Damned if you do, damned if you don’t

There is no way for natural child birth advocates to accept criticism. There are two main ways that NCB advocates dodge criticism, and it is by formulating lazy ad hominems based on the critic’s history with NCB.

When a critic was hurt by NCB

Wow, I read your story and I am *so sorry* that you had such a *terrible, horrible* experience. I hope some day you can heal from what happened and move on with your life. I sense that your anger and trauma has made you lash out against midwives and home birth, but that isn’t fair to those of us who experienced them as a sacred, positive experience. I am praying for you to find peace.

When a critic was NOT hurt by NCB

I don’t know why you are so angry, these women and their choices have literally NOTHING to do with you and I wonder what kind of mental health problems you must have to obsess about what other people choose to do during their births. I could listen to you if you had actually attended home births or had one yourself, but you just really don’t know what you are talking about!

There is no way to win. Its the mark of a group of people who are uninterested in actually learning anything, only reinforcing what they already believe.

midwives vs reality

I got a comment today from the author of a Babymed piece about the petition for safer homebirth. She wrote about it too, and I went to check out the article. The petition is for very basic precautions, namely licensing and insurance for home birth midwives, something I am advocating for in my state. How could anyone object? Well, like this…

choice limited

Ingrid Anderson commented

“It’s really difficult to tell who exactly the “Coalition for Safer Homebirth” is. Smart marketing for a petition that at its core is anti-homebirth and entrenches confusion and obstacles to caring for women and babies well and safely at home.

Calling for the eradication of midwives is ugly political history repeating itself (this time led by privileged white women?)….

A privileged white CNM in a state that, thankfully, recognizes the tremendous contribution of CPMs!”

Ingrid thinks that requiring licensure and insurance “entrenches confusion and obstacles to caring for women and babies well and safely at home”. How? Being licensed as a CPM is a joke, all you need are 40 births and to pass a single exam, but midwives still oppose those very basic measures.

Next she says the petition calls for the eradication of midwives, and claims that the proof of that is in that “privileged white women” are calling for it. The petition absolutely does not call for the eradication of midwives. The even more stringent laws that physicians and nurses must obey have not eradicated the profession of medicine, and has actually improved it significantly since the days of unlicensed, rogue medicine.

What is funny to me about this is the fact that home birth midwives serve predominantly privileged white women, like Ricki Lake. Your race, sex, and income level are only relevant if you oppose home birth, it seems! In reality the coalition is mostly home birth loss parents, so they are likely to be white and upper class just like most women that home birth. It would be downright strange for the demographic of those harmed by the profession deviated wildly from the demographic of the population they serve.

The other thing that the midwife ignores is the reverence for white males in the natural child birth movement. Grantly dick reed wrote Birth Without Fear, and was an outspoken white supremacist. Marsden Wagner is another dead white patriarch who is worshipped in home birth circles despite being a pediatrician instead of an obstetrician or a neonatologist.  Michael Odent is revered, despite spouting damaging lies about the mode of birth ruining the bond between mother and child (I suppose people find his accent charming?). Someone is probably thinking “WHAT ABOUT INA MAY GASKIN???!!!” right now, and the truth is that she was in a patriarchal sex cult when she learned midwifery. Her husband, stephen gaskin, is the one who decided unmedicated birth on their compound was the law of the land. He also decided having sex with anyone you felt like was the law of the land, and hence so many pregnancies. Ina May just did her wifely duty in delivering the babies and trying to spread her beliefs to other people. The natural child birth ideology that started in soviet russia was borne out of necessity- they didn’t have enough pain relief to go around, and they couldn’t say anything bad about the government failing to provide, so the lie that unmedicated birth was superior was born to keep women in line. That’s an uglier history than the migration to hospital birth.

I also need to address the exploitation of women of color in developing nations by natural child birth workers like CPMs and some doulas. Anyone who is trying to be a CPM knows its damn hard to find someone to study under to get your 40 births, and so some have resorted to going to different nations to help poor people give birth. They can’t offer much real help because they lack equipment and knowledge, but instead of say fundraising to help bring actual obstetric help to developing nations and then studying there, they simply send worthless helpers who fly back home and start delivering babies as “professional” midwives. They are delivering anyones baby without the hope of hospital transfer, normalizing dangerous situations for the midwives that decide to do an international externship. I’ve documented time and time again that sometimes a negligent midwife is worse than giving birth alone, and the stories of women in other countries who suffered under an ignorant or cruel midwife are unlikely to ever be heard. The midwife international scandal is enough proof of how dirty this type of “training” really is.

This is the kind of off-the-wall opposition you get when you try to make home birth midwives meet a minimal standard of professionalism. You are suddenly racist and eliminationist, despite just asking for a license and insurance.

Gwyneth Paltrow says steam your vagina, an OB/GYN says don’t

Originally posted on Dr. Jen Gunter:

paltrowOn today’s episode of ask the experts we pit the gynecologic advice of Gwyneth Paltrow, a consciously uncoupled actress and self-professed lifestyle expert who dabbles in vaginal health, against that of yours truly, a board certified OB/GYN who has completed a 5 year OB/GYN residency and a fellowship in infectious diseases and is an expert in vulvovaginal disorders.

Ms. Paltrow, recommends a V-steam. Her words:  “You sit on what is essentially a mini-throne, and a combination of infrared and mugwort steam cleanses your uterus, et al. It is an energetic release—not just a steam douche—that balances female hormone levels. If you’re in LA, you have to do it.”

My response: Don’t.

Here’s why.

The vagina (and uterus and vulva for that matter) should be viewed as self-cleaning ovens. We know that douching is harmful, heck, even seminal fluid can be harmful (exposure to multiple partners without condoms is…

View original 765 more words

Sometimes doulas are scary as well

A doula calling herself “rosie posie” on facebook (which is obviously not her real name) got into some trouble in a birth worker’s group recently (the group has everyone who identifies as a birth worker, from photographers to nurses and possibly some OBGYNs). A birth worker was discussing a mother with risk factors and what she should do. Rosie Posie suggested Unassisted Childbirth, or Freebirth as it is sometimes called. Someone sarcastically replied “sure, and we could just start a donation website for their child’s brain damage!” Rosie’s response is below:

UC doula

“Brain damage? I’ve attended over 20 successful unassisted home births as a home birth doula, and I had mine unassisted. She could esaily find an affordable and experienced doula whose able to recognize signs of distress if needed.”

This is, of course, rubbish. Even home birth midwives are notoriously poor at spotting fetal destress outside of brachycardia (low heart rate). All the other people in the group call her out on it. The next claim she makes it horrifying:

“I have experienced a stillborn death. You openly discuss with the client that you are not a midwife nor are u responsible for anything that happens. Homebirths are 100% on the parents and they also need to be aware of signs. The doula is there for extra support, help with the kids help with theh usband help around the house and gentle guidance. Its not illegal unless you are impersonating a midwife. Im surprised at the lack of faith in homebirth in this group”

So she says she has seen “over 20″ unassisted childbirths and had her own. Let’s be charitable and say it was 29, and hers made a 30th. That would mean the death rate she has observed is 1 out of 31 babies born unassisted dying. That is *astronomical* in the world of perinatal mortality statistics, even more horrendous than the 1/200 breech home birth mortality rate that gave MANA pause. Of course that didn’t make MANA condemn home breech attempts or anything, but they at least knew it was a terrible statistic that they would have to say something about, even if it was just weasel words.

Rosie goes on to explain more about her theory about her responsibility for her clients (in light of the outlandish safety claims she makes about freebirth):

uc doulah

“Meh. I’ve heavily discussed with a lawyer. my contract is pretty solid and ive never ran into these issues. If youre firm about the amount of support you can and cannot provide and the families sign on the dotted line they dont really have a case. Theres no harm in encouraging anyone to learn how to recognize the signs in labor. Ill keep doing me and attending awesome homebirths. There are doulas offering home abortions for christs sake you dont see anyone suing them when something goes wrong (again something i have experienced)

Another poster calls her out on her craven indifference to the lives of women.

It was refreshing to see people being called out in an NCB space about a lack of safety and concern for clients. The thing is that Rosie’s past and future clients will likely never see this exchange, and since she used a fake name there is no way to let anyone know about it beforehand. How many doulas and midwives have said something equally outrageous online without their clients knowing?

Everyone is so eager to put the blame on parents and families that hire a doula or midwife, but almost no one in their ranks is willing to make a system to hold them accountable.

Rosie quit the group later because she thought it was too closed minded.

It was hard to tell if a post had been deleted, but there seemed to be multiple responses to Rosie about the specifics of a doula performing abortions, they all mentioned purchasing Cytotec off of the internet and administering it to moms who were miscarrying early. I assume Rosie deleted a post in order to absolve herself of being investigated for practicing medicine without a license because the responses I saw do not make sense without such a comment. Leave a comment if you have more information.

Rosie has the kind of attitude that I imagine Rowan Bailey did before they were arrested for the death of a child during a home birth. She too had no idea what she was doing but was confident enough to stay a fatal course anyway. That is what is so disarming about natural child birth types- the confidence. It is hard to think of someone being so confident about if a child will live or die without being on the right side of things, but they aren’t. They are too stupid to know they are too stupid to be delivering children. The dunning kruger effect is alive and well in NCB circles.

…a space for people who left NCB


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