Birth, the way nature intended it to be!

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Natural childbirth advocates are like preschoolers who when asked where eggs come from answer, “the store.”

Only a preschooler or a natural childbirth advocates could imagine nonsense such as that from Pathways to Wellness Family Magazine:

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]The idea that nature intended childbirth to be safe is hilarious … and deadly.[/pullquote]

Natural birth doesn’t add anything to the birth experience. It is the way that the birth experience was intended to be. It doesn’t benefit the baby. It doesn’t benefit the mother. It doesn’t bring short-term or long term benefits. It is where we set out human standard. Anything other than this is deviating from the way we were intended to be.

The author appears to think that anything other than unmedicated vaginal birth deviates from “the way we were intended to be.”

The idea that homebirth in a plastic kiddie pool is what nature intended is hilarious.

Here’s what nature really intended:

Age at first birth: 16-18
Years since menarche: less than 1
Life expectancy: 35 years
Maternal mortality: 1 per 100
Lifetime birth risk: 1 in 13
Neonatal mortality: 7 per 100
Number of children: 8-10

Nature also intended:

Miscarriage rate: 20%
Prematurity rate: 12%
Stillbirth rate: 1.9%

How did natural childbirth advocates get the idea that nature intended birth to be safe? They got the idea in the same way that 3 year olds get the idea that eggs come from the store: that’s what their personal experience tells them. Three year olds assume that their personal experience is the beginning and the end of what is possible. Natural childbirth advocates assume that the present safety of childbirth is the beginning and end of what is possible. But they’re not three years old; they ought to know better.

Childbirth seems to be safe for one and only one reason: because the widespread use of childbirth interventions has made it safe. Those are the very same interventions that they deem to be unnecessary.

Claiming that childbirth interventions aren’t needed to protect the lives of pregnant women and their babies is the intellectual equivalent of pretending that chickens aren’t needed for eggs since the eggs can be found at the grocery store. Of course, there’s one big difference. Believing that eggs come from the grocery store is charming; believing that childbirth is safe without routine interventions is deadly.

  • T Donovan

    I am grateful for the medical intervention I received with all my pregnancies – my water broke before I was in any kind of real labor with each one. 100 years ago and both baby and I would probably have died. As it was I was induced each time and had 3 healthy babies at birth. Read the childbirth mortality statistics for countries outside the industrialized world and you will see what happens without “intervention” in a pregnancy, labor or delivery.

  • suburbancuurmudgeon

    An experience from 4 months ago. I’m a locum tenens physician and was covering a long-term client the week before Christmas. Some guy brings in his nulliparous wife saying, “she needs an epidural so we can go back home and push this baby out.” Turns out she’d been laboring at home and pushing since contractions started. The head was asynclitic, -2 station and I thought she needed a Cesarean. He disagreed and didn’t like it when I said, “You came to the hospital for my expertise, not to tell me what to do.”

    I managed to get another physician to take care of her; someone with far smaller hands than I who manipulated the head but still let her push for about 5 hours. I’ve no doubt they would have been eager to sue had the outcome been less than desirable.

    And once again, I said, “I’m getting too old for this sh*t.”

    • Melaniexxxx

      Yeah…. NO.
      An epidural isn’t just something you can pop in and get before heading home like a frikkin muffin with your takeaway coffee. lololol. Also – who is HE to disagree? It’s her body ffs. Her opinion is the only one that matters

    • Poogles

      ” “she needs an epidural so we can go back home and push this baby out.”‘

      These people think they understand epidurals enough to make an informed decision against them, but don’t even understand enough to know you can’t just get it and take it home with you, smdh.

  • ObiWan Kenobi

    If there’s one thing that annoys me about the natural birth craze it’s lay person usage of the term “intervention”. An intervention is a skill, one that cannot even be ordered by someone with less than a medical degree or performed by someone with less than a nursing license.

    “I want to avoid any interventions so I’m laboring at home as long as I can and hiring a doula to advocate for me so I can decrease my risk of needing a c-section” – That’s cool, so I guess changing position when your baby starts having late decels (if you’re even monitoring FHR at home) is out of the question, right? Because that’s an intervention. How about some pit to stop a hemorrhage? Or are you just going to wait for your newborn to breast crawl to your nipples and induce uterine contractions naturally while suckling colostrum during your “golden hour” of skin to skin?

    And anyway, what are all of these woo-canoes even doing on the internet “researching” their perfect birth plan? Shouldn’t they be out in a wooded area someplace, finding a dark and secluded cave to bring their baby earth side in?

  • Elizabeth Neely

    mother nature is not at all kind, she is a mean bitch, and do not get on her bad side.

  • Rachele Willoughby

    “Intended”

    By who exactly? Can we please stop anthropomorphizing evolution already? “Mother Nature” isn’t a literal entity, people.

    • Charybdis

      Yes, yes she is! She had a commercial back in the 70’s about how it’s not nice to fool her. If she’s not real, how did they get her to be in a commercial? /sarcasm

  • Roadstergal

    Birth – liveblogged, YouTubed, and Facebooked, the way nature intended:
    http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/03/08/dont-post-about-me-on-social-media-children-say/

    • suburbancuurmudgeon

      And now we have patient assisted Cesarean section. Time for me to retire.

  • graysmama

    I will never understand the obsession with the perfect “natural” birth that these women have. Nature would have killed me and it would have killed my son thanks to preeclampsia. Instead I had a doctor who monitored my condition and sent me to the hospital for induction at 36 weeks because I was getting worse. I had a hospital who performed an emergency c section after 24 hours when I failed to dilate and continued getting sicker. Thanks to my “unnatural” child birth I have a happy and healthy 6 year old son and will be having my second baby in August. She’ll be born through a scheduled repeat c section and I still have the same doctor because I trust him and don’t think I would be here had it not been for the medical care I received.

    • suburbancuurmudgeon

      Twenty-some years ago I had a patient, fourth pregnancy, who had an amniotic fluid embolism with DIC. We emptied out the hospital blood bank and then emptied out the local Red Cross before a hysterectomy and intensive care saved her life.

  • Imogen

    I don’t understand how people can be so blinkered as to ignore statistics like these. Advocates of “natural” birth always have anecdotal evidence, usually from their own families, of superwomen from generations ago home birthing twelve babies with no stillbirths, crib deaths, or miscarriages. But examples like that are so statistically rare. It doesn’t mean it’s impossible to have a healthy baby as the result of unassisted birth, just like not getting vaccinated doesn’t mean you will definitely get measles. But why would you risk it? The natural birth industry is an embarrassing product of unchecked wealthy white privilege. (Says the wealthy white woman). We’re so lucky to have the access we have. We should be working to make that access more widespread, not working against it.

  • canaduck

    I had to read the image twice to realise that it was serious and not some sort of snarky response to natural birth idiocy. What an absolutely bizarre philosophy.

  • Mariana Baca

    It is possible these people are perfectly genuine, they just believe in eugenics. 🙁

    • Guest

      Yes. The only logical reason for pushing women to have unassisted home births with no medical intervention is population control. Give the tallest, smartest, strongest, most beautiful people access to hospitals and antenatal tests and see how long it takes for the short and ugly among us to slowly die out.

      • Who?

        Funny but my two tallest and most beautiful friends, who are both athletic and strong, would be dead if they had their babies the old fashioned way, without assistance. One had three big and stubbornly breech babies, and narrow hips, thanks cs x 3; the other had a major bleed after her each of her second and third deliveries, which required sorting out in theatre. And she was pretty unwell after her first (quick, unmedicated, normal until it went wrong) delivery.

    • Roadstergal

      Which isn’t even rational. Even granting them a lot of things that just ain’t so, there is no one direction evolution is pushed in, and childbirth is one of the primo examples of competing pressures. Bigger heads, bigger brain, survival advantage for the baby when grown, but do a D&D dice roll for being born successfully. Narrower hips, better running, chase down that prey and live longer, but do a D&D dice roll for getting your baby out successfully.

      When we allow more children to be born successfully, we increase diversity, which is the raw material of evolution.

  • Kq

    It has no benefit to anyone! And you’re a failure if you don’t because reasons!

    Seems legit.

  • Lizz

    Sometimes I want to offer to look up these women’s genealogy for them so they can flip through and see all of the dead and injured people every time they get these ideas in their heads. I realize it might not do much though since they crossed over into full immersion natural fallacy territory awhile ago.

  • Dr Kitty

    Ah, nature…

    My maternal grandfather, born in Germany at 34 weeks in 1899, spent the first weeks of his life literally wrapped in cotton wool in a shoe box beside the hearth, being fed with an eye dropper. He lost one brother fighting in the trenches of World War 1, and the other brother in the camps in World War 2. He was the baby that “wasn’t meant to live”, and the only one of his family with descendants still living.

    My maternal grandmother, who lost her mother to Spanish ‘flu, her father to TB and nearly died herself on more than one occasion (cerebral malaria to name just one) celebrated her 100th birthday this year. Of course, she doesn’t know this, because she has dementia- a perfectly natural consequence of defying death for that long.

    My paternal grandmother lost her second and third children as newborns due to HDN. The perfectly natural consequence of a Rhesus negative woman having children with a Rhesus positive man in the days before Anti-D. My father, her fourth child, survived only because he was lucky enough to be O negative.

    “The way nature intended” is something to be happily opted out of on many occasions, not romanticised as a higher ideal.

    • MaineJen

      My great-grandmother lost 4 of her 9(?) children due to rh incompatibility. They died shortly before or after birth, nothing anyone could do. “Blue babies,” they called them. My grandmother was one of the babies who was “supposed” to die, she was rh+, by some miracle they managed to keep her alive by wrapping her and warming her on the oven door while the stove was on (at least, that’s how the story went…). Great-grandmother refused to let her die; she had just months before lost her three year old daughter to pertussis.

      Ah, the good old days.

      • prudentplanner

        I’ve heard some people say that labor pain is “eve’s curse” but I don’t think labor pains are even comparable to watching your 3 year old die of Whooping Cough; so I guess the real curse is being doomed to conceive and birth babies with a 50% child mortality rate [for 99% of human history].

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          Rather OT, but oddly enough (she says sarcastically) I’ve never met the person who simultaneously believed that women should go through NCB because of Eve’s curse *and* that men should only work at physical labor type jobs because they’re supposed to earn their keep by the sweat of their brow. Funny, that…

          • MichelleJo

            Well, historically, physical labor *was* the only way to stay alive. Every person had to provide food and clothes for their family by producing them. I think it is taking it a bit out of context to say that the curse was that men should only work at physical labor vs less labor intensive work. The curse was that they had to work at all. As the story is told in Genesis, previously, they could just collect ready grown food in the garden of eden.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Every so often, you’ll (“you” in the general, not specific sense) encounter people, usually of a more…fundamentalist…stripe, who insist that women shouldn’t have pain relief because of the reference to pain in childbirth in Genesis, but ignore the specific, corresponding injunction to Adam that he’ll earn bread by the sweat of his brow. It seems to me that if you’re going to interpret the first verse entirely literally and as an undismissable order, surely the second applies as well?
            (FWIW, as a Christian, I quite agree with you on the interpretation you gave; I’m merely suggesting that the interpretation I described above is *ahem* less than consistent.)

          • MichelleJo

            Got you.

          • Phoenix Fourleaf

            That is a very good point.

        • Azuran

          But birth is also painful for most animals. So either the Eve curse is bogus, or that snake was really busy.

          • demodocus

            I like the idea that the snake was busy 😉

      • Platos_Redhaired_Stepchild

        Huh, I had a great-grandmother with a very similar history to yours. We never knew what killed grandpa’s siblings. Just that they turned blue and died shortly after birth.

        Grandpa was the first baby that lived because Great-grandpa got a better paying job and could afford to take Great-grandma to a hospital with these newfangled contraptions called “incubators”. Previously, Great-Grandma only had a midwife for assistance at home and all her babies died.

  • Amy

    Nature intended me to be functionally blind. Without my glasses or contact lenses, I can barely see more than a few inches beyond the end of my nose. In the wild, I’d be dead pretty quickly.

  • yentavegan

    women who require no medical intervention for labor and birth are genetically superior only so far as their reproductive organs go. There are meth addicted mountain dew guzzling barely literates who can birth out robust infants at the rate of one per year. So what?

    • Rachele Willoughby

      Well, evolutionarily that makes them highly successful…

      • yentavegan

        re;idiocracy the movie

        • Rachele Willoughby

          Although, to be fair, the success of these infants often depends on the evil man made dead powder ™, so I’m not sure that they’re properly alive anyway.

          • Megan

            Like zombie babies? I see a movie trailer here somewhere…

          • EmbraceYourInnerCrone

            one of the first episodes of Z Nation features a zombie baby….

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      I like Mountain Dew…

      • yentavegan

        why am i not surprised?

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          Maybe because I’ve said it before, and you are just remembering.

          • DelphiniumFalcon

            Oh hey I have Code Monkey stuck in my head now?

            Do you also like Fritos and Tab?

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Funyuns (remember: Funyuns and Mountain Dew, the High School Breakfast of Champions). And Twizzlers.

          • Bombshellrisa

            Can’t with the Twizzlers but Mountain Dew is tasty. It also goes into the glaze my mom puts on apple dumplings and that is really yummy.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            However, do NOT try a Mountain Dew float. Bad, bad, bad!

          • Bombshellrisa

            Worse than chocolate Pepsi?

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Chocolate isn’t a bad mix with colas, on the whole. With caramel, as Roadstergal notes above

          • Bombshellrisa

            I have only sipped a chocolate Pepsi, and it was at Sonic so I am not entirely sure I DON’T like them. It might just have been an off day for me.
            But what is a Mountain Dew float???

          • Who?

            I’m guessing it is what we call a spider, icecream with the soft drink poured over it.

            I really liked them as a child, but success was dependent on the mix of flavours. Never having had Mountain Dew, I really couldn’t comment. But I did like Sunkist (orange, not so syrupy as Fanta) with vanilla, provided it was the cheap, not so creamy, icecream.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Oh for sure. Orange and grape floats work, as will coke or pepsi. And of course root beer.

            The key is all these will work with vanilla.

            MD does not work

          • Who?

            Grape? Root beer? It’s like there’s another country out there, with its own ways.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Root beer float is the classic version!

          • Charybdis

            They are also tasty with strawberry soda and vanilla ice cream. As Bofa says, root beer is the classic version.

            Then there are the adult versions: a cream soda, peach schnapps and vanilla ice cream float. Midori and Mountain Dew is pretty good poured over lime sherbet or lemon sherbet if you can find it.

          • Who?

            Strawberry soda? Have you all gone mad with decadence over there?

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            I find strawberry soda to be awfully sweet, even for me.

          • Charybdis

            Yes. Strawberry soda is a very powerful, evocative early childhood memory for me. It takes me to a place of hazy sunshine, soft blankets and comfort.

          • Phoenix Fourleaf

            We used to drink something called “red pop”. I’m not entirely sure what it was supposed to be, but I think strawberry might have been a part of it.

          • Bombshellrisa

            We have a XXX Drive in and it has the best floats I have ever tasted. I did Cheerwine floats last summer and those were delicious. I need to experiment with different sodas and vanilla ice cream.

          • Roadstergal

            *barf*

            We have Humphrey Slocombe locally that makes floats with Secret Breakfast (bourbon-infused) ice cream, Coke, and bourbon caramel. They’re amazing.

  • moto_librarian

    Yeah, well, I gave birth the way nature intended. And it damn near killed me. I was more than happy to “deviate from the way we were intended to be” with our second child. In my opinion, the epidural is one of the greatest advances ever in modern medicine, and I was happy to have it since it definitely benefited me!

  • Gatita

    Confessions of a radical doula. This one hits alllll the squares on the bingo card. See choice quote below.

    Obstetric violence is the last culturally acceptable form of violence against women.

    • Sean Jungian

      Hoo boy.

    • yentavegan

      obstetric violence?! See how cleverly the radical doula can put together two heretofore unrelated words to create a problem /issue that only she and her ilk can remedy?

    • MaineJen

      THese two passages are particularly interesting:
      “Leah walks us through basic hospital regulation: induction, triage, rotating nurses, hospital gowns, nothing to eat or drink, timed labor. How to outwit them?”
      “Look, Leah concedes. The first intervention is leaving your house. The next intervention is putting on a hospital gown.”
      This is how doulas are trained, ladies and gentlemen.

      • AirPlant

        I love the idea of a doula, particularly for non-scientifically minded women, but OMG why do they all have to be such freaking twits?

        • MaineJen

          What really alarms me is that they are being taught to *actively circumvent* what the doctors and nurses are trying to do. Because a doula may or may not have any actual medical training or knowledge, that means they may be trying to circumvent actions (like restriction of food/drink) that have good reasoning behind them, but the doula just doesn’t understand it.

    • What a sanctimonious twit she is. Against my better judgment I clicked the link. Good lord.

      And what’s really galling is that deep, deep inside the woo and the crunchier-than-thou and the dangerous lack of regard for the actual health of actual women, is a speck of a kernel of a grain of something true. Women’s health really is marginalized in the mainstream discourse. Some women do have awful experiences with childbirth that they feel uncomfortable talking about.

      But that doesn’t mean that the uncomfortable silence around so many issues (infertility! miscarriage! abortion! contraception! pelvic floor injuries! lactivist bullying!) is caused by science, or doctors, or hospitals.

      She’s selling a dangerous and misinformed cure (she attends HBACs, natch) for a disease that doesn’t exist, while pushing lots of women further into the shadows–because of course there’s only one “right” way to birth and only one set of circumstances that women are permitted to find comforting without handing over their feminist lapel pins. Or something.

    • Azuran

      All of her examples of EVERYTHING that is wrong with hospital birth seems to be from the 1950s.
      Yea, everything was a dick to you if you werent a white male back them. But that was 66 years ago, things have changed. My GRANDMOTHER wasn’t even born yet.

      • AirPlant

        My grandma actually spoke quite highly of twilight sleep so I am gonna say it wasn’t universally terrible…

        • Bombshellrisa

          My husband’s grandmother had 10 babies at home (breast fed all of them too) and then had baby 11 at a hospital. The way she talked about twilight sleep, you would think she was a shill.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Queen Victoria, who had something like 9 kids, also liked to rave about the awesomeness of knockout drugs for childbirth. Apparently the first one or two were unmedicated, then she got either ether or chloroform for the next and was all “I AM NEVER GOING BACK, AND I’M GOING TO KNIGHT THAT DOCTOR POSTHASTE.” (I exaggerate, but only slightly.) Her very open embrace of it made it socially acceptable for other women of the time, too.

          • T.

            Little known fact: the doctor who was Queen Victoria anesthesiologist was also the man who made what is considered the first true sanitation action by shutting down a pump in a cholera-infested neighborhood, thus stopping the cholera (this before germ theory was clearly understood).
            His name was John Snow and he was awesome.

          • Charybdis

            But, but, “You know NOTHING, John Snow!”

            Can’t have been.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            That I did not know! As you say, he was, indeed, awesome.

        • Gatita
          • Liz Leyden

            I had twilight for my colonoscopy. It was awesome.

          • Roadstergal

            I’m going to have to find time to read that book.

        • Who?

          My mum had it with me-that might explain everything…

        • Allie

          Few things are universally terrible. I’m sure some women, given the option, would choose it, and there you have it: “given the option.” What is universally terrible is not having a voice; not being able to make decisions based on your own personal values, wishes and beliefs, and having the decisions of others about what is “best” for you foist upon you. The natural childbirth industry has come full circle – now it is they who are foisting their decisions on women based on what they think is best for them. As we used to say in elementary school, same turd, different bowl : )

          • Squillo

            Exactly. My mother hated twilight sleep, loved her unmedicated second birth. Not because it was unmedicated (it hurt like hell), but because she was given the choice.

        • nomofear

          Ha! I should have read through, I just commented the same above.

        • moto_librarian

          My gram loved it too! Her last child was born in 1962.

      • Squillo

        You know what might help fix that? If women were the majority in obstetrics. If women were, say, around 85% of OB/gyns, the way childbirth works in this country might reflect women’s preferences better. Oh, wait…

        • AA

          If the genders flipped, male physicians are still perfectly equipped to provide good care.

          • Squillo

            Of course. But the fact that 85% of ob/gyn residents are women makes the assertion that modern obstetrics is ignoring the desires of most women somewhat weaker.

        • Roadstergal

          My OB has two kids of her own.

      • nomofear

        Also, my grandmother, who had four kids in the 50s and 60s, thought twilight birth was a riot. She had a great time, “I didn’t remember a thing! And then my baby was there! It was awesome!” And, having had a full-on natural birth myself, if the option was another of those or a twilight birth? Give me that scopalamine, thank you!

        Sure, the lack of choice in the matter stunk, but not all women hated it, especially given the alternative!

    • PrimaryCareDoc

      Wow. That’s…wow. I should have stopped reading when she described Jennifer Block’s book as “masterful,” but no, I just had to keep going…

    • Glittercrush

      What really got me was her crapping on the opinions fathers have over the health and wellbeing of their unborn children. I get it. Woman should have final say over everything that happens to their bodies, even at the expense of an unborn fetus. I even agree with that. But her disgust at women caring about their husbands’ fears was so gross. Like men dont deserve a voice in the decision at all. The rest of the article was a steaming pile of self important claptrap that was also gross. But that line made my blood boil. I am a staunch unapologetic feminist but I still listened to my husband’s concerns when I started hearing the whispers of woo. If his opinions were so unvalid I would not have created a child with him.

      • Monkey Professor for a Head

        My sons birth was probably more traumatic (from a psychological pov) for my husband than me – I had a PPH, and my husband was more aware of the severity than I was. He spent the first night of our sons life with one hand on the baby and one hand on my pulse. If we have a second child, I think he’ll it difficult to deal with. When it comes to any medical decisions for a future pregnancy, I’ll have the final say, but I will certainly take the opinion of the man I love and respect into account.

        • Glittercrush

          I am sorry you had such a rough go. That sounds scary for everyone. I can understand him being seriously shaken. I am glad everyone made it through in the end.

          • Monkey Professor for a Head

            Luckily, we all came through ok. Thank heavens for modern medicine!

            Hubby is a doctor(training in surgery), and has seen a really bad PPH before (a few years back there was a patient with such bad bleeding that the general surgical team were called in to help – she survived, barely). So he knows just how badly wrong birth can go, and was terrified that it would happen to me.

        • EmbraceYourInnerCrone

          Sounds similar to my husband’s reaction to my first miscarriage, I went into shock and my blood pressure was 60/30. when we got to the ER I remember saying I could decide if I wanted to throw up or pass out first. They thought it was an ectopic pregnancy for a while. That’s pretty much all I remember. My husband confided much later that it was pretty scary to watch.
          My second happened when he was deployed so I got to tell him over the phone and then explain that I had to have surgery to complete the miscarriage. I’m sure he was having kittens but was unable to help me from the Persian Gulf…for a while he decided he did NOT want kids if this was what I had to go through every time…

          • Monkey Professor for a Head

            Yikes! That must have been terrifying for both of you.

            I have a friend who went through a pretty scary miscarriage quite a few years back. She and her husband desperately want children, but I think he put the brakes on that for a long while after that. She’s now 7 months pregnant, which is wonderful, but I think the scars are still there for her husband. She was recently diagnosed with gestational diabetes and when I was talking with them the other day, it seemed like he just wanted her to have a c section as soon as possible in order to keep her safe.

          • BeatriceC

            Not childbirth related, but I hate that men are so marginalized that even caring for their wives gets them made out to be these overbearing control freaks. MrC never took my allergies lightly, but his whole approach changed the first time he actually saw an anaphylaxis reaction. He suddenly became hyper-aware of every possible source for a tomato to sneak in my vicinity and did battle with those sources. Seeing your loved ones in crisis is difficult on anybody with a heart, so why aren’t men allowed to care about their wives?

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Just so they provide a push present to honor her specialness.

      • Roadstergal

        “If his opinions were so unvalid I would not have created a child with him.”
        Or married him, presumably! Yes, if you have a surrogate father or sperm donor or in some other way want to be a single mom, that’s one thing, but if you’re having a baby with a life partner, that should be a joint project!

        • Glittercrush

          Exactly!

      • LibrarianSarah

        I wonder what these women would think if they wanted more children only to find out their husband got a vasectomy without discussing it with them first. It’s his body right so you can’t get mad right?

      • Valerie

        Right? She’s assuming the conversation went something like:

        “I’ve educated myself on the benefits of home birth, and I’ve concluded that it’s the best and safest choice for my child and me.”
        “I said no, and I’m the man of the house. You will go to the hospital because I said so and your opinion and wellbeing are irrelevant. My irrational preference is for my child to be born in a way that reflects the patriarchy”
        “Yes, dear. Silly me!”

        It’s like she can’t imagine a more nuanced discussion, where they listened to each other’s concerns and concluded that an unmedicated birth in the hospital was a good compromise.

    • Deborah

      “I’m outraged by what’s happening to all these women, which is starting to seem weird, given HOW FEW OF THEM SEEM OUTRAGED” (my emphasis)
      “Many (of the doulas – in – training) admit to being OBSESSED WITH BIRTH” (my emphasis)
      These two quotes sum up the article. Doulas are obsessed with birth. The majority of women don’t care.

      • Charybdis

        Yes! This, absolutely. I can’t count the number of pieces I have read about women becoming doulas or taking midwife training (I use that term loosely) because they are obsessed by/with birth, enamored of everything birth related and want to support, help, and direct women in All Things Birth.

        You are not a concierge for a pregnant woman, nor are you a trip advisor or travel agency. You do not work at Disneyland, the Most Magical Place on Earth and cannot guarantee a pregnant woman an E ticket or a line pass for her baby’s birth.
        Pregnancy, labor and delivery are not Burger King either. You do not get to “have it your way” as there are a number of things that can throw a wrench into the works.

    • Gatita
    • Gatita

      Amos Grunebaum is in the comments laying down truth bombs. http://49.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lt4zmk4cgM1qlvnxko1_500.gif

      • LibrarianSarah

        Amos quotes the CDC to make a point about hospitals reducing the perinatal and maternal death rate by 900%. In response, a NCBer quotes Huffpo on how doulas reduce the rate of unnecessary c-sections by SIXTY PERCENT!!! (emphasis and exclamation points hers)

        Stop NCBers. You are embarrassing yourselves.

        • Gatita

          I went into the comments and made that point and she called me a troll. NCB Idiots: The definition of a troll is NOT someone who disagrees with you! Christ.

          • Gatita

            Now she’s following me around the comments saying troll begone over and over. Now I have a stalker with a substandard IQ. Lordy.

          • LibrarianSarah

            Did you create an account just to comment on that one article or do you go their regularly? I guess it wouldn’t be so bad if it was the latter and not the former.

            Personally, I think “The Cut” should stick to the “25 year old hooking up with 6 guys in 7 days” articles

          • Gatita

            I’ve had the account for years but I’m not a regular. I can always jettison it and start over.

    • LibrarianSarah

      My favorite part was this one:

      Last summer, a 7-year-old girl proudly informed me that babies
      are born when the doctor decides it’s time to cut open the mother’s
      stomach.

      I mean has this woman been around any 7-year-old ever? When I was 7, I thought Mommy had to eat the baby so it could grow in her tummy…and then the doctor cut it out. No idea what Daddies were for though.

      • LaMont

        Omg my parents gave me the “where babies come from” explanation when I was really really little and it confused the everloving bejesus out of me – I believed they were telling the truth, but connecting that act with a baby was a bridge too far by a mile.

      • Gatita

        When I was seven I knew enough to understand about sperm and egg but I couldn’t figure out how the sperm got in there in the first place. I finally decided that they swam across the sheets into mommy while my parents were asleep. Lulz.

        • swbarnes2

          I didn’t think I thought it through even that far. I think it was my Charlie Brown Encylopedias which told me that sperm and egg met up…I just didn’t try to think about how that happened. And then sex ed in 5th grade I realized how dopey I’d been to not think of that.

        • DelphiniumFalcon

          My mom had the sex talk with me, well the basic mechanics of how sperm gets out of man and then to egg, when I was eight. I was one of those asks questions and won’t let it go kids and my parents didn’t want to lie to me. That and I had that little “doesn’t always understand what’s appropriate conversation topics with prudish adults” problem.

          I can’t imagine how hard it mom had to try not to laugh or look mortified since after explaining the whole sex act I asked if there were pictures. I’m a visual/kinesthetic learner!

          I found out later of course that yes there are indeed pictures. And videos. That people used to pay a lot of money for. And the internet is for porn.

          • momofone

            I did laugh! When my son was in 5K there was a run of new siblings born, and he started asking more specific questions about how he got into my “stomach.” I’m pretty matter-of-fact in general, and I always imagined myself having a very frank discussion when he was ready. Instead, I started laughing, and when I finally pulled myself together, I started to speak again and couldn’t stop laughing again. He said it must be a really funny story. 😀

            I ordered a couple of books, and we read them and talked about sperm meeting egg, and as we talked I told him that he was free to ask his dad and me anything he wanted, but since different families talk about these things at different times and in different ways, it wasn’t something to talk about at school. The next morning as I dropped him off, with kids and teachers everywhere, he got out of the car and yelled, “Don’t worry, Mom! I’m not going to tell anyone that sperm live at the bottom of penises or that they have to go into moms’ vaginas!” then gave me a big thumbs-up.

          • Paloma

            My mom actually explained what sex was and how babies were made when I was about 6 or 7. I then proceded to tell all my friends at school, who called me a liar and were convinced I had made up the whole story. Kids do the strangest things!!!

      • DelphiniumFalcon

        My sister got a blunt answer from my mom alluding to the father’s role in making babies.

        When she was little she kept demanding to be told why she didn’t have pretty skin like those people on TV and her Barbie (she wanted to be Black and always chose the darker skinned dolls).

        After being asked one too many times one day my mom finally told her to “take it up with your father!”

      • AirPlant

        I just assumed that the child was born via C-section, and with the single minded self centeredness of her age extended the story to all children. That seems pretty developmentally normal to me. Maybe the child should have said “I was extracted like a tumor and am therefore sad and unloved. Good children come out of vaginas, guided by heavenly Doulas like you, kind lady.”
        .
        Come to that, why is she questioning a child about where she thinks babies come from again?

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          I just assumed that the child was born via C-section, and with the single minded self centeredness of her age extended the story to all children.

          Hell, more likely she had a little brother or sister who was born by c-section, and extended the story to all children.

          • AirPlant

            You are right, that is more likely! I am the baby in my family so I forget that kids actually get to experience the birth of younger siblings. I can totally imagine a parent explaining that “Mom needs to go to the hospital because the doctor decided that the baby needs to come out today. How does the baby come out? Oh, the doctor is going to pull the baby out of mommy’s tummy!”

        • Madtowngirl

          My sister and I were both born via c-section, and I didn’t realize most babies were born through the vagina until I was in eighth grade sex education. Talk about embarrassing….

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          I mean, isn’t that the sort of question that the average adult tries to AVOID with 7-year-olds, particularly those not your own?

          • AirPlant

            Right? Like either she is making shit up or has absolutely no boundaries with other peoples children.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            I’m a big believer in being quite honest with my kids about the facts of life as they come up/are appropriate, but I’m also more than a little bit skeeved at the thought of some random person taking that same task on themselves.

      • Valerie

        I couldn’t fathom that sex happened naked, so I had a picture in my mind that the man’s penis snakes out of his underpants and into the woman’s.

        This is before I made the memorable logical leap that a penis wasn’t just a thing that men have in diagrams- each boy in my second grade class had one in his pants.

        Yeah, kids apply logic in strange ways.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          Paula Poundstone has the story about her daughter who asked if you could accidentally get pregnant. What do you mean accidentally? Well, what if you fell and landed on a penis?

          Something like that. From her book.

        • Gatita

          That sounds like tentacle porn 😛

      • Sarah

        I confidently assume this radical doula is outraged at the idea that women might not be able to decide when it’s time to have their stomachs cut open themselves, instead of having to wait until a time not of their choosing, and is therefore arguing for more patient choice regarding ELCS timing. Amirite?

    • Commander30

      I had to stop reading here:

      “I’m outraged by what’s happening to all these women, which is starting to seem weird, given how few of them seem outraged.”

      If they don’t seem outraged, I think you have to assume that they’re not outraged and are fine with things, and certainly don’t need you taking up a cause that doesn’t matter to them.

    • Who?

      The comments are hidden (for me anyway) at the moment. They were just starting to get fun yesterday when I looked at them.

  • Bugsy

    Nature intended for my husband and I to not have kids. From the moment of our sons’ conceptions in a lab, we were already running 100% against what nature wanted.

  • Maud Pie

    I always groan when people claiming to be atheist start the “nature designed us to …” chant. If you believe nature designs or plans or intends anything, you’re not an atheist.

    • LaMont

      To be fair, *lots* of people without an explicit religious affiliation or belief in a specific deity eschew the “atheist” label, preferring “spiritual, not religious,” and I feel that’s far more of an overlap with the “nature” fans than self-labeled “atheists” are. Not that the “atheist”/”nature” thing is impossible, I just wager it’s far less prevalent.

    • Valerie

      Atheist doesn’t mean perfectly skeptical or logically consistent- it just means lack of belief in a god or gods. An atheist doesn’t have to have a spotless record of evaluating every single belief- it’s possible to simultaneously be ignorant enough about evolution to believe that it’s perfect, but accept that it’s how biodiversity arose.

      That said, yeah, it annoys me when people idealize and glorify nature, assuming that there is an ideally calibrated feedback mechanism for every process that works because it’s been finely tuned that way by evolution. Um, no. Nature isn’t some force that makes everything work beautifully.

    • tumbling

      My particular favourite is my self-labelled atheist friends who decide to get married because their SO is their ‘soulmate’ and this relationship was ‘meant to be’.

    • SporkParade

      This is why I’m starting to think that religion is a built-in feature for most people. Like there’s a psychological need to believe that there is some sort of rhyme or reason to the universe, and if you don’t have a deity to turn to, you turn to nature or energy or some other supernatural (for lack of a better term) force.

      • Who?

        People like to make patterns. Patterning is comforting. Consider the really common error of thinking, that if one thing happens after another, the first thing caused the second.

        We have such a lot of opportunities now to put two and two together and get five. Back in the day there was a limited amount of sharing and communication, now we can’t get away from it.

        Our woo-plugging friends know all about the desire for pattern and meaning, and it helps them sell stuff. One of their big things is to criticise science for changing its mind as new evidence comes in, disrupting the patterns. It’s disturbing how many people think this criticism is legitimate-once they ‘know’ something, they ‘know’ it forever.

        Having an entity, or image, or force to focus on as the source of the pattern is an important part of the picture.

  • Megan

    Why do I care what “nature” intended? I only care what *I* (well I and my husband) intended, which is children born healthy and safe and that I get through relatively unscathed. You know what enabled that more than my attempt at a natural vaginal birth? My two CSections, especially the decidedly “unnatural” scheduled one I just had. And you know what enables me to keep my babies alive and allows them to grow? Evil synthetic formula.

    No thanks to nature, I now have two beautiful, wonderful children that I get to cuddle and watch grow (cuddling youngest as we speak!). Yay for bypassing nature!

    • Bombshellrisa

      Nature was trying to kill you with your latest one, so yeah, nature’s intentions are often deadly. ((Baby snuggles are the best! Also biting baby toes. My two year old is done letting me kiss, bite and sniff his toes))

      • BeatriceC

        Nature did her damnedest to kill me and those evil unnatural doctors and nurses in perinatal ICU and NICU fought back hard. We won.

        • Bombshellrisa

          I wish I could like this a million times. When people talk about how medicalized birth has become, they miss the point. My friend gave birth to her daughter at 29 weeks (she was in the hospital for a lot of those 29 weeks too). She almost died, her daughter almost died. Thanks to the amazing doctors and nurses, my friend and her 7 year old are coming over next week for a play date during spring break. The other kids there include 3 girls whose mothers had to be induced early since their bodies were trying to have them stroke out, my nephew who was born via emergency c-section and my son who was born at 35 weeks (and thankfully didn’t need the skills of the NICU team who were there for his birth). It wouldn’t be much of a play date if science hadn’t prevailed for my friends and I.

          • BeatriceC

            I wish I still had pictures of the youngest offspring. I didn’t have a digital camera back then (they were still pretty new), and I left behind all the hard copies when I fled my home state. It’s awe-inspiring to watch a 1 pound baby (official birthweight 504g, or 1 pound, 1.5oz) develop and thrive in NICU. I took a picture of him with my wedding ring on his wrist like a bracelet. I have big hands and fingers for a woman (ring finger size 9), but that’s still freaking tiny. In those early days you could hardly see the baby for all the machines, but every day I’m extraordinarily grateful those machines exist and that there are doctors and nurses who know how to use them.

    • Sue

      “Nature” intended me to live in a cave, have lots of babies (of whom many died), spend all day foraging to feed the family and sew skins together for warmth.

      I prefer commenting on blogs. And other stuff.

  • MI Dawn

    I got pregnant the “natural way”, starting at age 25. Vaginal births, no epidural (did have IV pain meds), breastfed until I had to go back to work at 6 weeks. Go me, right? I mean, I should be the lactivist’s wet dream.

    BUT: #1 and #2 could have killed me AND kids, thanks to pre-eclampsia, which got worse the second time around. #3 was a miscarriage where I had to have a D&C or I could have bled to death. #4 pregnancy was ectopic. So. Here I am, alive and well, with 2 wonderful living children.

    Suck it up, Mother Nature. You tried to kill me 4 times, with your “natural woman’s body knows what it’s made for” and I am STILL HERE and I have a future generation to follow me, who will ALSO used medical interventions as needed.

    • MI Dawn

      I meant “naturist’s dream” not “lactivist’s dream”. I didn’t breastfeed long enough or exclusively enough to be the lactivist’s dream.

      • Megan

        Does anyone?

    • Liz Leyden

      I had post-partum pre-eclampsia. It’s relatively rare, but it’s more likely to kill because it’s very easy to overlook. Nature is one sneaky bastard.

      • MI Dawn

        Yeah, mine, the second time, was a sneaky bastard also. Worked the night before (labor and delivery, ironically), went home and complained to (then) husband about the lights hurting my eyes and that I was achy. He was alarmed enough to drag me to OB office where the nurses thought I had the flu – only trace protein in urine, no change in BP from visit a few days previous. Went to the room to wait for the MD. Just before he walked in, husband leaned over to point at something and inadvertantly put wait over my liver which caused me to yelp. MD heard that, walked in, and tried the brachial reflex which was so hyper I nearly slapped him in the face! I also had 3 beats of clonus (which, TBH, *I* thought was pretty cool – I’d never seen it in all my nursing experiences).

        MD looked at me and said “you know what this means?” And my answer was, “yes, I need to go home and get my stuff, then go to the hospital”. He replied, “No. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200. Go right to Jail. DO NOT GO HOME.”

        We went right to the hospital, I ended up on mag sulfate, induced later in the day, delivered in 4 hours. Clonus lasted for 2 days post delivery (I didn’t get to go home for 3 days, due to my status). Have to say, though…I was the delight of the OB nursing teacher for those days. I allowed every one of her students to test my clonus.

  • guest

    According to my appendix, I am “supposed” to be dead. Fuck nature.

    • cookiebaker

      Me, too. I would have died at 19 from a ruptured appendix and never would have had children at all.

      • guest

        I was the same age! Atypical presentation, so it ruptured before it was removed.

        • cookiebaker

          They got mine out before it ruptured, but it was a near miss. No time for a polite laparoscopy, I have a 6″ scar on my belly. Good thing I never cared for a bikini!

          • guest

            Mine is more like 4″, and it has a row of dots on either side from the staples.

          • BeatriceC

            Mine was a near miss, but that’s because I’m a stubborn pain in the ass who avoids doctors like the plague. I was sick for days, and when I finally asked MrC to take me to the ER he panicked because I never ask to be taken to the doctor if I can avoid it. I usually get to ERs in the back of an ambulance. I walked in and the intake nurse took one look at me, dropped everything and paged the doctor before I could even get to the window.

    • momofone

      I would’ve died of colon cancer 15 years ago if nature had had its way. I’ll take modern medicine for the win.

      • BeatriceC

        The Original MrsC should have died in high school and then again in college if nature had it’s way (Hodgkins Lymphoma) Instead she lived, went to college, met MrC, and had two beautiful daughters that she doted on for 13 years before she finally lost to nature.

    • Zornorph

      I was born with infant glaucoma – nature intended me to be blind, the nasty bitch.

  • The Computer Ate My Nym

    Nature intended me to die in childbirth. Pfftt to you, nature!

    • Erin

      Me too. Apparently I was meant to die in agony, knowing that as I took my last breath the child I’d felt moving inside me for the last couple of months was going to die shortly after me. Nature sucks.

      We went to Culloden recently and standing there, holding my son looking down at the carved stone lying there as a memorial to the men of my husband’s clan who died in battle, I felt so glad that we live here and now. I didn’t get to die in childbirth. My son is unlikely to have to run into battle with a sword unless he takes up reenactments and the kilt sexy though it is, is only for formal occasions (yep that’s totally the only reason I married a Scotsman).

    • Liz Leyden

      Nature intended for my father to die of cancer in his 20s. It intended for me to die of pneumonia at 6 or scarlet fever at 9. It intended for my husband to die of sepsis due to a burst appendix at 19. It intended for my daughter to die a day or 2 after birth, and for me to die about 2 weeks later. Thanks to modern medicine, all but my father are still here.

      Dad was treated with large amounts radiation (it was the 1970s) that damaged his heart and led to calcification of his aorta that led to the surgery that resulted in the code that killed him. He still got 40 years he wouldn’t have had otherwise.

  • Amazed

    Once again, perhaps we were meant to fade into nonexistence, like Mother Nature’s other darling, the dinosaurs. Ot all other species that are currently extinguishing.

    I don’t particularly care to find out what her plans for us are. Her plans for me were to stay, with my huge head, lodged into my mother till the end of her very short natural life. Mine wasn’t planned to start at all. Huzza for the vacuum that thwarted her.

    • canaduck

      Except that dinosaurs (at least some of them) evolved into birds. Not to be overly pedantic–you’re right, otherwise, of course. The fact that dinosaurs never really went extinct has nothing to do with nature’s “plan”.

  • The Bofa on the Sofa

    Anything other than this is deviating from the way we were intended to be.

    So the fuck what?

    When I put my glasses on in the morning, I am deviating from the way I was intended to be. Hell, when I put clothes on I am deviating from the way I was intended to be.

    Who the fuck cares?

    This is just plain stupid. It shows a complete lack of any thought at all.

    • guest

      When I eat this donut, I am deviating from the way nature intended me to eat, because donuts don’t grow on trees. But I’m going to eat it anyway, because DONUT.

      • sdsures

        Dammit, I want one.

        • guest

          Sorry, I just ate the last one.

        • Alexicographer

          I’ve still got some jellybeans, if that helps.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            You can share yours, I don’t share mine.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            A man who has plenty of good peanuts, and giveth his neighbor none
            He shan’t have any of my peanuts, when his peanuts are gone
            When his peanuts are go-one, when his peanuts are gone
            He shan’t have any of my peanuts, when his peanuts are gone

            A man who has plenty of red and black jellybeans, and giveth his neighbor none
            He shan’t have any of my red and black jelly beans, when his red and black jellybeans are gone

          • MaineJen

            You can keep the black ones…blech.

          • The Great Queen Spider

            And the buttered popcorn ones. Eww

        • BeatriceC

          I still have two bags left, but I’m not sharing.

      • namaste863

        Mmmmmmmm……doughnuts…….

      • BeatriceC

        Yeah, this hollow chocolate bunny isn’t exactly found in nature either.

    • fiftyfifty1

      “It shows a complete lack of any thought at all”

      Quite the opposite. This was completely thought out. They knew exactly the effect they were going for. They very intentionally co-opted the “not better, NORMAL” language that lactivists use with breastfeeding. As Dr. Tuteur has written in a different post, the inventor of this language actually wrote a paper explaining why she uses it: because if you say that something is “better”, the other person can say “but the alternative is good enough”. But if you hold something up as NORMAL and NATURAL, then the alternative becomes ABnormal and UNnatural. Sure, it’s all a load of bullshit, but the shaming works on an emotional level.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        But who gives a shit if it is “normal”? We do things that aren’t normal (as in, “as nature intended”) all the time.

        • fiftyfifty1

          “But who gives a shit if it is “normal”? ”

          The people who give a shit are the people who are bullied when they are told they are unnatural and abnormal when they fail at lactation or end up needing C-sections. Perhaps, Bofa, you are immune to such language, but most people aren’t. It’s like how gay people fought to have homosexuality no longer classified as an abnormality in the DSM. I suppose this fight was illogical because they could have saved their energy and just decided not to give a shit. But being bullied in this way matters to most people.

          • moto_librarian

            I see it both ways. Yes, we really shouldn’t give a shit, but I also know how those kind of comments can and do hurt. I’ve toughened up a lot about these things over the years, but I do still get upset by them at times.

          • Who?

            This. And if you’re in the unfortunate position where you find yourself listening to these people, as opposed to tuning them out when you can’t just avoid them completely, you are one step away from being sucked in to whatever their world view happens to be.

  • Madtowngirl

    It baffles the mind that people think nature intended anything at all. Watch a nature documentary. Nature is brutal, even cruel. We’ve evolved into creatures that can transcend nature, and as such, humans are quite prolific. Nature =/= “better.”

    • sdsures

      Is the “nature intended for…” meant to be trying to disguise intelligent design?

      • DelphiniumFalcon

        I don’t know if that’s the case. I’m religious but I’m of the opinion that no matter how humans got these lovely, large, complex problem solving brains we should use them. If it was purely through natural selection from more primitives brains then that’s probably why we’re here and Australopithecus isn’t. If the human brain was designed by God then he gave us the natural inclination towards curiosity and problem solving with tools.

        So in my opinion clinging to the naturalistic fallacy is a waste of brain complexity from both views.

    • Stephanie Rotherham

      Nature is never kind nor pretty; everything has a motive, to survive and pass on its genes. Even the plants are out for themselves, and cute little animals will visciously kill each other for food or over territory. My sweet bunny rabbit would probably rip the throat out of a new rabbit if I brought one home with no careful bonding.

  • sdsures

    Honest to God, my husband once met a child who did not know what a carrot was.

    • cookiebaker

      That is so sad.

      • sdsures

        Unbelievably so.

  • Glia

    Nature did not make humans very strong; we were not made to wrestle rhinos. It did not make us very fast; you will not be outrunning any cheetahs. It did not give us impressive claws, or particularly sharp teeth. We can’t swim that well, and can’t hold our breath for very long, and we can’t, naturally, fly at all. We don’t have especially powerful jaws, and we don’t produce any cool venoms, and we couldn’t inject it with hallow fangs anyway, because we don’t have those either.

    Nature gave humans one gift: adaptability. We have the ability to change our environment to suit us. Our one real gift has served us very well. We build structures to protect us so we can live in places our bodies are entirely unsuited for, and we heat them or cool them until we feel comfortable, and then we put a goddam tiny umbrella in our frozen dessert drink. We realized we die of infections, so we adapted by finding ways to fight it. And we realized that nature also gave us competing interests with our own babies, and we decided to change that so more of us could survive. My c-section was a natural birth, because there isn’t one thing in the world more natural to a human than changing a potentially shitty outcome where one or both of us might have died to one where we both thrive.

    • Sean Jungian

      I just like thinking the sum total of human achievement resulted in the drink umbrella.

      Take that, chimpanzees! BAM! Drink umbrellas!

      *drops the mic*

      • namaste863

        God, what I wouldn’t give for a margarita right now, with a drink umbrella!

        • Sean Jungian

          …as I think back fondly to all those drinking lunches I indulged in back in the 90s….

      • The Great Queen Spider

        Drink umbrellas will unfortunately not protect us against chimpanzee attacks

    • namaste863

      I’ve often said that everything else can outrun, out-fly, out-see or out-muscle nature. Humans can outsmart nature, which is the only reason we aren’t a long distant memory.

      • sdsures

        Occasionally, we still make tasty snacks for our animal bretheren. *evil grin*

    • SarahSD

      This! Which is why the natural/artificial dichotomy falls apart in our culturally and technologically entrenched human hands.

    • That is beautifully said.

  • AirPlant

    I could just be burned out by the lactivists, but every time someone says that something is the “biological norm” I just want to start rolling my eyes and never stop.

    • sdsures

      I get headaches doing that.

      • AirPlant

        #worthit

    • guest

      My response is to raise one eyebrow, and these days I’m at risk of raising it so high it falls off.

    • SarahSD

      Technology is a biological norm.

      • AirPlant

        I would argue that formula milk is biologically normal. Humans have fed their babies breastmilk substitutes for as long as we have had lactation failure. I am just grateful that I live in a time and place where the substitutes are damn good in most ways, and superior in others.

        • SarahSD

          They are certainly superior on the nipple-brutalizing scale (zero risk of nipple brutality), on the not-accidentally-starving-your-baby scale, and on the distributing infant care labor scale!

          • AirPlant

            Yeah, those things are highly undervalued. Like I can have a nutritionally solid baby food that requires very little prep, won’t damage any part of my body during the dispense and will allow me to outsource the chore as required? Sign me the hell up. I can bond through diaper changes, just like the lactivists say…

          • SarahSD

            I nursed and have no regrets, but if I had another I think I would plan to combo feed for the three advantages above.

          • BeatriceC

            At my age, if I were for some weird reason to actually have another baby* I would probably formula feed even though I loved breastfeeding. I just have too much else going on and can’t be the only person who could feed the baby. Plus I can’t run on as little sleep as I could in my 20’s.

            *It would have to be one of those situations where a woman goes to the ER with severe abdominal pain only to find out she’s actually in labor. If I got pregnant in spite of my tubal, I would terminate the pregnancy. A baby just isn’t in MrC’s and my plans and desires right now. Of course, that probably makes me evil reincarnate to a lot of people, but I don’t give a flying monkey’s behind about that.

          • Getting pregnant in spite of my tubal is my number-one keep-me-up-at-night anxiety. Welcome to the Evil Club. We have devil’s food cake.

          • MI Dawn

            Not wishing to keep you up at night, but that was my pregnancy #4 which was the ectopic. And, if I’d not been working for a Catholic hospital, it wouldn’t have been the “try to kill the mommy” situation it was, but they wouldn’t treat me until they saw no heartbeat. Thankfully, the head of OB walked in, denied what the tech was seeing was a heartbeat, and got me treated. Otherwise, they wouldn’t (and my insurance wouldn’t have covered treatment elsewhere, since it was through that same employer).

            Bitter? Yes, even nearly 20 years later I’m still bitter that they would have required the tube to rupture and put my life at risk rather than treat me early on, possibly leaving my LIVING children motherless for the sake of a fertilized egg.

  • Heidi

    You know what I think is natural? To want both your and your baby to survive completely intact without any injury and to not want to experience excruciating pain. I feel like I had a very natural childbirth! I listened to my OBs’ opinions about how my baby and me could both be here healthy and alive and I opted for an epidural.

    • AirPlant

      My hair color isn’t natural, why should anything else be?

  • Alexicographer

    Nature (such as “she” is) apparently didn’t intend for me personally to experience being pregnant or giving birth at all (or if she did, I’d mucked the process up by using contraception to avoid, you know, unwanted pregnancies, though nature would not have minded those), as she gave me appendicitis before I’d ever experienced pregnancy. I foiled her plans by having an appendectomy and surviving, and did subsequently experience a much-wanted pregnancy and have a much-wanted baby.

  • namaste863

    I find it hysterically funny that these people believe nature “Intended” anything at all, as though nature is a living being that possesses not only sentience, but sapience. It’s actually a variant of the Inteligent Design argument. And it’s unfalsifiable. No wonder these people seem impervious to science and logic. They worship nature as a deity.

    • Stephanie Rotherham

      Oh God yes; I never realised that before. It can get very cult like when you think about it.

  • mostlyclueless

    “Natural birth doesn’t add anything to the birth experience.” <- actually, I completely agree with that.

    • Daleth

      I also agree that it confers no benefits on the mother or child.

      • SL27

        So if it doesn’t add to the birth experience, and doesn’t benefit the mother or the child, why bother?

        • MI Dawn

          Because HEALING! And performance art. And Special snowflakes!!!

        • Sean Jungian

          Because it’s nature’s stated intention!

        • mostlyclueless

          Yeah. Exactly.

        • Amy M

          Well no one wants to be unnatural or abnormal, do they? (That’s the NCB logic, as I see it, because frankly, I don’t care if I am following the “biological norm.”) The other possibility I can come up with is that maybe they think that if one gives birth “as nature intended” then everything else will occur “as nature intended”, and its a guarantee (in their minds) of a healthy child. Of course, the rest of us understand that even if nature was capable of having intentions, they would not be to ensure that every human child survives to adulthood.

    • cookiebaker

      I was impressed they went so far to admit natural birth doesn’t add to the experience or have any benefits. So many of the NCB crowd have the opposite viewpoint.

    • DelphiniumFalcon

      Maybe I’m just being more cynical than usual today but when I read, “Natural birth doesn’t add anything to the birth experience,” I didn’t see it as an admission that it’s superfluous at best. Hopefully I’m wrong but I read it as their typical defensiveness and instead implying natural birth doesn’t add anything to birth because it *is* birth. Natural birth = default so there’s nothing to add because it’s already the end all and be all.

      • mostlyclueless

        Oh I’m sure that’s what that person meant. I was just making an un-funny joke that there is some truth to this if you follow the letter of what she’s saying rather than the spirit of it.

      • SarahSD

        You’re not being cynical. It’s exactly the same rhetorical move that the most intense lactivists make when they encourage “breastfeeding is normal” or “breastfeeding is the biological norm” or “breastfeeding is how human babies are fed” rather than “breast is best”. That’s because “breast is best” means that there is another (inferior) choice. It still gives mothers an out. For these lactivists,”normalization” means removing reference to any other choice. This is why you see mothers posting in desperation for donor milk, even for toddlers – they have really been brainwashed to believe there is no other acceptable choice.

        • Poogles

          That and the insistence that it isn’t “the benefits of breastfeeding” but “the risks of formula feeding”.

    • Squillo

      Quite frequently, she forgets to add a live baby or mother at the end.

  • Mel

    During a rather nasty spring thunderstorm a few days ago, I pulled out a Nat’l Geographic DVD on multiple births and watched two CS for the first time.

    COOLEST THING EVER! I’ve seen vaginal births before and they’re pretty neat, but CS are freaking awesome!

    From a non-doctor point of view: the doctor reaches into an abdominal incision and *boop* a baby appears! An actual human baby!

    To me, it was literally magical!

    I pulled out the remote and watched the triplets being born about 5 times in a row. With Mel sound effects with are *boop!* followed by happy belly laughs. (I’m very easily amused.)

    So….yeah. I could freaking care less about how natural anything is. CS wins for entertainment value.

    • guest

      I really wanted to be able to watch my own, but I didn’t even ask because I know why they don’t allow it. I wish it had been planned to I could ask about recording it for later viewing.

      It would have been so cool to see my kids’ first expression on entering the world, you know?

      • MI Dawn

        For most kids, it’s really pissed off “WHAT??? you want me to BREATHE?? This sucks!” look of sheer incredulity. Actually pretty funny look.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          I maintain to this day that the comments DD made as she exited would, if they could be translated into actual speech, need to spelled with asterisks in polite company. It was pretty clear that she was telling the doctor precisely what he could go do to himself.

          • Megan

            Oh yes. My youngest too. And she screamed the OR down to let us know of her dissatisfaction.

      • Dr Kitty

        They lowered the drapes for the delivery for both of my babies.

        We have a pic of my daughter, literally half in/half out of my abdomen, pink, screaming and *clearly* unimpressed at the situation.

        My son’s first expression appears to be mild horror, with a scrunched up face.

        • BeatriceC

          My youngest, the one who was born at 24 weeks came into the world pouting. He literally had his bottom lip curled out like a toddler in full pout mode. I don’t recall much of that birth (I was pretty damned sick myself), butI do recall the doctor telling the nurse “Look at this! He’s pouting!” He then proceeded to pout almost non-stop for the next three years.

        • guest

          Yeah, I’ve seen places offering the drape lowering. I wasn’t offered anything, and I wasn’t in a position to be making requests. It’s fine, because we’re all fine. It just would have been cool to see.

  • MI Dawn

    Very true. Especially when you think about, for example, Henry VIII’s first few wives. Multiple pregnancies – and you have to think, as queens, they got the *very best* in food, etc available – few, if any, children surviving childbirth. Now, they actually didn’t have any apparent true infertility problems (it’s honestly believed that the later lack of pregnancies were due more to Henry’s health problems than the wives). And walk through any graveyard or look at family history. How common it was for a man to have 2, 3, or more wives because previous ones had died in childbirth or soon after, and how many births didn’t make it to age 1, much less age 5 (when it was more accepted the child would likely live to adulthood).

    Nature doesn’t care about humans, any more than nature cares about ANY creature. As long as a species can produce a succeeding generation, that species survives, maternal or infant wastage be damned. And nature doesn’t believe in special snowflakes.

    We, in the past 3-4 generations, have changed this. Women who would never have been able to give birth can. Children usually live to adulthood. Woman rarely die in childbirth. All of this goes AGAINST nature.

    • Roadstergal

      There’s a reason why the ‘wicked stepmother’ was such a common feature of fairy tales.

    • Sean Jungian

      We can still see some vestiges of this at work in rural areas. My son’s grandfather (who is only about 15 years older than me) lost his mother at age 3; she died giving birth to his little sister. This would have been in the mid-50s, and access to hospitals and interventions was not what it is today, particularly in the winter.

      She had 5 live births, and I think lost 2 or 3 other babies to miscarriages. It is not an unusual story for that generation, in this area.

    • DelphiniumFalcon

      Nature seems to like to remodel often if we must anthropomorphisize it. Isn’t the latest agreement something like 99% of species that have ever existed on earth are extinct?

    • Liz Leyden

      What about Queen Anne? Her 17 pregnancies ended in 7 miscarriages, 5 stillbirths, and 5 live births. Her only child to survive infancy died at 11.

      • MI Dawn

        You could mention that about a lot of royalty, not counting the more common persons. But I didn’t want to make the list too long. 🙂

        And when you think about Queen Anne, the miscarriages were actually later than what we today term a miscarriage. So she may have actually been pregnant many more times than that! Anything before 3-4 months, I doubt they knew about. Nowadays, with home pregnancy tests, we can know within a day or so of a missed period.

  • OBPI Mom

    Don’t forget about “natural’ infertility rates and those who would be childless without “unnatural” intervention… It might knock a few of our modern natural moms out of the running for a natural childbirth…

    • Laura

      I’ve wondered about this. What does desire for natural childbirth look like among the many who have used ART to conceive? I can say that of myself and two close friends who have all done IVF, we all have the attitude of, “I controlled the conception and I want to control the birth,” meaning planned c-sections.

      • Sean Jungian

        My speculation on that is similar to a lot of high-achieving-type moms – they want to start with a PERFECT specimen.

        I’ve related it before to my own desire, when playing a new video game, to play the game flawlessly which necessitates starting out perfectly.

        I myself was a high-achieving type person and I certainly did view parenthood as being a “project” of sorts. I think that kind of mindset is both common and also one step down the road to obsessive types of woo.

        • swbarnes2

          I tend to do the same thing, though I’m a little quicker to reload when things don’t go my way. Can’t do that with kids!

          • Sean Jungian

            lol I tend not to reload because ‘OMG I ALREADY DID THIS LEVEL SO BORED NOW.”

          • swbarnes2

            OT: Miss out on Petra by three turns while playing Morocco? No effing way. Time travel!

        • Laura

          Interesting. Though we are all pretty Type A, I would argue that we did not choose IVF out of a desire for control but landed there because of various infertility issues. Experiencing that control, though, and the difficulty of conceiving generally, I think generates a desire to control the birth to ensure safety. Protection of that substantial financial investment and all.

          • Sean Jungian

            You would have better insight into it than I do. I think this desire for perfection extends to at least anti-vaxx ideas, and it seems to me that some women seeking a completely “natural” childbirth also want that kind of unsullied original to work with. I’m thinking more of the desire to avoid all pain meds, that kind of thing, as it may affect the baby (might “contaminate” the baby).

        • Daleth

          My speculation on that is similar to a lot of high-achieving-type moms – they want to start with a PERFECT specimen

          Not in our case, and to my knowledge not in the case of any of the other numerous couples I know with fertility problems. We did IVF because there was quite literally no physical way to get us pregnant the natural way, and I chose a planned CS because once I saw the risks of VB to mother (horrible tearing, later prolapse…) and children (shoulder dystocia, brachial plexus palsy, etc.), especially in the case of mono-di twins like mine, there was no way I was willing to take that risk.

          I loved those babies before they were even conceived, and all the more so once I saw them on ultrasound, and NOTHING could have convinced me that there was any benefit to VB that made it worth risking their lives, brains or bodies.

          • Laura

            I can second everything you just said (minus the bit about twins.) The difficulty in getting and staying pregnant means I will put ALL childbirth risk on myself before my child.

        • BeatriceC

          One of my step-daughters is heavy into the woo. Her wife is an acupuncturist, if that (the wife’s job) sheds any light on the woo situation. I find this somewhat funny considering her father is a research scientist and her mother was a pediatric ICU nurse, but I digress. Obviously she and her wife will need to use ART to get pregnant, but once that’s over, I assume the woo is going to take over and I’m going to get a lot of practice keeping my mouth shut in order to prevent my own relationship from falling apart.

          • Sean Jungian

            I hope everything goes well for them.

    • Daleth

      Don’t forget about “natural’ infertility rates and those who would be childless without “unnatural” intervention.

      Me, me! Or rather, us: fertility problems on both sides would seem to indicate that Nature “intended” us to be childless. So we went to a great IVF clinic, had the doctors work carefully with what little Nature gave us, and–as Mel said above–*boop* *boop*! We had gorgeous healthy twins.