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Midwives, women and abuse

Lawyer and birth rights activist Bashi Hazard refuses to answer the question I posed: What’s the difference between a doctor who performs a painful exam over a woman’s protests and a midwife who denies an epidural over a woman’s protests? In the meantime, journalist Milli Hill, always desperate for attention, has joined the fray. Hill: […]

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Human rights in childbirth campaigner Bashi Hazard confirms her hypocrisy

Yesterday I asked: What’s the difference between a doctor who performs a painful exam over a woman’s protests and a midwife who denies an epidural over a woman’s protests? I was responding to the claim by human rights lawyer Bashi Hazard that an increasing number of women are likening their experience of childbirth to assault […]

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Should midwives who delay or deny epidurals be prosecuted for assault?

It happened 37 years ago, but I never forgot. I was on my medical school obstetrics rotation and had just watched the birth of a baby. The mother had sustained a large second degree tear and the obstetrician was repairing it … without anesthetic. It would have been easy to give the mother local anesthesia […]

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Natural mothering and the conceit of the maternal hero

You cannot understand the contemporary discourse around mothering in the US without understanding this central reality: Every woman is the hero of her own mothering story. That’s the essence of the mommy-wars. It has nothing to do with children, although children are ostensibly the focus; it has nothing to do with science, although science is […]

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In mothering the natural is political … but not in the way you’ve been told

Natural mothering advocates like to imply that the natural is political. For example, they absurdly claim “peace on earth begins with birth.” The implication is that because we’ve deviated from natural childbirth, we’ve been punished with an epidemic of violence. It’s nonsensical because for most of human existence, childbirth has been entirely natural and violence […]

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Midwife disciplined for telling the TRUTH about breastfeeding

I’ve written over and over again about the way that lactation professionals lie to women, promoting breastfeeding over the wellbeing of mothers and babies. Every time a lactation professional claims insufficient breastmilk is rare when it is common, she lies. Every time a lactation professional claims second night syndrome isn’t hunger, she lies. Every time […]

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How lactation professionals de-legitimize mothers

Every complex problem has a simple solution … and it is wrong. According to lactation professionals, the “problem” of low breastfeeding rates has a simple solution. Just end formula advertising and societal pressure to bottlefeed and all women would breastfeed successfully, exclusively and for extended periods. They’re wrong. But even worse, they’ve leveraged their “simple […]

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The medicalization of attachment and the surveillance of mothers

On Monday I wrote about the pseudoscience of bonding. It pseudoscience with a purpose. The purpose is to control mothers. When the contemporary medicalization of attachment was proposed in the late 1970’s, there was no evidence we were experiencing an epidemic of “detached” children. Today, in the late 2010’s, it’s clear that the extensive implementation […]

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A moral duty to breastfeed implies a moral duty to vaccinate and reject co-sleeping and homebirth

Philosophy professor Fiona Woollard has written a fascinating paper on the issue of breastfeeding and maternal duties entitled Is It Okay to Let My Child Be Stung by a Wasp? New mothers report feeling shamed for not breastfeeding, and constantly having to defend their use of infant formula from strangers on social media or in […]

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The pseudoscience of bonding and the effort to control women

Nearly everything you think you know about mother-infant bonding is untrue … and that’s not an accident. Where did the pseudoscientific beliefs about bonding come from and why did they appear when they did? It wasn’t because we were experiencing an epidemic of unbonded children. Why have pseudoscientific beliefs been maintained for the past generation? […]

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