Dr. Amy’s Natural Childbirth Hall of Shame

Carve it in Stone

I love my job. I really do!

In what other job do you find people stepping forward to make fools of themselves so you can write about it?

Consider this from anti-vax clown Jennifer Margulis (you can click on the image to see it full size):

Jennifer Margulis 5-2-14

Margulis writes on her Facebook page:

A midwife who just requested my friendship on Facebook pointed out that I made the hit list of a notorious internet troll yet again! I am in good company with Ricki Lake and Jen Vbacfacts Kamel. I’ve had half a dozen friend requests today and three times as many new LIKES on Business of Baby. Thank you to this woman-hater for her ad hominem attacks against me. Her smear campaign is backfiring…

I guess there are blog “affirmations” just like there are birth affirmations and in both cases, saying it over and over again does not make it true.

My campaign against the mistruths, half truths and outright lies of the natural childbirth movement has never been more successful. I’ve never had more traffic. I’ve never had more requests for background help on mainstream media articles. I’ve never had more requests for interviews. I’ve never had so many private emails of thanks.

Margulis, who purports to be a professional journalist, is apparently thrilled to be included with Ricki Lake, a washed up talk show host, and Jen Kamel, a layperson who has the same amount of obstetric/midwifery training as both Margulis and Lake: NONE!

Hey, Jennifer, what are you going to do with all your Facebook likes for your book, currently ranked #297,043 on Amazon, and eviscerated by Annie Murphy Paul The New York Times Book Review? Oh, right, those likes are worthless.

From the NYTimes review of Margulis’ book:

Inaccurate or inflammatory statements are repeatedly reproduced without adequate substantiation or comment from the other side… Margulis’s treatment of scientific evidence is similarly unbalanced… [U]ltrasound exams of pregnant women may be responsible for rising rates of autism among their children, according to “a commentator in an online article.” This anonymous individual has “used ultrasonic cleaners to clean surgical instruments (and jewelry),” which apparently qualifies him or her to offer an opinion on how the vibration of ultrasound waves may be causing the developmental disorder: “Perhaps this vibration could knock little weak spots in myelin sheeting of nerves or such, I don’t know.”

Amy Wong of the Oregonian offered an equally cutting review:

Margulis builds her argument mostly on individual parents’ anecdotes, without providing context for whether they represent common experiences. Many of the anecdotes seem to have been selected purely for their shock value. And she frequently describes in detail how mothers suffered at the hands of doctors or nurses apparently without having sought out the doctors or nurses for verification, comment or context. This is not journalism.

But what’s especially notable about Margulis’ wishful thinking is the rogues’ gallery of “birth workers” who rushed to join her. They condemn themselves by the company they keep, including Robert Biter, who had his medical license revoked after 7 separate findings of malpractice, including the death of a baby at homebirth.

That got me thinking that there should be a Natural Childbirth Hall of Shame. It will take a while to compile the names of the many people who should be in it, but it’s never too early to think about the design.

There should be one wing for the lay people who present themselves as “experts” on childbirth, like Margulis, Lake, Kamel, and Henci Goer, among others. There should be another wing for those “birth workers” who have been persecuted for no better reason than because they presided over the births of a bunch of dead babies, including Biter, Ina May Gaskin (she deserves her own private alcove), Rowan Bailey, Christie Collins, Gloria Lemay, and all the “Sisters in Chains.” There should be a special section for organizations that profit from disseminating misinformation like Lamaze International, and other childbirth lobbying organizations.

And the courtyard should be set aside for the Midwives Alliance of North America, highlighted with a plaque in honor of MANA Liar-in-Chief Melissa Cheyney.

Jennifer Margulis has gone from journalist to joke, because of her endless stream of nonsense. Perhaps if she spent more time learning science, and less time worrying about me, she wouldn’t be one of the leading candidates for a spot in my Natural Childbirth Hall of Shame.