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Women love epidurals!

Midwives are desperate for market share. As I wrote in my book Push Back: Guilt in the Age of Natural Parenting: No matter what obstetricians offered, midwives would insist that it was unnecessary, disempowering, harmful, and contradicted by the scientific evidence. Midwives would wrest childbirth back from paternalistic doctors and give it to those to […]

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A blisteringly stupid guide to postpartum hemorrhage

Sadly, this is not satire. Freya Kellet is a self-proclaimed “birth keeper, coach and mentor.” I’m all too familiar with the ignorance, arrogance and privilege of natural childbirth advocates, but Freya sets a new standard for idiocy with her ‘Radical Guide to Postpartum Hemorrhage.’ Hemorrhage is one of the most common reasons why women fear […]

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Mothering as self-expression

I’ve written in the past about performative mothering, a central feature of contemporary parenting culture. I framed the discussion as comparing a fictional grandmother Myrna to her fictional granddaughter Mira. When it came to raising John, Myrna might have feared the judgments of her mother and mother-in-law but she did not particularly fear the judgment […]

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Mothering in the age of tribalism

Most people understand that we live in an era of extreme political and cultural polarization and our country is suffering terribly as a result. It has been going on for the last 25 years, and it’s easy to forget that it hasn’t always been like this nor does it have to be. Sadly, the polarization […]

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Surprise! 70% of babies referred for tongue-tie surgery DON’T need it!

There is a veritable epidemic of “broken” baby tongues, known colloquially as tongue-tie and scientifically as ankyloglossia. The epidemic of tongue tie is surprising since the natural incidence has been estimated as only 1.7-4.8% But releasing (snipping) the tongue tie is big business. The surgical fee for frenectomy/frenotomy is $850. I presume that $850 is […]

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Anti-vaxxers won’t take a coronavirus vaccine? I might not take it either.

There’s been a lot of handwringing lately about whether anti-vaxxers will be willing to take a coronavirus vaccine. Pediatrician Phoebe Danziger writes in The New York Times A Coronavirus Vaccine Won’t Work if People Don’t Take It: If a vaccine for coronavirus is developed tomorrow, will you take it? Many people won’t. According to recent […]

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Two daughters, two deaths, two forms of denialism

Denialism kills. Christine Maggiore was in prime form, engaging and articulate, when she explained to a Phoenix radio host in late March why she didn’t believe HIV caused AIDS. The HIV-positive mother of two laid out matter-of-factly why, even while pregnant, she hadn’t taken HIV medications, and why she had never tested her children for […]

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Refusing to wear a mask is drinking the kool-aid

Is there anything more ironic than refusing to wear a mask during the coronavirus pandemic? While anti-maskers loudly insist that no one can tell them what to do, they are in fact doing exactly what President Trump has pressured them to do: risking their very lives to demonstrate political fealty. We have an expression for […]

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Natural childbirth advocacy depends on privilege

Last week I reviewed why natural childbirth philosophy is fundamentally and ineradicably racist. I quoted Rachelle Chadwick (Bodies that Birth: Vitalizing Birth Politics) in exploring an imagined racial dichotomy in birth where indigenous women of color are fantasized as “primitive and animal-like and thus primed to give birth (and breastfeed) easily and without pain or […]

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The Gaskin Maneuver is a classic example of medical colonialism

The racism of natural childbirth advocacy is usually covert, but back in 2017 Ina May Gaskin inadvertently showed hers. According to birth workers of color who attended her talk, when asked about the problem of extraordinarily black maternal mortality, Gaskin blamed women of color for their own deaths: Gaskin responded with anecdotal stories about Black […]

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