The human body according to natural parenting advocates

Pregnant woman in anatomical position anterior view with clippin

In the world of natural parenting, every day is opposite day.

Whatever the doctor says is wrong and that leaves advocates in a paradoxical situation. On the one hand, nothing in the human body works right: it absorbs toxins, is sensitive to gluten, has a weak immune system, and must be treated on a regular basis with supplements, cleanses, coffee enemas, homeopathy, cranio sacral therapy, reiki, etc. etc. etc.

On other hand, anything connected with reproduction always works perfectly. The uterus grows the perfect size baby for the perfect amount of time; the baby fits through the pelvis without difficulty; and the breasts produced the perfect amount of milk without pain or problems, complete with all the antibodies that a baby needs.

See what I mean?

Pregnant woman in anatomical position anterior view with clippin

Does it make sense that a body that is so weak that it can’t even detoxify itself and is incapacitated by a whiff of gluten can grow a perfectly sized baby for the perfect amount of time and nourish it through breastmilk for years on end?

It doesn’t make sense to me, but perhaps natural parenting advocates can enlighten us:

What’s the evidence that the human body works perfectly in every aspect of pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding, but fails miserably at simply surviving day to day?

I can’t wait to read your responses!

  • Lion

    oh this just made my day.

  • Fabi

    Loved it!!!! Thanks for posting it!

  • PrimaryCareDoc

    So, so true!!

  • Daleth

    This is hilarious. Thanks for posting.

  • Bugsy

    Great post.

    As I approach L&D with #2, I keep coming back to the deliveries of my cousins around the time I was expecting #1. Three cousins, three problematic deliveries. One had a RCS at 35 weeks following pre-term labor. Another hemorrhaged after birth. Another’s baby got stuck and had a stroke. Thankfully all were having hospital births, and all (including the babies) were fine.

    After hearing about their experiences, I refuse to be arrogant enough to assume that I am above – or have made the choices that make me better than – the births they have had.

    #1’s L&D was pretty easy after a difficult third trimester. It wasn’t because of me. It just…was. I still darn well appreciated knowing that I had full medical care surrounding me should it have changed.

  • Amy

    Sadly, I can probably tell you what they’ll say in response before even reading through all the comments.

    Everything “wrong” with the human body isn’t because the human body isn’t magical and self-healing but our own faults– toxins in from using conventional cleaning and grooming products and wearing any fibers other than organic cotton, digestive system issues from eating a “bad” diet. Depending on whom you’re talking to, though, the “right” diet could vary: vegan, raw vegan, paleo, gluten-free….who knows what the next fad will be. Meanwhile, in order to meet all the different dietary requirements, you end up being able to eat nothing but raw greens, maybe juiced (cold press, of course) with celery, one apple, and some lemon juice. Your misaligned bones are because your mother didn’t do yoga or Webster chiropractic while she was pregnant with you.

    Meanwhile, the above can also be used to explain all the women who can’t have a painless orgasmic vaginal birth with no tearing followed by a blissful four years of nursing, elimination communication, and co-sleeping. Women who “fail” at this have only themselves to blame– they didn’t eat the right diet, were too sedentary during pregnancy, trusted their doctors too much, didn’t see the right chiropractor or take the right herbs.

    • Megan

      God, I am so much happier and well-rested now that I’ve “failed” at breastfeeding and cosleeping…

      • Andrei Chira

        I’ll be honest, my wife and I co-sleep with our daughter, but it’s cause it’s easier to get kicked in the rib occasionally than wake up every couple of hours and try to get her back to sleep. None of this “it’s better for her” mumbo-jumbo.

        • Sarah

          Yeah, I co-sleep whenever the alternative is doing some nighttime parenting.

        • Laura

          We co-sleep, but only because we get (slightly) more sleep that way.

  • Brian

    There are no right answers to wrong questions. It seems you truly are disinterested in any other point of view but the standard financially based medical dogma.

    “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!” U Sinclair

    Keep encouraging people to eat processed crap, take dangerous meds and have their babies surgically removed on your schedule.

    • Amy

      Uh, she’s not doing any of what you claim she is.

      I eat a completely natural diet consisting almost entirely of whole unprocessed foods– Dr. Amy has never given me or anyone else crap about that. What she does is call people on the carpet for making unscientific claims about such a diet.

      She doesn’t encourage anyone to take any particular meds, since she’s no longer practicing medicine. What she does is go after people who make unscientific claims about “natural” therapies, especially if they’re claiming said natural therapies are empirically better than modern medicine.

      She doesn’t encourage c-sections for convenience, either. She encourages women to communicate with their doctors and certified nurse-midwives about what decisions during pregnancy and birth will be SAFEST for all involved.

    • Rosalind Dalefield

      Strawman Argument much?

    • The Computer Ate My Nym

      If eating organic foods and having babies naturally is the solution to all health problems why did people in the Bronze Age, who did all those things, tend to live only to 30 or so?

    • demodocus

      Funny, my ob only recommended taking an iron supplement and avoiding too much weight gain, and he stayed 6 hours after his shift change to make sure I delivered my passenger safe and sound, and vaginally.
      He did suggest his favorite spice to go into our 4 bean mild chili at one point. The allspice was quite tasty.

      • Bugsy

        Mine, too. My doc w/ #1 never encouraged me to eat poorly, use meds that were dangerous (for me or the babe) or have the baby surgically removed. Neither has my new OB for #2. Go figure.

    • Daleth

      FYI, Dr. Tuteur is retired, and doesn’t sell any products or services. (Check the whole website–you won’t see an ad, which is more than can be said for most natural birth/alternative healing practitioners’ websites.) She retired something like 15 years ago to be a full-time mother to her four kids.

      So your “financially based medical dogma” point is completely wrong.

      • nomofear

        She does have ads, but they’re unobtrusive. You may have an ad blocker app that hides them 🙂 personally, I try to remember to click one every once in a while just to support the site. Google ads certainly won’t make her a bill Gates!

    • Roadstergal

      Good thing there are no financial incentives to motivate supplement manufacturers, chiropractors, homebirth midwives, natural healing gurus, the organic food industry… oh, wait.

    • Laura

      Dr. Tuteur doesn’t encourage those things. She’s speaking out against the dogma in the “natural” movement–you know, doing things “natural” at all costs.

      And for the record, she had all four of her children vaginally and breastfed them. Not that it’s any of your business what she’s done with her body, of course 😉

    • Who?

      What’s the better question, then?

      And I’d agree, financial incentives are powerful-just look at the health food industry, the chiro/homeopathy/osteo industry, the supplement industry: all making a fortune, literally, selling thin air to the worried well. More concerningly they sometimes also rope in the actually ill, take credit when they get better on their own, or blame them for not following the protocols well enough if they don’t.

      Show me one line where Dr T encourages any of what you suggest: she encourages sharing all the information, and informed choice and consent, which seems hard to argue with unless, as the seller, you have something to hide.

  • Felicitasz

    WHAT AN INTERESTING QUESTION!!! (Sorry about all the capitals, I really feel like shouting.)
    I love this, I will think about all the implications.

  • Adelaide GP

    Absolutely spot on , haha! Love it !! There could be some other variations : Lazy pancreas, leaky gut, adrenal fatigue, systemic candidiasis, MTHR genes, copper in eyes, spinal subluxations!! If it weren’t for all the woo practitioners that know how to treat these problems, we would all be doomed surely .

    • Laura

      Lazy pancreas is a thing now? That’s one I haven’t heard before.

  • JJ

    I LOVE this! I see the natural view as a way to blame women for when things don’t work perfectly with reproduction. If you shell out huge amounts of money and time towards organic, detoxing, homeopathy ect. then the reproduction part will work perfectly. The only reason they don’t work now is because we are not living pure enough like the good old days! If you can’t have a vaginal birth or breastfeed then you did not try hard enough. Not enough chiro visits, kale,or you let a GMO slip by. (People with cancer seem to be treated the same as well.)

    • demodocus

      When my mother was dying, an acquaintance asked me if Mom drank a lot of soda (as in Coca Cola) ’cause she’d heard it was a contributing factor in pancreatic cancer.
      eta: I don’t talk to that person anymore

      • ersmom

        My dad was in hospice for lung cancer and some idiot cousin asked us if we had tried gelatin to cure him.

        • demodocus

          sheesh. If jello worked, nobody’d be sick in a hospital!

          • DelphiniumFalcon

            There’s certainly be no cancer in Utah!

            So much jello… Carrots do not belong in jello…

          • Roadstergal

            Or Minnesota. Home of the Cancer Prevention Lutheran Pot Luck!

          • demodocus

            okay, that genuinely made me shudder

          • Eater of Worlds

            I bet mayo in green jello with carrots, raisins, celery and pineapple makes you drool when you think of it.

            And not because you’re about to vomit.

          • demodocus

            eww

          • Laura

            Then that means my father-in-law isn’t dead anymore! Jello cured his cancer!

            Oh wait…. 🙁

      • Bugsy

        Glad to hear you cut that person out.

        One of the reasons why I stopped interacting w/ my all-natural friend was reading their posts on how their incredible juicing machine made them immune to cancer…unknowingly while my father was dealing w/ prostate cancer. He’s fine now, but no thanks.

        • demodocus

          The one comment of hers that really got to me was her insistence that nobody on the continent of Africa had any civilization the Greeks didn’t invent. You can tell with Aksum (now in Ethiopia), because the folks there “are so beautiful” like classical greek statues, apparently.
          I most certainly do not want whatever the heck she’s smoking.

          • DelphiniumFalcon

            …she does realize that Egypt is in Africa, right?

          • demodocus

            I’m not sure. The world was only created 5000 years ago, too, ya know.

          • DelphiniumFalcon

            Aaaaaand that is the cherry on top. Never mind that Egypt’s Old Kingdom fits well into that 5,000 years if we’re going to entertain that nonsense!

          • demodocus

            Lets just say she and I disagree on many things, like evidence.

      • mythsayer

        I have some kind of autoimmune disease and I’ve had people ask me what I eat (because carbs cause inflammation doncha know?). It makes me screaming mad. They don’t realize how offensive it is to imply I did this to myself and have no desire to get better.

      • Tiffany Aching

        Wow, this is incredible. Pancreatic cancer is so brutal and so violent, I am really sorry that your mother had to go through that, and that you had to listen to such insensitive, stupid bullshit.
        On a related note, one of my friends recently lost his mother to pancreatic cancer, and had a very hard time accepting that she fell ill, because “she lead a healthy life, exercised, ate right, never smoked or drank, I don’t understand how it is possible she had cancer”. The “your body is naturally healthy if you take good care of it” trope fuels magical thinking, and I think make it harder for many people to come to terms with the fact that sometimes life sucks, and bad things happen to good people.

        • demodocus

          It does indeed. Whether a person never did any thing unhealthy, or everything, cancer don’t care.

    • Bugsy

      ….which gets carried over right to the all-natural parenting. If you raise your kid on enough organic kale and non-GMO products, he/she will turn out perfect. If not, blame the mom who obviously didn’t try hard enough.

    • DelphiniumFalcon

      All that eat healthy now and while pregnant or you’ll doom your child to illness BS haunted my great grandmother until her dementia progressed to where she couldn’t remember anymore. It was so sad.

      Her oldest daughter died of breast cancer and my great grandmother blamed herself for it happening. This daughter was born during the depression where fresh greens and good food in general was scarce. Picking up roadkill to use for several days scarce. She was absolutely convinced that if she had eaten better during that pregnancy that her daughter would still be alive. No one could convince her otherwise.

      These people would have latched on to her and just reinforced her fears and made her guilt worse. All in the name of selling their snake oil.

      • Roadstergal

        That is just unconscionable. 🙁 🙁

  • AirPlant

    I always heard the arguments as “I acknowlege that there is a certain percentage chance that a person will experience problems, but there is a zero percent chance that you are in that percentage. Also personal circumstances are irrelevant in all cases.”

    • Sarah

      “Put the baby to the breast more” is a great example. Is breastfeeding still not working for you? Put the baby to the breast more. There is no quantitative threshold of “Ok, clearly that isn’t working. Let’s try something else now.”

      • AirPlant

        It is like training for a marathon. Obviously everyone can do it if they just don’t stop running. People might try to scare you with stories of torn ligaments, heart attacks or dehydration but how would the human race have survived if people weren’t capible of running long distances?

        • Montserrat Blanco

          Mmmmmm my experience running is somewhat different…

          • AirPlant

            (please say you know I was being sarcastic)

          • Montserrat Blanco

            I know. I was being sarcastic too…

          • Montserrat Blanco

            Plus I am a runner myself. I know too much about torn ligaments, dehydration, hyponatremia and exhaustion.

        • Zornorph

          Of course, the first person to run a marathon dropped dead at the end of it!

          • AirPlant

            Shh! They didn’t trust running.

  • violinwidow

    Well, it’s obvious to me. Mother Nature put all of her energy into the reproductive system and threw in the towel when it came to all that other stuff.

    • Montserrat Blanco

      Mmmmm… My experience with reproduction is somewhat different…

  • Sarah

    You just need one big arrow pointing to all of it that says “Intolerant to peer-reviewed scientific studies.”

  • The Bofa on the Sofa

    You forgot how eyes aren’t always perfect and vision needs correcting.

    • DelphiniumFalcon

      They just didn’t trust their lenses enough and stunted their proper growth curvature.

      Colorblind people’s mothers just didn’t eat enough red and green organic fruits and vegetables while pregnant.

  • Amy M

    They think its mitochondrial disorders (caused by toxins), leaky gut (gluten), asthma (epigenetic changes via Csection), and autism (vaccines). Oh and let’s not forget mental health: CIO. In their minds, the cause of every disease or disorder is environmental and, most importantly, preventable. So if any of these crops up, it is definitely mom’s fault, for failing to prevent it.

    • Sarah

      I didn’t realize until recently that mitochondrial disorders were a thing natural parenting advocates regularly discussed.

      If I understand correctly, rare genetic disorders are being co-opted by people who don’t understand them properly in order to further their own agendas? Because that’s pretty disgusting.

      • Amy M

        Yep, that’s about the size of it. I saw a meme that was posted on a facebook page called motherwise (I hadn’t heard of this page until this week–its the mecca of NCB crazy). It suggested that parents/to-be spend their time researching things like “the risks of formula” and mitochondrial and demyelination disorders, instead of which crib or stroller to buy.

        Just coincidentally, demyelination/remyelination is central to my work, so in order not to roll my eyes so hard I lose them, I did not try to find out what, exactly, they think causes it or how it works. I don’t know anything about mitochondrial disorders, however I am convinced that eating gluten or whatever bugaboo they worry about has nothing to do with it.

        • Montserrat Blanco

          All the mitochondrial disorders i know are purely genetic. The degree of the disease varies between different people due to not very well known factors (as with most of genetic diseases) but the cause is purely genetic.

  • Deborah

    It’s the modern world. If we lived like cavemen it would all be perfect.

    • attitude devant

      It’s all the chemicals. Like the dihydrogen monoxide they use these days. If you look at labels, it’s the first thing on many prepared foods! And at Starbucks they even thermally agitate that stuff—nobody likes to talk about it, but I’ve heard that people get burned by it!

      • Amy

        I actually did the DHMO “controversy” as a lesson with one of my classes last week as an example of the importance of critical thinking and checking out everything you read. They’re sixteen; they got it in the time it took to unpack the chemical nomenclature and see what we were really dealing with.

        Then they all laughed.

      • DelphiniumFalcon

        It’s awful stuff! I still have the burn scars from being forced to use it at Starbucks!

    • Who?

      For 20 years, then we’d die.

      I’ll take a longer crack at it, thanks all the same!