HarperCollins announcement of PUSH BACK: Guilt in the Age of Natural Parenting

Push Back press release image

Less than 7 weeks to go! Here’s the publisher’s announcement of my book:

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Dey Street Books is thrilled to announce the publication of PUSH BACK: Guilt in the Age of Natural Parenting (On Sale: April 5, 2016; Hardcover; $26.99; ISBN: 9780062407344) by Amy Tuteur, MD. A Harvard trained obstetrician-gynecologist, author, and mother of four, Dr. Tuteur addresses the guilt that too often destroys the confidence of new mothers and mothers to be, and subjects them to a never ending storm of judgement about their most intimate parenting choices.

In recent years, the natural parenting movement—which praises virtues of birth without medical interference, the importance of breast feeding (at all costs), and attachment parenting—has become the new normal and a big business. In PUSH BACK, Dr. Tuteur is a voice of reason for mothers who thoughtfully make the best choices for their babies and themselves, but have to contend with other mothers and so called “experts” questioning those choices, through natural parenting websites, blogs and message boards, and even in person from “Sanctimommies” in the local play group. Dr. Tuteur shows that most of the scientific claims of natural childbirth, breastfeeding, and attachment parenting gurus are at best overstated, at worst factually false. More importantly, these powerful groups have all become big business, with a multitude of products and service providers who stand to profit from the false claims.

PUSH BACK delves even further, revealing the often sexist, occasionally racist historical roots of natural childbirth, lactivism, and attachment parenting and exploring its modern reach as a network of midwives, doulas, lactation consultants and birth coaches whom exist outside of medical regulation. Incorporating Dr. Tuteur’s own experience as a successful OB-GYN and mother, and original research on the latest science, PUSH BACK debunks the guilt-inducing myths and reminds mothers that loving your babies is the most important thing, not how you give birth or whether or not you give them a bottle.

PUSH BACK tackles the many sources of mothering guilt:

There’s No Reason to Feel Guilty About Interventions in Childbirth: Interventions, from fetal monitoring to C-sections, are preventative medicine. It is better to prevent a complication than to treat it. Since the introduction of modern obstetrics—including safe C-sections, anesthesia, and antibiotics—the neonatal mortality rate has dropped 90% and the maternal mortality rate has dropped nearly 99%. Childbirth is safe because of routine interventions not in spite of them.
There’s No Reason to Feel Guilty About an Epidural: Childbirth is widely regarded as the most painful event a woman can experience—that’s a biological fact, not cultural conditioning. It’s not “good pain;” it’s exactly the same as any other form of pain: carried by the same nerves, conveyed using the same neurotransmitters and processed in the same areas of the brain. And unlike any other form of pain, it can and should be treated if the mother chooses. There is no benefit to mother or baby in forgoing pain relief.
There’s No Reason to Feel Guilty About Formula Feeding: Though breastfeeding has real benefits, in industrialized countries with clean water, those benefits are small. Moreover, up to 5% of women cannot produce enough breastmilk to fully nourish a growing baby. There is no risk to supplementing with formula or using formula exclusively. Our approach should be: her baby, her body, her breasts, her choice!
There’s No Reason to Feel Guilty for Meeting Your Own Needs As Well As Your Baby’s Needs:The hallmark of natural parenting is “more work for the mother.” That’s not surprising since the original purpose of natural parenting was keeping women in the home, judging them and teaching them to judge themselves by the function of their reproductive organs, and dismissing women’s needs for rest, privacy, and outside stimulation. There’s nothing feminist about policing women’s bodies, ignoring science, and rendering their needs invisible.

With PUSH BACK, Dr. Tuteur’s goal is to help women release the guilt, recover their confidence, reclaim their bodies and push back against the natural parenting industry.

AMY TUTEUR, MD is an obstetrician-gynecologist and author of How Your Baby is Born, the first illustrated guide to labor and delivery. With degrees from Harvard College and Boston University School of Medicine, Tuteur practiced obstetrics at Beth Israel Hospital and was a Clinical Instructor at Harvard Medical School. She now blogs at The Skeptical OB, about all aspects of natural parenting. Tuteur has contributed to TIME, The New York Times, The London Times, The Boston Globe, Salon, and Science Based Medicine.

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PUSH BACK: Guilt in the Age of Natural Parenting
by Amy Tuteur, MD
Dey Street Books
On Sale: April 5, 2016 • $26.99 • E-book Price: $12.99
Hardcover ISBN: 9780062407344 • E-book ISBN: 9780062407351