comment on The Skeptical OB. If you know of any friends who might like to contribute, please share the email address.

I will be deeply grateful for any and all participation.

89 Responses to “Mothers, fathers, midwives and doctors: please share your experiences with natural parenting and guilt”

  1. g.
    December 11, 2014 at 2:20 am #

    This blog is a service to humanity. Thank you

  2. Daleth
    December 8, 2014 at 8:45 pm #

    Conversation this past summer with a friend who asked what we were planning on for the birth of our twins:

    Me: Well, I’ve decided to get a c-section–

    Friend (sad face): Aww, what’s wrong?

    Me: Nothing, it’s just that I’ve read up on mono-di twins, and because they share a placenta it’s safer for them to be born this way. Also, I’m actually kind of freaked out by the risk of things like third or fourth-degree tears and pelvic floor damage.

    Friend: Don’t you trust your body?

    …argh. I spent the whole summer just trying to parse that sentence: “trust my body” TO DO WHAT?!? To behave in perfect conformity with my will? No–I’ve had loved ones with cancer and massive physical disabilities, and I have years of infertility behind me, so I’m well aware that people’s bodies can betray them. To nimbly avoid all possible complications? No–I am aware that bad things do not just happen to other people; they could happen to me, which is why I wear my seatbelt etc. etc.

    I still haven’t figured out exactly what this NCB concept of “trusting your body” actually means. It’s a central concept in the NCB world but when you shine a light on it to examine WHAT IT MEANS, you come up empty, or at least I did…

    • fiftyfifty1
      December 8, 2014 at 9:19 pm #

      “I still haven’t figured out exactly what this NCB concept of “trusting your body” actually means.”

      I’ve come to the conclusion that it means “I’m too special to have bad things happen to me” and “Being on the losing side of the statistics is for nasty people who deserve it”.

  3. BostonDoula
    December 8, 2014 at 4:45 pm #

    What about doulas? Can we share from our perspective among our peers?

    • Amy Tuteur, MD
      December 8, 2014 at 4:52 pm #

      I would really appreciate that.

  4. sarah
    December 8, 2014 at 3:34 pm #


  5. sdsures
    December 7, 2014 at 2:32 pm #

    As I’ve posted below, I’ve lived in the UK for 6 years now. (Yesterday was our 6th wedding anniversary! Originally, I’m from Canada, born and bred in Winnipeg (sometimes, I miss the snow. Watching it. Not stepping in it. 😉 Brrrr!)

    The idea of having kids in this country scares me, once I began reading (through this site, mostly) about the attitude towards childbirth here: au naturel is preferred. Obviously, there’s a culture of NCB in Canada as well, but until after I found this site, I just wasn’t looking for any warning signs, let alone being exposed to them because I wasn’t looking for them. Back then, my priority was being a university student, getting good grades, and I was single (read “nose stuck in a book”).

    But given my long medical history and VERY obvious complicating health factors, no OB in his right mind here would even suggest I birth vaginally. C-section will always be required. If one did suggest such a thing, I’d fire them.

    But I’m even scared of the idea of “mommy groups”! I don’t want to have to explain or justify why I got a c-section, why I vaccinate my kids, and why we’re not circing even though I am Jewish. It’s nobody’s business except mine, my husband’s, and our doctors’.

    I guess I’ve most often been happiest on my own, or with a small number of close friends. But the idea of an ideologically-driven group of moms as a post-birth socializing unit terrifies me. Pox parties? I didn’t even know such things existed, because it seemed so out to lunch as to be impossible. My mother-in-law is a homeopathy nut who uses fluoride-free toothpaste. She unfriended and blocked me on Facebook after she learned I was reading this blog. She believes in ear candles.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love her and my dad-in-law (who is sane, and so is my husband)…but YIKES she frightens me. We will have to make sure she has her shots before visiting our kids-to-be.

    (Note: my own mom is pro-vax and all the sane stuff. My dad died when I was about 2.)

    • Siri
      December 8, 2014 at 5:14 pm #

      Don’t worry sdsures, the vast majority of UK mums vaccinate and don’t circumcise! C/sections are common and very acceptable, and lots of babies have formula milk. You’ll be able to find nice mums’ groups IRL and online (eg Mumsnet or Netmums), and hopefully you’ll have a nice supportive health visitor too 🙂

      • Siri
        December 8, 2014 at 5:17 pm #

        In my work, I have never met any ideology-driven mums or mums’ groups; only individuals feeling vulnerable at times, wanting to do right by their babies, and looking to get and give support to other mums. Good luck, and don’t be put off by unfounded fears!

    • Wren
      December 16, 2014 at 10:05 am #

      I’m an American living in the UK. I was by far the “crunchiest” of the mums in my antenatal group, which was an NCT group. All of us vaccinated, breastfeeding was pretty much left up to the mums to choose or not and none of us got very woo-ish. Don’t assume that all Brits or even a significant percentage are into the woo. And really, most midwives I’ve come across here are sensible and not nearly as bad as those mentioned on this blog.

      • sdsures
        December 17, 2014 at 6:31 pm #

        I got thrown in the deep end because my MIL is crunchy. No fluoride in her toothpaste-crunchy.

  6. sdsures
    December 4, 2014 at 10:13 am #

    I’d be interested in seeing/reading fathers’ stories. We don’t hear nearly enough from them in here.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa
      December 4, 2014 at 4:43 pm #

      It’s hard for me to say anything too specific. I don’t remember anything directed at me when I was with the kids, but then again, I was pretty oblivious to much of anything, especially when they were young.

      I also can’t speak for my wife, of course, but one thing I would say that I observed.

      Now, my wife has never had any interest in going through a NCB. She never wanted to even go through a vaginal birth with an epidural. Therefore, when we found out our first was breech, she was not anxious to get him to turn and perfectly content with having a c-section. And she did.

      And then came our second. Our doctor told us from the beginning that the hospital didn’t have the required anesthesia capabilities to do a VBACS, and if we wanted to, we would have to go to a different hospital (an hour from home) with a different doctor. Given that my wife never wanted a VBACS in the first place, that was no big deal, we just scheduled the repeat CS.

      However, I noticed that every time she told someone about having the c-section scheduled, she always had to say that the dr wouldn’t do a VBACS and if we wanted one, we would have to go to a different hospital. Of course, I always chimed in, “Yeah, but you wouldn’t want that regardless” but it strike me odd as to why she always seemed to have to justify herself. With our second, she did the c-section because she could, not because it wasn’t available..

      At the time, I wondered why she always felt a need to justify it to those people. They never even asked, she just always said it. I don’t know if she thought it important, or just an interesting nugget information, and if it was important, why did she think it was important? Nowadays, I wonder if she wasn’t hearing crap from her moms group?

      I don’t know for sure, though. She’s never talked about it.

  7. anotheramy
    December 3, 2014 at 11:43 pm #

    A bit OT: is there any evidence that getting an epidural interferes with breastfeeding? I’m really struggling with baby #3 (now 7weeks old) and 3bfing books all say unmedicated childbirth is best for breastfeeding. But they don’t cite their sources. I’m trying to not have mommy guilt and I’m telling myself my low milk supply is due to my blood loss/ anemia after birth, not the epi, but a small part of me thinks “maybe….”

    • Young CC Prof
      December 3, 2014 at 11:49 pm #

      Nope, they’re making stuff up. 🙂

      • anotheramy
        December 4, 2014 at 6:41 am #

        Ugh, so annoying an unethical of them. And frustrating that the woo extends so far! I read this book to learn about BREASTFEEDING, not birth/ birth choices. They even devote a small space to discussing the options of home birth, birth center vs hospital.

    • KeeperOfTheBooks
      December 3, 2014 at 11:54 pm #

      From a strictly physiological basis, why on earth would an epidural interfere with milk production? An epidural put pain medication into your spinal column. It doesn’t prevent the placenta from detaching, which is, as I understand it, what triggers the hormones that start up sufficient milk production to support a baby. The amount of pain you feel when that happens has nothing to do with your milk production, or women who don’t have particularly bad labors would consistently have low milk production. They don’t.

      Banish your mommy guilt, and take care of yourself and that sweet baby. You’ll both be fine. Staying in that miserable, unhappy place does nothing for either of you. Believe me, I know. I’ve been there, and wouldn’t wish that level of guilt and misery on anyone.

      • anotheramy
        December 4, 2014 at 6:39 am #

        One book claims that ” all medications, including those in epidurals, reach the baby through the placenta affecting his ability to find the breast, latch and suck effectively.” It lists a few more consequences of epis and ends with “That may be hard to hear, but that’s what the research clearly shows.” (no sources cited, of course.) Other things I’ve read claim pain meds make the babies sleepy.
        Physiologically speaking: do the meds in an epi stay in the epidural space or enter the mother’s blood stream?

        • fiftyfifty1
          December 4, 2014 at 8:03 am #

          “Physiologically speaking: do the meds in an epi stay in the epidural space or enter the mother’s blood stream?”

          Yes, these lactivists who glom onto natural childbirth (that’s most of them) are full of crap. I’m not sure whether it is that they themselves know nothing about medicine and physiology and so are unwittingly passing on falsehoods, or whether they do know the truth and are intentionally lying.

          Epidurals are terrific because the medicine is only given exactly where it is needed, right at the nerve roots that carry the pain for the uterus and perineum. That allows us to use tiny amounts, because you don’t have to deliver medicine to the whole person, just the nerve root. The vast majority of this tiny amount stays contained in the epidural space. A small amount of it can diffuse over time through the tissues and into your blood stream. At that point it is diluted in your entire blood volume and from there could theoretically cross the placenta, where it would be diluted in you child’s entire blood volume. So I guess this will be a convincing argument for those idiots who believe in homeopathy and the idea that a substance becomes stronger as it gets diluted to the point of undetectability!

          So that’s the scientific answer. A more down-to-earth way to look at it is to ask, did the epidural limit your ability to move your mouth (e.g. were you slurring your words or choking when you tried to swallow?) Because if it didn’t do that to you, it sure can’t do that to your baby.

          On a personal note, I remember when the lactation consultant told this lie to me too. My first child had an abnormal suck and was never able to properly coordinate suck/swallow from the breast. The evil LC told me it was the epidural. She told me a bunch of other BS too. I found a new LC from a different hospital. Coincidentally, their LC department had just done an internal study looking at the epidural/breastfeeding connection and had found zero correlation. As she said “You can be confident in choosing an epidural knowing that it has absolutely no effect on breastfeeding from either the mother’s or the baby’s perspective”.

        • fiftyfifty1
          December 4, 2014 at 5:15 pm #

          “That may be hard to hear, but that’s what the research clearly shows.””

          What sanctimonious, manipulative, passive-aggressive liars these people are. Hoping that you will get so caught on the “may be hard for you to hear” guilt-inducing part, that you forget to ask for the references for all this supposed research.

          • Young CC Prof
            December 4, 2014 at 10:13 pm #

            People can be convinced of anything if they are afraid it might be true.

        • Anka
          December 16, 2014 at 9:33 am #

          I had an epidural and my (induced) baby came out alert, excited, and ready to feed! He made smacking noises that graduated to pursed-lip, duck-calling noises when I didn’t start feeding him (they asked me not to while they stitched up my third-degree tears, but it turned out my milk didn’t come in for four more days, so….).

    • CrownedMedwife
      December 4, 2014 at 7:50 am #

      Actually not off topic at all. Experiences like yours are exactly why this book needs to be published. You’ve spent the first seven weeks of your baby’s life trying to establish breastfeeding while attempting to abate the guilt of using a safe and desired form of pain management. Mothers need a resource, in addition to providers, that is willing to challenge the lies and mistruths the NCB has invaded in all facets of pregnancy, birth and infant care. A stranger on the internet may not have the influence of those three breastfeeding books, but I would just like to say put those books aside & let that guilt slip away. If we let ourselves fall into the guilt traps of NCB, we miss those special new moments of motherhood that we’ve shrouded in a black cloud of guilt that shouldnt exist. Congratulations on your new baby.

    • Aussiedoc
      December 4, 2014 at 7:15 pm #

      None. But an argument I have daily.

      However what IS more likely is that mothers who have needed/asked for epidural s have had longer labours – therefore potentially all the complications those bring – PPHs etc, so it’s a confounder.

      Woo midwives insist that the do. They are wrong.

      It’s anecdotal but I strongly believe unrelieved pain and traumatic birth ALSO interfere with a good breastfeeding relationship, but what do I know? I’m just a caring doctor not a zealot.

      Good luck with your bub. I wish you a good latch xx.

      • RNMomma
        December 7, 2014 at 11:33 pm #

        My daughter and I have had a good breastfeeding relationship so far. However, after my 14 hour unmedicated and painful labor resulting in the delivery of a posterior and asynclitic baby, I had little interest in holding my child after the first 15 minutes or so. My husband actually had to remind me to nurse her after an hour had passed.

    • Bugsy
      December 4, 2014 at 7:41 pm #

      Out of curiosity, would you be willing to share which breastfeeding books mention this? A friend gave me “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding,” and I found the level of guilt/shame in it to be appalling.

      I’m not a medical expert and can only speak from my anecdotal experience, but my sense is that an epidural does not interfere w/ breastfeeding. I had an epidural with my son, and my milk came in pretty quickly. My son ended up breastfeeding until he was 2.

      I really, really think the association between an epidural and negative breastfeeding outcomes is more to guilt/shame mommies into having the perfect “natural’ childbirth.

      • anotheramy
        December 4, 2014 at 10:18 pm #

        That’s the one. after lurking on this blog for months, I noticed the woo more clearly than the first time I read it. they say” research shows ____” throughout the book, but no sources were cited. The LLL meetings were very helpful with my second child for BFing tips. The book’s emphasis on exclusively breastfeeding is way over the top, as well as their claim that only 1% of women truly cannot breastfeed.
        . The other 2 were: a book by. dr jack Newman (not quite as harsh about an epi, but he seems to think formula is evil incarnate) and “the Breastfeeding Mothers guide to makinng more milk” just briefly mentioned the epi and was the least woo-focused and very helpful.
        I’m content to supplEment with formula. Trying too hard to increase my milk supply will exhaust me and drive I should maybe add that i’ve had 2 great, respectful LC’s (one was the first professional to tell me to start supplementing and I’m glad she did.)

        • Bugsy
          December 5, 2014 at 7:50 am #

          Thanks for sharing. I’m really glad that you’ve had helpful LCs who haven’t attempted to lay guilt trips on you. The third book you mentioned sounds helpful and worth keeping in mind.

          I completely agree with you on The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. The lack of sources drove me nuts, and it generally seemed to feed off of inaccuracy and guilt/shame. I can’t stand the book, but am holding onto it simply because I am not comfortable donating it to another new mom.

          Best wishes with your little one.

          • fiftyfifty1
            December 5, 2014 at 9:50 am #

            The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding

            The shaming starts even with the title. It’s subtle, but if breastfeeding moms are Womanly, then bottlefeeding moms must be unnatural failed women.

        • Bugsy
          December 27, 2014 at 12:07 pm #

          Well, I did it – I took my copy of the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, cut up and flushed the parts that had been highlighted for me by my lactivist friend, and made confetti out of the rest of the book.

          I’ve held onto it for 2 years because I was unwilling to donate it to any charities or other moms, but finally wanted to reclaim my valuable shelf space. I wanted to stick it in our fireplace, but had my doubts as to whether this ingenious idea was that safe. Into confetti it turned – and making confetti out of a 400-page book is painful on the hand!

          I glanced at some of the passages as I cut it up. It was as guilt-inducing and negative as I remembered it to be.

          • anotheramy
            December 27, 2014 at 3:43 pm #

            Good for you!! I didn’t notice the shaming/ negativity until baby #3. But looking at it again, I was like “I can’t believe they just said that! ” the parts dedicated to low milk supply (my issue) can pretty much be summed up as: nurse more often, then pump after each feeding. Beware of bottles! try Fenugreek! Nothing else in life is as important as nursing, and if these tips don’t help, it’s because being a good mother obviously isn’t important to you and you just didn’t try hard enough. Maybe with the next baby you’ll do things right and have a NCB and work harder at nursing.

          • Bugsy
            December 28, 2014 at 2:32 pm #

            Lol, that was exactly my sentiment. Why even a little bit of formula is bad for your child, why a home birth is as safe as a hospital birth, how you can co-sleep safely…it was like a written transcript of the guilt and perfect parenting treatise I’ve heard from the attachment parent in my life.

    • demodocus' spouse
      December 8, 2014 at 10:43 pm #

      Anecdotally, I had an epidural and over-supply issues. Probably could have EBFed both my son and the twin that disappeared. I’m sorry you’re having such a hard time of it. We probably all feel guilty over something. In my case, I felt guilty for disliking bfing. All women love it, don’t they? *snort*

    • pinky
      December 9, 2014 at 8:45 pm #

      don’t feel guilty. It is more likely to be from anaemia than anything else. Look after yourself. Eat a good diet & take any supplements that are recommended by your doctor or health visitor. You don’t say what you are struggling with but if you want to try to increase your supply you could pump a couple of times a day, but this might be too much with 2 other kids in tow. Whatever it is, don’t beat yourself up; get help. If you’re in the UK you could call the National Breastfeeding helpline on 0300 100 0212 9.30am -9.30pm.

    • D/
      December 10, 2014 at 12:44 pm #

      This Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine Protocol includes a section on epidural analgesia.

      “Like many other aspects of breastfeeding, epidural analgesia likely has almost no effect on women who are determined to breastfeed and have good support.”

  8. Rach
    December 3, 2014 at 7:21 pm #

    I had my third child early this year in Australia, and had undiagnosed placenta accreta. Previous pregnancies and births had no complications and everything was pointing to another uncomplicated labour and delivery. I’ve always been a fan of medical intervention where appropriate and it would never cross my mind to attempt homebirth. Everything went smoothly until the placenta did not detach. The obstetrician on duty attempted to remove the placenta manually in the delivery room, while maternity staff had already contacted surgery to alert the surgeon and anaesthetist on duty. 40 minutes after giving birth, and 1.5 litres of blood later I was in surgery (I lost a further 2 litres of blood in the first 20 minutes of surgery before the placenta was removed – I was also lucky enough to not need a hysterectomy). As I was being taken to surgery, I commented ‘This is why I would never have a home birth’. The midwife who had just delivered my son responded with ‘I’ve attended quite a few homebirths and this has never happened to me’. My sister later told me that if looks could kill… At the time, I was just really appalled that she thought her comment was appropriate while my body was doing it’s best to incapacitate me and hoping that she would never have placenta accreta and an associated PPH during a homebirth.

    • anotheramy
      December 3, 2014 at 11:29 pm #

      Yes, that is a horrible thing for her to say! I hate how some NCB folks seem to think rare= never happens or won’t happen to me. “This is very rare” is of no comfort when it’s your baby or wife who dies.

      • KeeperOfTheBooks
        December 3, 2014 at 11:51 pm #

        No freaking kidding.

      • Rach
        December 4, 2014 at 7:22 pm #

        My partner was most definitely giving her some serious side-eye for the rest of my hospital stay, not only due to that comment but also her other actions on the day. There was actually a woman at the same hospital a few years previously who died of similar complications after being sent home so she had to have had at least knowledge of this prior incident.

      • realitycheque
        December 4, 2014 at 11:43 pm #

        Not to mention the fact that their concept of “rare” is way off the mark. They act like a 1/200 uterine rupture rate for VBAC is practically unheard of. 1/200 is horrifyingly high when that 1 = almost certain death.

    • KeeperOfTheBooks
      December 3, 2014 at 11:51 pm #

      No doubt if you’d just trusted the birth process a bit more, the placenta would have come away exactly how and when it was supposed to.

      (I kid, obviously, lest this comment just be a string of cursewords directed at the arrogance and stupidity of that woman.)

    • Life Tip
      December 4, 2014 at 10:55 am #

      That midwife’s comment is so disturbing on quite a few levels. Aside from the obvious, it’s telling that she used the phrase “never happened to me”. Is she implying that it wouldn’t have happened if she was in charge? Or does she view a bad outcome as something bad that happens to HER rather than the mother who it is actually happening to?

      I can only hope she made an insensitive comment out of shock, and that she wakes up to the reality of birth and never does another homebirth again.

      • Rach
        December 4, 2014 at 7:13 pm #

        Well, it is strange considering that she was in charge, so it wouldn’t have been a different outcome if I was at home. I’d been induced, and felt the need to push right around shift change (the midwife mentioned above was just starting her shift, and hadn’t been around me or my family at all so that may have contributed to her attitude). I told her multiple times that I needed to push and got the response of ‘nonsense, you weren’t that dilated when you were checked last. There’s no way you need to push’. At that stage, I was actively trying not to push and crossing my legs. Eventually, I told her I needed to use the toilet just to get her in the room. Once I stood up, she realised that I was quite a bit further along than she thought I was. My partner had to run for the mat in the bathroom (lucky he’s athletic and fast) while I held the top of my son’s head, before he then had to hit the emergency call button to get more staff in the room. I’m sure that the kid was born before any got there, and of course, nobody was actually prepared for his arrival. To top it all off, she scratched him putting on the cord clamp (he’s still got a noticeable scar on his leg at 10 months), and had him doing skin to skin while the obstetrician was digging around for my placenta. As that was so painful, I couldn’t actually hold him for fear of accidentally squeezing him. So I had the exact opposite experience to what NCB advocates believe you get in hospital: a midwife who did not listen to me and pursued her own agenda; and an obstetrician, surgeon and anaesthetist who all worked together to diagnose and resolve my medical issues while explaining what they were doing and asking for my consent before each step.

        • Medwife
          December 4, 2014 at 11:29 pm #

          What is up with a midwife who believes it would be impossible for a third time mom to progress quickly? If a laboring woman, especially a multip, tells you she thinks the baby is coming, the correct response is to throw on a pair of gloves, not argue the point.

          • realitycheque
            December 4, 2014 at 11:41 pm #

            These are the same people who tell you to listen to your body, trust your instincts and don’t let some evil doctor tell you what your birth is/was/will be like.

          • Karen in SC
            December 5, 2014 at 9:33 am #

            I know! The list of contradictions and ironies of Planet Midwifery is endless!

          • Samantha06
            December 5, 2014 at 1:04 am #

            That’s always been one of my pet peeves in L&D, when someone tells a woman “you can’t be ready to push, you were 3 cms just 10 minutes ago”.. it drives me crazy! The cardinal rule is, if a woman says “the baby is coming” you better believe it!!

          • toni
            December 5, 2014 at 6:38 am #

            My mother homebirthed with her fifth on the nhs and when she told the midwife the baby was coming she said it wasn’t possible, didn’t check her and went downstairs for a cup of tea. Five minutes later my father was frantically ringing the bell (you know those Victorian bell box gizmos) because my sister was not waiting for anyone. In the end he had to run down to the kitchen (my father never runs) and fetch her.

          • Samantha06
            December 5, 2014 at 11:08 am #

            Wow! That’s pretty bad! I’ve seen moms who said they felt “pushy” but still had a rim of cervix, but every time I’ve had a mom tell me the baby was coming, it was on the way out!! You’re poor Dad! I hope your parents had some “words” with the MW!

          • Anka
            December 16, 2014 at 9:43 am #

            This happened to me too! A rude and snotty resident didn’t “permit” me to push for a long time, saying I’d need a c-section anyway. His overseeing OB finally said I could when I asked, and my baby shot out in a few minutes. I didn’t want to be one of those I-know-better-than-a-doctor people, but if that happens next time, is it worth it to push anyway if I feel that I should?

          • Samantha06
            December 16, 2014 at 2:11 pm #

            I’m sorry you had that experience with the resident! I’ve seen women have a really strong urge to push but have an edematous cervix or not quite fully dilated. You wouldn’t want to push in those circumstances. I would certainly ask to see the OB in charge if it happens again.

    • Medwife
      December 4, 2014 at 11:26 pm #

      Her response is deeply disappointing. It seems to show she didn’t learn from your experience. IT WAS LUCK, a matter of her numbers and the rarity of the complication, that was the reason she’d never seen an acreta. A smart woman would have stfu and done some good hard thinking whe escorting you to the OR.

  9. Votre
    December 3, 2014 at 2:38 pm #

    @Dr. Amy – Goodness! Your book will be published by a major publisher? Won’t AlphaParent be annoyed. Hers is published by a…shall we be polite and say: “specialty” publisher?

    Be interesting to see how well the ‘naturals’ rally the troops to gang-slag your book on Amazon the second it hits the shelves.

    • Who?
      December 3, 2014 at 7:54 pm #

      More lovely publicity…perhaps they’ll come to mock and one or two might read and have pause for thought, which would be a great outcome.

  10. chava
    December 3, 2014 at 2:13 pm #

    Slightly OT, but speaking of how the NB advocates laying on the guilt look down the road, has anyone seen this from Rixa?

    • Cobalt
      December 4, 2014 at 9:50 am #

      Yeah, it’s a lot harder to maintain an ignorant superior attitude about common choices when your kids are old enough to tell you where to put it.

      The “advantages” of your “all natural” choices fade to where even you can’t see them, and you’re left with a kid that is remarkably similar to all the other kids, even the drugged-up, dragged-out formula fed ones.

    • toofargone
      December 4, 2014 at 11:57 pm #

      Why must everyone dis on teenagers. They can be pretty cool actually. I was one 15 years ago. (Yikes)

  11. AmyH
    December 3, 2014 at 12:47 pm #

    I was already going to comment, and this looks next best to an open thread. (Or maybe every thread around here is an open thread. Anyway.) This is nowhere dramatic enough to be in the book; I’m just being chatty.

    My second is due in January, I realized yesterday I have been getting complaisant and wasn’t expecting to gear up to deal with this. I breastfed my first till 10 months old. Had zero problems, so no bragging rights. At 10 months, I decided I wasn’t interested in dropping any farther below my pre-pregnancy weight or dealing with a distractable baby that wouldn’t eat if his father and I were having a conversation. So I weaned, partly due to the information here helping me work up my nerve.

    Yesterday I went to my WIC appt and a routine talk with a bf’ing counselor. She was all smiley and I was quite confident; she said she had checked my notes and seen that I breastfed 10 months last time, and did I have any concerns… all quite appropriate. I didn’t choose to share that I was planning on bf’ing again as long as all went smoothly, but not prepared to wade through hell or high water. I don’t have any reason to expect to anyway.

    Then she annoyed me by sharing that she had breastfed this son through 17 months, and this one through 17 months, and this one till 2 years old. Maybe I was supposed to respond with “Wow.” She wanted to remind me that in an ideal situation, babies would be breastfed till their second year, and they would normally keep nursing after a year, and at that point you get more bang for your buck, because the milk gets more concentrated…yadda, yadda, yadda. Seriously?

    I smiled and nodded, and tried not to sigh. I guess it didn’t count that a had a healthy, happy, well-adjusted two year old running around whose only problem is that he’s very skinny, and I believe would have been more normal weight if I’d weaned when the dr pointed out that he’d gained only one pound between his six-month and nine-month appointment.

    Then I came home and looked through the handouts. Benefits of breastfeeding six months or longer…a stronger jaw so fewer speech problems. Suggested birth plan; a bunch of boxes I was supposed to check to make them mine – insisting that my husband do skin-to-skin if I should have to have a C/S and be unable to do it immediately after birth myself. (My husband was quite happy to have me do skin-to-skin, but if he has to hold the baby first, they better give him a blanket.) No pacifiers. (I brought my own last time and was so thankful!) Please don’t expose me to any formula marketing or samples – but if I’m expected to need a breast pump beyond my hospital stay, please remind me to call my local WIC office. (I guess I’m going to be completely incapable of controlling my own actions.)

    I’ve always been even enthusiastic about breastfeeding, but the more they want to push it down my throat, the less I feel that way.

    • Young CC Prof
      December 3, 2014 at 12:52 pm #

      A stronger jaw so fewer speech problems? I’ve never heard that one before, it sounds like it was made up by someone with no understanding of either speech pathology or the constant chewing exhibited by normal infants and toddlers.

      • AmyH
        December 3, 2014 at 1:12 pm #

        Ha, I did a double take. It takes pretty strong muscles to keep that toddler chitchat flowing nonstop, I guess. I have to wonder why my son barely talked before two and still lisps so much. I would suppose that it’s because I stopped breastfeeding at 10 months, but on the other hand the handout promised me these benefits if I nursed him “six months or longer”?

      • Siri
        December 3, 2014 at 1:46 pm #

        I’m trying to strengthen my jaw by eating my way through a bag of mini Dime bars. Because speech acquisition.

      • Guesteleh
        December 3, 2014 at 6:11 pm #

        My son was never able to achieve a normal latch (we gave up after four weeks) and we didn’t figure out until he was 18 months and not talking that he had severe apraxia that interfered with his speech and ability to eat solid food. Point being this sounds more like correlation than causation (babies destined for future speech issues may be less likely to nurse for an extended period).

        • toofargone
          December 8, 2014 at 9:25 am #

          Exactly! My daughter found nursing difficult. I enended up supplementing much sooner than I did with my first because of her poor weight gain. She plumped right up after that. She has had articulation problems since she started speaking. She is four years old, some people still can’t understand her. And poor kid, people ask her her name and it is so hard for her to say it. The |k| sound is one of the toughest for her and then she tries to say Clara, it’s a mess. She gets so frustrated but is finally making progress. I certainly wish breastfeeding helped.

    • Bugsy
      December 3, 2014 at 3:09 pm #

      Wow, just wow.

      “They would normally keep nursing after a year, and at that point you get more bang for your buck, because the milk gets more concentrated.” I’ve never heard this before, and frankly, doubt its accuracy. My breastfed little guy, like yours, gained little weight between 6-9 months. It was only when we switched GPs at 18 months that someone finally realized a 2-lb weight gain in a year wasn’t healthy (and pushed me to up his solids).

      No, no, no, no, no…..

    • December 3, 2014 at 11:17 pm #

      You don’t need to have a birth plan for hubby to do skin to skin in the event of a c section. My son spent his first hour of life snuggled against his father’s bare chest and our only birth plan was a “joke” one that requested unicorns and glitter. My only regret is that no one snapped a picture.

  12. OttawaAlison
    December 3, 2014 at 10:04 am #

    I’ll write up some stuff and send it to you.

  13. December 3, 2014 at 4:58 am #

    My hospital regularly transfers in babies who were born at home. The question is always, “On purpose?” If I had to guess right here and now, I’d stay we have at least 1 baby a week who was born at home because the mom didn’t have the resources to make it to the hospital. I’d say we have about 1 baby a month who is a failed home-birth attempt who has to come in and deliver. I’d say every couple months we have a mom/baby brought in after a homebith due to complications.

    Obviously, the moms in group one are vastly different than the moms in group 2/3. I’m thinking it may be interesting to jot down some thoughts surrounding my perspective on past interactions with both groups. The extreme fear and then relief experienced by the moms unable (and I mean truly unable…no support, no transportation, no resources) to make it to the hospital vs. the attitudes of the moms and midwives who reluctantly and begrudgingly seek medical attention that was available to them the whole time.

  14. Amy M
    December 2, 2014 at 9:19 pm #

    Not sure if its really what you are looking for, but I’ll send a short summary of my experience with the NCB group that I accidentally hung around with for a few months when I was pregnant/on maternity leave. I didn’t really feel ashamed or anything, but I didn’t realize people like that existed in real life.

  15. Bugsy
    December 2, 2014 at 8:59 pm #

    Will gladly share with you my experience losing a friend of 25 years when she became sucked up in lactivism, mommy martyrism and the quest to become the “perfect parent.” I miss her on a daily basis, but don’t miss the shame, guilt and self-righteousness she attempted to inject into my life.

    • Samantha06
      December 3, 2014 at 8:56 pm #

      It’s so hurtful when you have to end a friendship of such long duration. I understand how you feel. One of my best friends has become a bit of a religious fanatic over the past 15 years or so and about 7 years ago, I put my foot down with her when she was really trying to ram it down my throat. We had a blow-out and didn’t have any contact for over a year, then we were able to mend things, but I am firm with her about my boundaries. I do feel grateful for that, but it’s not always possible.

      • DiomedesV
        December 3, 2014 at 11:00 pm #

        It’s even worse when they’re family. Some religious people get more fanatical with age, and less able to put their own behavior in perspective. I don’t feel as comfortable ending relationships with family as friends. Very frustrating.

        • Samantha06
          December 4, 2014 at 10:39 am #

          So true.. you can’t choose your family like you can choose your friends..

      • Bugsy
        December 4, 2014 at 9:31 am #

        Wow, I’m sorry for what you’ve been through as well. It does hurt when it’s a long-time friend. I’ve repeatedly reached out so that we can be at a more peaceful distance, but she’s refused all contact with me.

        The hardest part for me is that I have been suffering from pretty low self-esteem, and invariably spend way too much time worried about how I could have hurt her. Never mind that her activism over the past few years – not to mention her willingly cutting out a long-term friend in favour of this activism – is demonstrative of someone I shouldn’t want anywhere near my life.

        • Samantha06
          December 4, 2014 at 10:37 am #

          How awful for you. It is a blow to your self-esteem. There’s so much invested in a good friendship and I think it’s so hard to imagine why things so south. I totally understand why you would blame yourself. I’ve done that too. It’s hard to face the fact that they have made the choice to behave the way they do, and for me, I think I felt like she was brainwashed and there was nothing I could do about it. I think the rejection of my own feelings and beliefs in favor of the “cult mentality” is so hurtful. 🙁

          • Bugsy
            December 4, 2014 at 11:12 am #

            Yes, very true. It’s hard to accept the fact that they’ve willingly chosen this lifestyle, even if it seems to us like brainwashing. I beat myself up feeling like perhaps the problem is that I’m not accepting enough her “alternative” path – particularly when I know she perceives it as being so wonderful and inspiring.

            As a long-time friend, however, I see the severe negatives that attachment parenting and activism have brought to her life (that I think she completely overlooks)…and how these ideals negatively affect my mommy hood path as a result. That’s the part that intellectually I know I don’t have the space for, even though I haven’t come to terms with it emotionally yet.

          • Samantha06
            December 4, 2014 at 1:02 pm #

            Exactly. I get the same thing too. It’s very hard to watch someone you are close to get sucked in to extremism and superficiality.You just shake your head and think, how did this happen? I felt the same way about accepting my friend’s way of thinking. It’s definitely a loss and the grief process is so painful. And, I started realizing that maybe I had changed too, but in a healthy way. I realized that for years, I had gone along with all her beliefs, unquestioning, and while for the most part they aligned with mine, I think she expected me to go along with the religious thing too. When I didn’t, and I said, no I don’t feel that way, she couldn’t accept it.

          • Bugsy
            December 4, 2014 at 5:31 pm #

            I really appreciate your words of wisdom, Samantha. It helps to hear from someone who has been in almost an identical situation, and the perspective you offer is really healthy. Thanks so much!

          • Samantha06
            December 4, 2014 at 7:52 pm #

            You are most welcome! 🙂 I think it helps to hear someone else’s experiences with a similar situation, just to hear a different perspective and to know you are not alone!

  16. December 2, 2014 at 6:44 pm #

    Thanks for the kick in the pants I’ve needed to finally write my experience being shunned by my “supportive” circle of friends

    • staceyjw
      December 2, 2014 at 7:10 pm #

      You should put ” around friends too.
      Some friends they were.

    • Karen in SC
      December 2, 2014 at 10:06 pm #

      Please do, I love your writings!

  17. Bombshellrisa
    December 2, 2014 at 6:30 pm #

    Would an experience with a neonatologist in a hospital trying for baby friendly status be considered? It involves breastfeeding-it was the only part of my hospital experience with my son that I was unhappy about.

  18. PeepnBiscuitsRN
    December 2, 2014 at 5:32 pm #

    I’d be happy to share my son’s birth story and the perspectives I also have as an RN who works in Maternal Child!

    • Amy Tuteur, MD
      December 2, 2014 at 6:25 pm #


      • Guest
        December 2, 2014 at 6:47 pm #

        Perhaps a suggested word limit for your more loquacious commenters? So many thoughts to share and so few pages!

        • araikwao
          December 2, 2014 at 8:40 pm #

          I fear I would become extremely loquacious if I started writing it all down!

          • Karen in SC
            December 2, 2014 at 10:06 pm #

            If I’m not mistaken, that’s what editors are for!

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