Marginalizing women by diverting them into the vagina wars


When you think about it, it’s a stroke of genius.

If you were a misogynist who felt threatened by competition from women in business, science and politics, what better way is there to marginalize women once again than to divert them into competing over who has the better vagina and breasts?

That was the conscious plan of the founders of the natural childbirth, lactivism and attachment parenting movements. The movements were explicitly created to convince women to withdraw from competition with men and re-immure themselves in the home. Grantly Dick-Read, fabricated the racist lie that “primitive” (read black) women had painless childbirth and that white women of the “better classes” who wanted to have painless childbirth, too, simply had to withdraw from competing with men to compete with other women over who had the more “authentic” birth.

[pullquote align=”right” color=”#A5194C”]Convincing women to fight over who has the better vagina and breasts diverts them from taking their rightful place in wider world.[/pullquote]

That was the conscious plan of the founders of the La Leche League, 7 devout Catholic women, who saw the promotion of breastfeeding as a way to keep mothers of young children out of the workforce and send them back home where they belonged.

Dr. William Sears, the popularizer of attachment parenting, is a religious fundamentalist who promulgated a philosophy that fetishizes physical proximity of mother and child (“baby wearing”) effectively forcing women back into the home.

As a result we have women claiming to be “empowered” by unmedicated vaginal birth when the reality is that designating one form of birth as better than another is just a way to instigate a sophisticated version of a cat fight. We have women feeling that they have “failed” because their babies were born by C-section, when the only failure is the willingness of women to judge each other by whether a baby transited her vagina.

As a result we have a public health campaign grossly exaggerating the benefits of breastfeeding in order to moralize infant feeding, implying that some mothers are superior to other mothers because of the way they wield their breasts. The truth is that we have never detected any population wide benefits to breastfeeding term infants beside a few less colds and episodes or diarrheal illness over the first year. The aggressive promotion of breastfeeding is a masterstroke in marginalizing women, because the hours devoted to breastfeeding, or attempting to breastfeed or feeling guilty for not breastfeeding are hours that hamper the quest for equality in the workplace.

As a result we have a dominant parenting philosophy, attachment parenting, revealingly known as “intensive mothering,” that keeps women bound to their children 24/7/365 and therefore out of the workforce, the political arena and the wider world.

On the surface, it seems rather surprising that natural childbirth, lactivism and attachment parenting, explicitly created to force women back into the home, have gained traction among so many women, even women who call themselves feminists. It happened because the sexists who created these movements were aided and abetted by women who were able to monetize these movements. And the women who turned these movements into profit for themselves promoted the movements as feminist merely because all the workers are women.

Midwives have always existed, but had been overshadowed by modern obstetrics, which succeeded in saving so many lives where midwifery had failed conspicuously. The philosophy of natural childbirth came to the rescue of midwifery just when it was needed most. Natural childbirth allowed midwives to turn necessity into virtue. Their inability to use life saving and pain relieving technologies were transmuted from a rather obvious disadvantage to an asset by demonizing the technology itself.

Midwives, at least, are highly educated, but the natural childbirth industry has spawned a variety of childbirth paraprofessionals – doulas, childbirth educators, and lay birth attendants — who profit by promoting the virtues of unmedicated vaginal birth. Many of these paraprofessionals lack college degrees or even high school degrees. Their employment prospects are therefore rather bleak. Where else but in the natural childbirth industry can a woman who might not have the skills to work at Target become a private contractor charging hundreds of dollars per hour for her services?

Actually, there is one other place: the lactation industry. The lactation industry is the creation of La Leche League. In its early days, LLL leveraged the experience of mothers who had successfully breastfed to provide free advice for women who wanted to learn how to breastfeed. It didn’t take long for LLL to realize that there was no reason to give away knowledge for free when they could profit from it instead. LLL elevated the volunteer LLL leader to the lactation consultant who gave the exact same information but now charged for it. LLL leaders were not the only ones who profited. The organization itself, by charging for the certification and the courses designed to obtained it created a new profit center.

The race was on to increase profits by subverting science, claiming that unmedicated vaginal birth is superior (it’s not) and that breastfeeding provides immense health benefits (it does not). Curiously, though both unmedicated vaginal birth and exclusive breastfeeding are venerated as natural, both now require a legion of paraprofessionals, a stash of books and products, and large wads of cash in order to accomplish successfully. The central driver for both industries is vicious competition among women over who has better deployed her vagina and breasts.

And that explains in large part why my writing is deplored both by members of the natural childbirth and lactivism industries (I threaten their profits) and by natural childbirth and breastfeeding advocates (I threaten the sense of superiority that the industries have striven to promote). The result is the ultimate irony: philosophical movements created to marginalize women are aggressively promoted by women who profit from marginalizing other women.

The natural childbirth, lactivism and attachment parenting industries portray birth and infant feeding as feminist issues. It is a brilliant marketing tactic. By convincing women to fight with each other over who has the better vagina and breasts, they divert women from taking their rightful place in wider world.

79 Responses to “Marginalizing women by diverting them into the vagina wars”

  1. Anna
    August 20, 2015 at 10:49 am #

    I guess women who take pride in being able to birth vaginally simply have nothing else to take pride in. Can’t imagine a good-looking well-to-do woman with a career bragging about vaginal birth . No, it’s almost always the poor, uneducated, unattractive and socially miserable women. How pathetic. Vaginal birth as a major accomplishment in life. Just pity them.

    • Linden
      August 21, 2015 at 9:14 am #

      Not sure you are helping there. This “war” is BS, and so is what you’ve just written.
      My very intelligent, very accomplished engineer friend had PPD triggered/exacerbated by a bullying midwife who made her feel she was a failure because she had trouble breastfeeding. Did she have nothing she could be proud of? She had a lot, but that’s not how social pressure and shaming works.
      Conversely, you might have a lot of pain, or a lot of trouble BF, and somehow come out of the other side with much trauma. If someone tells you that you suffered for no good reason, you might not want to hear them.

      • Anna
        August 22, 2015 at 2:27 pm #

        You see, what you both wrote does not contradict my statement. The NCB ideology bullied these two otherwise successful and worthy women (KW and Linden’s friend) into thinking they were failures. No wonder, you have to have a very strong ego to resist the pressure. If you hear “failure, failure, failure!” from every corner you do start feeling that way even if you didn’t originally. What I meant is that a woman BOASTING of successful vaginal birth and breastfeeding in front of friends, relatives, etc. is a very specific type, vulgar to say the least.

    • Daleth
      August 21, 2015 at 11:32 am #

      Kate Winslet, a great-looking, well to do, very accomplished famous actress, lied about her daughter’s birth, claiming it was a NCB when in fact it was an emergency CS. That’s how strong the shame can be. She kept the secret for a few years and finally revealed it in an interview.

  2. Chelsie S
    August 19, 2015 at 8:47 am #

    This is so true. I’m so glad I have opened my eyes to it since having a near death experience in my “natural childbirth,” a year ago and not plagued with guilt over formula feeding my daughter because of these natural birth people who blamed me for my hemmorhage and threw me to the wolves when my body didn’t function “perfectly.” Thank you Dr. Amy for all you do. I am expecting my second baby in a few months, and am happy to know I have an epidural and formula available to me in the hospital. I am so surprised to see how mainstream and adamant these people have become! I had an app on my phone from babycenter to track my baby’s growth and after it kept telling me tips like, “consider home birth,” and “breast is best,” and “don’t worry childbirth is safe, women’s bodies are perfectly designed to do this,” I see right past it all now- and it’s been deleted. Childbirth almost killed me, breastfeeding depressed me, exhausted me and further depleted my weak body after so much blood loss and I’m grateful for finding your blog and knowing- a mother isn’t any better of a mother how she feeds or gives birth no matter what lies they try to sell you, and I’m much happier for it. My babies health, safety and my survival are my number one priority. <3

    • Daleth
      August 19, 2015 at 10:46 am #

      Omg how INSANE that the Babycenter app spouts such BS! Did you complain to them? I would.

      Congrats on the new baby!

      • Chelsie S
        August 19, 2015 at 10:54 am #

        Thank you! I’m trying to form complaints about it but still working on my wording! SO many people use these apps- it’s not right that they further an agenda with tips so biased!

        • Dr Kitty
          August 21, 2015 at 2:10 pm #

          You could try the Glow Nurture one…
          It mostly nags you to drink water, take your vitamins and do Kegels every day, which I actually need.
          It also lets you log pregnancy symptoms…which was good when I was vomiting a lot.

      • Fallow
        August 21, 2015 at 10:27 am #

        Babycenter’s app really is horrible. I used it because it was only slightly better than the What to Expect app. I deleted the What to Expect app because it was (in my perception) astonishingly sexist. But the Babycenter app is to be endured, not enjoyed.

  3. siren
    August 17, 2015 at 10:11 pm #

    I must be the worst nightmare to these people. I feel pride in having my epidural, and I felt pride in formula feeding. It made it even better because I was sticking it to these people and in a few cases, rubbing it gleefully in their faces. The more they tried to shame me, the better I felt about myself because I knew I had pissed them off by refusing to conform to their worldview. The best was an LLL person sprung on my by a fellow military wife – said military wife and LLL person never knew what hit them. Ah, memories.

  4. guest
    August 17, 2015 at 9:30 pm #

    I wish I had known Sears was a religious fundamentalist before. I never would have felt so bad in the infant days if I knew that.

    • MaineJen
      August 18, 2015 at 12:00 am #

      I did not know this either…some things about the AP movement are making a lot more sense now.

    • SporkParade
      August 18, 2015 at 2:13 am #

      I feel like there’s a lot of hiding just how crazy these sorts are. Some women get really angry when I point out that Ina May Gaskin is the widow of a cult-leader.

      • Mattie
        August 18, 2015 at 5:53 am #

        I didn’t know this, can you provide any more info?

        • SporkParade
          August 18, 2015 at 6:18 am #

 Highlights include: prohibition of birth control; marijuana as a “sacrament;” group marriage; vows of poverty and communal ownership of nearly all property.

          • Mattie
            August 18, 2015 at 6:49 am #

            They had some weird ideas, but not sure it exactly qualifies as a cult…the wiki article suggests that Gaskin didn’t actually want to be in charge (not really the mark of a cult leader) AFAIK people could leave freely if they wanted to, the sacred pot thing is a little odd I will admit but it was a hippy commune lol seems that with the communist ideal of communal ownership and the rejection of all the modern innovations re: medication and birth control etc… seems very counter-culture which makes sense to what they were doing, but not sure it’s a cult really (like, it’s no Jonestown)

          • Cobalt
            August 18, 2015 at 7:54 am #

            If the only major difference between your commune and Jonestown is Kool-Aid, you might be in a cult.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            August 18, 2015 at 10:25 am #

            I’m having a sudden image of Jeff Foxworthy doing a “…You Might Be In A Cult” sketch. 😀

          • Mattie
            August 18, 2015 at 1:25 pm #

            True haha they seem to be less culty now at least, although I’d never go there…they make you be vegan =/

          • SporkParade
            August 18, 2015 at 11:23 am #

            I would question how easy it is to leave a commune when you own nothing other than the clothes on your back and you live in the middle of nowhere.

          • Squillo
            August 18, 2015 at 12:18 pm #

            The use of force to keep members isn’t necessary for an organization to be a cult. A closed community with devotion to a guru who directs even the most intimate aspects of members’ lives and controls the group’s finances can be a cult regardless of the group’s original intentions.

          • Daleth
            August 19, 2015 at 10:50 am #

            The best thing I’ve ever seen for evaluating whether a group is a cult is the Advanced Bonewits Cult Danger Evaluation Frame, created by the late great leader of American Druidry, Isaac Bonewits. It’s a list of questions about the group, the answers to which tell you whether it’s a cult. Here’s a link:


          • August 21, 2015 at 1:41 am #

            The sacred pot thing may have been an attempt to use and grow it legally. Probably didn’t succeed, but worth a try if you already live in a commune and like pot.

      • Allie P
        August 18, 2015 at 2:42 pm #

        Meh, one person’s hippie commune is another person’s cult, but she’s still wacky von wacksberg.

  5. An Actual Attorney
    August 17, 2015 at 7:19 pm #

    OT. Erin, I lost track of your comment where you said you were having trouble getting therapy for ppd. That is unacceptable, and I know from experience how hard it is to advocate for yourself in a system when you are just trying to survive depression. Maybe we can help think of a solution. What country are you in? What’s your health system?

    • KeeperOfTheBooks
      August 17, 2015 at 7:34 pm #

      The comment is about a dozen down from the top on the “Ode to C-section Moms” post. I replied to it, suggesting she post in a more recent thread if she’d like some practical suggestions on getting in to see a therapist sooner in her health system. The commenters here have been wonderful in helping me through a lot and offering practical advice; hopefully, they can pull through for her, too. 😉

    • Erin
      August 21, 2015 at 12:46 pm #

      It’s not so much that I have issues advocating for myself because the PTSD is a far bigger issue, flashbacks, panic attacks, not able to sleep etc than the PND but more that I don’t feel I deserve help so I’m not engaged in trying.
      However a family problem is now forcing me to confront some of my issues head on and the jury’s out on whether I’ll either sink or swim (no lifeguards in this particular pond).

      • An Actual Attorney
        August 21, 2015 at 1:56 pm #

        OK, just let us know if there’s any thing we can do or help brainstorm. It sounds like you are going through a lot.

      • KeeperOfTheBooks
        August 22, 2015 at 2:45 pm #

        I’m sorry things are so rough for you right now. Really, please do take us up on the offer to help if there’s anything we can do.
        You’ve probably thought of this already, but I wonder if your psychologist’s office might at least be able to suggest a support group of some kind, either online or locally? I.e., a safe place you can go to talk about what happened, if that would be helpful?
        Peace be with you.

  6. horridwoman
    August 17, 2015 at 7:06 pm #

    I am a labor and delivery nurse in a hospital that is seeking Baby Friendly acreditation. Amy, I can only clap, slowly and loudly. A thousand times yes, messenger! You give voice to my heart.

    • horridwoman
      August 17, 2015 at 7:30 pm #

      Accreditation, actually. : /

    • KeeperOfTheBooks
      August 18, 2015 at 10:03 am #

      I just wanted to say “thank you” for all the good work you must do on your floor. I had my DD at a hospital which was also seeking Baby Friendly accreditation at the time. While the OR and recovery nurses were amazing–supportive of breastfeeding without being at all pushy–most of the postpartum nurses were simply obnoxious on the subject.
      There was ONE postpartum nurse there who had her head screwed on straight; she was fine with my breastfeeding, but she was also the only one who called the pediatrician to raise Cain about the fact that DD was losing a lot of weight very quickly, was crying/screaming inconsolably most of the time, and that this was Not Okay. The other nurses all insisted that this was normal/I just didn’t know what I was doing as a first-time mom/newborns all cry most of the time/etc. She was also the only nurse to offer to take DD to the nurse’s station to watch her for a few hours so I could sleep.
      You never know what sort of difference you might make to a mom like me just by being the voice of sanity and compassion in a breastfeeding-obsessed culture. Thank you.

    • Allie P
      August 18, 2015 at 2:44 pm #

      I just had my baby in a so-called BFH. Load of bollocks.

      • KeeperOfTheBooks
        August 18, 2015 at 2:45 pm #

        So concise, yet so accurate. 😀

  7. JellyCat
    August 17, 2015 at 5:34 pm #

    The premis is natural does not require technology and eduction and paraprofessionals are naturally not educated. This makes total sense.

    • Sullivan ThePoop
      August 17, 2015 at 7:50 pm #

      How is that feminist though? It is just a fad that actually puts women right back where they were before. Who addresses what men do with their health with the frequency they address what women do? I say get off my privates and let me do what I want to do with my life and my health. It is nonsense to want to go back to the dark ages as a status symbol.

      • JellyCat
        August 17, 2015 at 10:11 pm #

        People seem to want to go back to dark ages and there is nothing stopping them.

    • briar
      August 17, 2015 at 10:05 pm #

      Actually, yes, childbirth and breastfeeding have ALWAYS required education. You had your midwives who would be apprenticed to other midwives which would assist in childbirth and you’d have your mother, sisters and aunts teach you to breastfeed. Those were your only choices

      The difference of today is that we have choices and are being told those are the “wrong” choices because they are not natural and that they don’t keep women in “their place” which is barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen.

      • JellyCat
        August 17, 2015 at 10:10 pm #

        It used to be that there was only one type of birth, and now it is natural and unnatural births 🙂

        • briar
          August 18, 2015 at 12:36 am #

          Define “unnatural.” Because ALL current birth is unnatural. Giving birth in a tub with soothing music and candles is not natural, no matter how birth junkies try and spin it.

          And C-Sections have been around for a very long time. It was just that they were to save the baby at the expense of the life of the mother.

          • JellyCat
            August 18, 2015 at 12:43 am #

            Natural birth is when you are in the inflatable tub at home assisted by a lay midwife or unassisted, have long and agonizing back labour, give birth to a macrosic baby, at least 9 pounder and still don’t tear, but if you do you don’t get it repaired of course. That’s all very natural!

          • Roadstergal
            August 18, 2015 at 1:05 pm #

            Don’t forget the all-natural live-Tweeting, YouTube video, and Facebook posts.

          • JellyCat
            August 18, 2015 at 1:18 pm #

            Yes Facebook, I forgot about that. If you think you may have a problem, or obstetric emergency do not cal 911! Go to Facebook and ask for advice first.

        • Ardea
          August 18, 2015 at 3:58 am #

          Used to be “one type of birth” could actually be split out as follows:

          1-Mother and baby both survive
          2-Mother survives, baby does not
          3-Mother dies, baby survives, but then dies of starvation
          4-Mother dies, baby dies
          5-Either or both survive but have complications, such as obstetric fistula, or cerebral palsy, and are left behind when the tribe moves on…

          Fixed it for you.

    • The Computer Ate My Nym
      August 18, 2015 at 10:30 am #

      Yet if you object to any component of the “natural” program you are told that you should “educate yourself” and then you’ll agree with them.

  8. briar
    August 17, 2015 at 4:00 pm #

    “Curiously, though both unmedicated vaginal birth and exclusive breastfeeding are venerated as natural, both now require a legion of paraprofessionals, a stash of books and products, and large wads of cash in order to accomplish successfully.”

    A thousand times yes! Breastfeeding is free, biggest lie ever told.

    • Liz Leyden
      August 18, 2015 at 12:45 am #

      Breastfeeding is only free if a woman’s time is worth nothing.

      • Cobalt
        August 18, 2015 at 8:09 am #

        Formula feeding costs women’s time also, both in actual time feeding and in expending resources to get formula.

        Nothing is ever totally free in terms of resources (unless you walk away from the baby completely, I guess), but breastfeeding can be free compared to formula once the baseline unavoidable costs are subtracted (time spent actually feeding will happen either way).

        Now, how much time either method will cost any particular mother is hugely variable. Breastfeeding can be outrageously expensive, but it can also be a great savings.

        Choosing to breastfeed, or describing it as free for those who don’t have to spend money to make it work, isn’t necessarily devaluing women’s time. It’s being honest about how breastfeeding can work out for some mothers. It’s not a universal experience by far, but it does happen often enough that women can consider it a possible outcome when deciding what they want to do.

        • Young CC Prof
          August 18, 2015 at 8:57 am #

          Basically, if the biological mother is the person who’s going to be doing most of the feeding either way, and breastfeeding physically works well for her, then it’s cheaper, otherwise, it may not be.

          • Cobalt
            August 18, 2015 at 9:21 am #

            It’s possible, that’s all. Women who are going to be faced with an infant requiring feeding shouldn’t be given the impression that breastfeeding is necessarily horrible, oppressive, and a devaluation of her time and self. It might be, and that should be conveyed honestly, but breastfeeding might also be a great solution for getting the baby fed.

            You have to work with what you can know ahead of time (length of leave, amount of help, known medical conditions, etc) and what you can’t know (will breastfeeding, as a biological process, function well enough to meet the family’s needs).

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            August 18, 2015 at 10:09 am #

            It’s almost as though there isn’t a perfect one-size-fits-all solution for every single family and mom/baby dyad. Who’dathunk it? :p

          • Kelly
            August 18, 2015 at 2:47 pm #

            I agree and I think it is important for mothers to know of all the options and what the costs and benefits are. That way they can make the best decision for their family. If I had known how much pumping cost for me, I may have switched over to formula with my first child since it seems that I may have spent just as much.

          • Wren
            August 18, 2015 at 1:49 pm #

            For our family, it worked well because a) I was home and doing the vast majority of feeds anyway, b) I had a good supply and c) in general, I liked it. I viewed it as free because it was time I was going to spend on baby care anyway. When my son up and quit at 9 months moving to formula did make a fair dent in the budget. It also took up more of my time, as I was cleaning bottles and mixing formula, not to mention being sure we had some in (and took it with us when out all day).

          • Cobalt
            August 18, 2015 at 2:10 pm #

            That’s been my experience with the most recent addition. Formula would have been an extra expense without any real benefits. With the older kids, I had different experiences: combo feeding to avoid pumping at work and paying for formula at home, and one who needed only formula because breast milk was straight up destroying his guts.

            Now we’re rapidly approaching the one year mark I have to decide if I want to wean now while it’s likely to be easy and start buying more cow’s milk or let him keep nursing and keep the milk money in other budget areas.

          • Wren
            August 19, 2015 at 6:27 am #

            My second, now 8, made that choice for me. She has always refused to drink cow’s milk (though she will have it in cereal) and frankly nursing was easy enough to continue. I finally weaned her at 35 months (obviously she was not nursing like a newborn at that point) and it was ridiculously easy. I just told her she had drunk all the milk, offered her the slow side for just a few seconds, she got nothing and that was it, we were done.

          • Roadstergal
            August 18, 2015 at 11:18 am #

            That is one inherent limitation of BF – the responsibility for feeding is on one parent. (Or one parent and the smirking neighbor.)

          • Cobalt
            August 18, 2015 at 2:19 pm #

            That’s where your partner becomes a major variable. Mine is all about babies, so I basically got to just feed the baby while he did everything else. I didn’t even wake up at night after the first few weeks once the kid could latch himself.

            If we were doing majority formula, I would have had to trade some feeds for more diaper changes.

            If my partner was less helpful, especially at night, I would have done more bottle feeding just to avoid carrying the baby around while half asleep.

            It’s all about the ifs.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks
          August 18, 2015 at 10:07 am #

          Exactly. A poster on a forum I frequent is very smart about budgeting and saving and the like; she also breastfeeds her kids exclusively. However, she freely admits that since a) she’s a SAHM, b) breastfeeding comes very easily to both her and her babies, meaning she doesn’t need lactation consultants, pumps, etc and c) she enjoys it, then it’s the right personal and financial decision *for their family*, not necessarily for everyone else. For example, she sees breastfeeding not as lost time, but as time when she can relax on the couch and read or watch a show, giving herself some much-needed downtime. Fair enough.
          All of which is one reason why, on parenting threads, she, who breastfeeds her kids well into toddlerhood, and I, who will likely not try it again beyond the first day or two, see eye-to-eye on a lot of things: it’s a question of what works best for a particular mom and baby and family, not of “XYZ Is Always Best For Everyone.”

        • briar
          August 18, 2015 at 1:29 pm #

          And I refuse to agree with that. Women’s time is not valued. Why do so many women accept that their husbands come home from work and flip on the television, while they have been taking care of two under 2 all day while cleaning the house, and then that husband gets upset when asked to spend 30 minutes with his kids, as he worked his ass off that day? What about her? Oh right, what she did has no value as that is what a female is supposed to do.

          This is why people still think SAHMs do nothing all day – because domestic tasks are not considered “worthy” or have any value placed on them. And women have allowed themselves to be led into thinking the same way that men do. It’s wrong and demoralizing and detrimental to society.

          • Cobalt
            August 18, 2015 at 2:01 pm #

            Women’s time may be devalued in a cultural sense, and there are many marriages/relationships with major power and respect imbalances.

            But breastfeeding is not inherently linked to any of that. Can it be used to oppress? Yes, if choice is denied. Is it automatically oppressive? Absolutely not.

            Feeding formula isn’t going to make a lazy spouse suddenly value their partner’s housecleaning efforts. Feeding formula isn’t going to change cultural disdain for childcare tasks.

            Feeding formula feed to spite the patriarchy only works out if it actually works better for you than breastfeeding. If breastfeeding would have been easier, you’re just spiting yourself.

            It’s just milk, people.

          • Wren
            August 19, 2015 at 6:29 am #

            I was happy to breastfeed and let my husband take over diaper duty when he was home. Had I used formula, I doubt that deal would have been so easy to make.

  9. SporkParade
    August 17, 2015 at 3:59 pm #

    People talk about the “mommy wars” as if it were a catfight. I’m sorry, but the war is entirely one-sided. It’s always the mothers who chose the more inconvient/expensive/painful route who feel the need to put down other mothers. Probably because admitting that other mothers’ children will likely turn out just fine means that their own travails have been a waste.

    • August 18, 2015 at 1:14 am #

      Oh be fair, there are us “unnatural” mothers who had medical births and are “jealous” and “ashamed” and “hate” natural birth because we “failed”

      • MaineJen
        August 18, 2015 at 2:43 am #

        I can only speak for myself, but I don’t “hate” natural birth. I’m just not all that fond of pain. And I’m not a big fan of hanging around for days on end after my water breaks, waiting for labor to begin. And I actually wanted to go back to work…not very natural…or is it? 😉

        • KeeperOfTheBooks
          August 18, 2015 at 10:15 am #

          Makes sense to me! I can appreciate the idea of some of the nicer things about natural childbirth while very much wishing that all my future kids could be by induction or CS so that I’ll be able to plan when they’re coming and childcare for older siblings.

      • Ozlsn
        February 11, 2018 at 3:53 am #

        Well I admit to going through a period of being really jealous of women who had a third trimester. And of women who got to take their term baby home from hospital. And of women who could walk into the room and pick up their baby without having to first ask permission and then ask for help in getting them out of the humidicrib, untangling all the leads and getting them onto my chest without dislodging anything. That last one was the worst – I craved touch so badly, and it took a lot of mentally stepping back and recognising that we were all on different paths to not be jealous of the women whose babies could just be picked up without assistance and planning.

        Gotta say though that after the mandatory post-birth physio class where half the women were sitting on iced cushiony things I had no jealousy whatsover over not getting a “natural” birth!

    • Amy M
      August 18, 2015 at 7:31 am #

      Exactly. I can understand the mindset of: “more effort = better results” but that doesn’t mean its true. So if one can achieve the same ends with less effort, it makes the one who put in more effort feel stupid, like she wasted her time, like she suffered for nothing, etc. So, its easier to accept that those who put in less effort/found more efficient methods are lazy and took shortcuts and that their results will never be as good as those who did it the hard way. That’s not so, in the realm of child-rearing, but no one wants to admit she was duped.

    • Wren
      August 18, 2015 at 1:57 pm #

      I have not found that to be the case. I was a pretty darned crunchy type when mine were little, and yes, I was put down by other mothers for a fair amount of what I did. Heck, just making the choice to stay home (with 2 under 2 so my job would not have covered childcare expenses) was apparently an awful choice. Choosing to breastfeed in public? Oh my, what a terrible thing to do. Preferring a baby carrier, because my baby liked it and it made getting around easier with 2 under 2 and no car, was apparently ridiculous. Don’t even get me started on cloth diapers or making my own baby food.
      I got at least as much flack for the “crunchy” choices I made as for the C-section and vaccinations.

  10. Cartman36
    August 17, 2015 at 3:53 pm #

    “Where else but in the natural childbirth industry can a woman who might not have the skills to work at Target become a private contractor charging hundreds of dollars per hour for her services?”

    LOL! I literally laughed out loud at this because it is so true!

  11. yentavegan
    August 17, 2015 at 3:05 pm #

    La Leche League Leaders are volunteers. We do not ever charge money for our unique mother to mother support.

    • Trixie
      August 17, 2015 at 3:07 pm #

      What she’s saying is that the job of lactation consultant largely grew out of the volunteer leaders position.

    • Cartman36
      August 17, 2015 at 3:56 pm #

      The LC at my pediatrician’s office was not a volunteer. They actually pay her to be a miserable cow.

      • Who?
        August 17, 2015 at 7:11 pm #

        Nice work if you can get it-she may have been uniquely qualified?

    • denise
      July 2, 2016 at 11:12 am #

      Yes, and many give dangerous advice, with the same old extremely tired line “your supply is low because of formula, just breastfeed more often”. “Pediatricians don’t know breastfeeding”. As if a woman with low supply could possibly not have already breastfed more often. Does that even make any sense? A hungry baby cries her eyes out. You have no choice but keep the baby at the breast all the time.
      And a pediatrician might or might not be familiar with breastfeeding. But they are very familiar with the signs of malnourishment. And when the baby needs to eat more Not when your supply goes back up.

  12. Trixie
    August 17, 2015 at 2:48 pm #

    Great essay today, Dr. Amy.

    • Roadstergal
      August 17, 2015 at 3:36 pm #

      It’s a great essay, indeed.

      (And “The Vagina Warriors” would be a decent band name.)

      • MaineJen
        August 17, 2015 at 5:00 pm #

        Exclusive tonight! The Vagina Warriors perform The Vagina Monologues!

        • Mattie
          August 18, 2015 at 3:21 am #

          Sounds like a Pussy Riot =P

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.