No, Attachment Parenting Isn’t Some Evil Plot

7 04 2016

I saw this reddit-based propaganda piece written by a man (Jesse Singal) on the wicked, wicked ploy of evil people to guilt mothers into using attachment parenting methods in order to keep them locked away in their woman dungeons for all eternity. It is entitled “Is Attachment Parenting a Plot to Force Women Back Into the Home?”– lol. And who would know better than this man, and the infamous Dr. Amy?– otherwise known as “she who shall not be named” in internet mothering communities– because holy shit, if you say her name three times, like Beetlejuice (or Bloody Mary), she appears, along with her flying monkeys of Oz (her devotees), so badly so that modding internet mothering communities is a troll-infested nightmare. Not to digress too far, but let’s face it– Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, and childbirth/motherhood has no shortage of women who are suffering (whether they know it or not) from PTSD and understandable accompanying rage which could be directed any which way by heady narcissists of the internet age. So, I started to respond to the piece and found my words quite lengthy, not at all appropriate for a tweet or even a series of tweets. Which brings us to this post.

(For those who don’t know, “attachment parenting” is just a fancy new way of labeling natural and instinctive mothering and parenting techniques, usually with the gentlest methods. It means picking up a baby when it cries, co-sleeping, breastfeeding, baby-wearing, natural birthing, etc. There is nothing truly new or invented about it. And no two mothers do it exactly alike or even necessarily adhere to all of the components. Mothers often stay at home to fill this role. And make no mistake, language matters; naming these methods using only new buzzwords like “attachment parenting”  without further understanding is a clever psychological reversal that disguises the fact that woman is being separated from that which would have come naturally, to be replaced with reliance on “expert advice” to the contrary, stemming ultimately from patriarchal institutions. Creating doubt in a woman’s self and instincts is often packaged and sold to us as “equality”, and any feminist can attest to.)

Before I get into that, I just want to say that this is going to be just another case of damned if you do, damned if you don’t, for women. No matter what women choose, it will be vilified, in case any of you needed reminding. Nothing is woman enough or feminist enough, unless it comes from a man or his institution, of course (and then it’s job well done). And so, pitting woman against woman is a divide and conquer strategy from those who want women to forget how amazing and strong and worthy they are of love and also basic human rights, and who truly do have ultimate mothering and parenting authority in the natural world. It’s a way of keeping us perpetually down. Now on with my response.

Dr. T is a horrible person who rallies angry, traumatized women together to attack and troll women who do things differently and those who have lost children. There have been numerous private groups of hers and her followers, some of which you were actually forced to show your ID in order to be accepted (I am not joking), so the worst of the worst is not visible to the general public. The scathing violent tendencies, the plotting to destroy lives, etc. However, what IS published is typically bad enough. (Yes It Is Your Fault That Your Baby Died At Your Homebirth. — and she has the nerve to pontificate on “social control of a woman”?) And I know about these deeds because I was one of the tormented (my crime: planning an unassisted birth and talking about the subject of freebirth publicly with other women). My friends were other targets of hers (some of these include mothers of stillborn children. I can think of at least 4 of these women off the top of my head– I know them in part because our shared antagonism by this woman brought us together over the years). She also believes single mothers, lesbians, and mothers who leave an abusive spouse are selfish.

amy

 

Will the Real Dr. Amy Please Stand Up?

And attachment parenting is just parenting. It’s just natural, instinctive parenting. There is no plot. It’s just what happens when mothers prioritize mothering over other forms of modern existence, as much as is in their comfort level. Many are religious and traditional but many are feminist and radical.

If Dr. T is so keen on staying in the work force, why did she spend all that effort to go to medical school and barely practice herself as a doctor only to become a stay at home mom to her own children? Then she took up internet doctoring and was charging people for answers, and is now writing books demonizing women who choose natural mothering choices, despite the fact that she did barely practice and is out of practice in her profession by at least two decades?

How feminist is Dr. Tuteur?
She is using a lot of feminist-seeming arguments about women in the work force and the societal guilting of women in motherhood, but she laughs at phrases like ‘birth rape’, insists all Cesareans are good if not all completely necessary, and flat out denies the abuses women endure under current obstetric rule in childbirth today. In her views of modern medicine and specifically obstetrics, patriarchy is suspiciously absent. That women seemed traumatized by their hospital births seems to be something Amy is really confused about the existence of, having no comprehension of the connection between serious bodily injury, detachment from baby and hormonal flow, and psychological harm to the mother or child. Her two-dimensional understanding of childbirth sounds very masculine: ‘you got a healthy baby, and that’s all that matters, so what are you whining about, selfish women?’ In her book, Push Back: Guilt in the Age of Natural Parenting, one of her many stabs at midwives indicates that they are “merely replacing the patriarchy with the matriarchy”, outing herself as not actually very feminist, at all.

She also doesn’t believe in intuition or any concept of “women’s wisdom”, and thinks those are essentially myths. To my mind, this is woman-hating. In her world, the only true thing is listening to your doctor. And you’re only smart and worthy of being left alone if you do exactly what he or she says. Amy doesn’t see her own hypocrisy and instead decides it’s the open breastfeeders (for example) who sing the virtue of the practice who are doing the bad deeds, because these actions somehow shame other mothers who don’t breastfeed and this makes them feel bad. For all the bashing of the romanticization of primitive/natural living/parenting, her allegiance seems to be to technology as this infallible lifesaving thing, despite the fact that it frequently stands in direct opposition to the natural world and is in fact responsible for numerous atrocities, and void of the recognition that the rape of the natural world and of women and mothers is more aggressive and harmful than *women who make other women feelz bad by doing*. Most radical feminists will understand me when I say that “biophobia” is deeply patriarchal.

I’ve been dealing with her for years after being targeted, and from knowing her story and watching her strategize, I am aware that she projects her bitterness and regrets onto others to make a name for herself and feel better about her own choices, both professionally and personally, as a former doctor and as a mother. She is relentless and vicious. She has Google alerts plus voluntary scouts seeking out baby loss stories and she goes at mothers immediately fresh in grief with her minions, armchair diagnosing whether or not they “killed” their babies when tragedy strikes. She’s like Westboro Baptist for natural parenting, birth, and baby loss. ( <— this mother is a radical feminist btw. Imagine losing a baby and having some internet psycho “doctor” sic her hundreds or thousands of rabid fans after you to harass you and potentially dox or harm you and your family? All because she disagreed with how you gave birth, how you parent, and because she crowned herself the long distance expert in your child’s cause of death?) She and others have believed women like me shouldn’t be published, don’t have a right to voice our opinions or stories… I think we’ve all seen how no-platforming affects our freedoms as women. And when they can’t get women like me censored, they come en masse to try to hurt us in the reviews.

If I try to separate myself from what I know are her motives and try to focus just on the argument, I could see how aspects of attachment parenting CAN be used as a method of guilting women into staying at home.

That said, these parenting methods are not a fad, they are (many of them) primal and predate our modern conventions and senses of what now constitutes “normal”.

I’m tired of her representing Dick-Read as a eugenicist, too. I’ve READ Childbirth Without Fear, has she? I doubt dickreadJesse Singal has read it either while he allows her to defame the author, not that Singal cares or has any reason to care, has any close personal connection to its contents or why it matters. It’s a great book and has helped generations of women have painless natural childbirth, liberating them from sadistic medical cycles that were stopping women from even wanting children (like after I had my 2nd born). Grantly Dick-Read’s critique is on civilization. White “civilized” women have been convinced they are not animals, which is a lie which has caused them undue torment in childbirth. Other “less civilized” women were having more ease. The man toured the globe. He was a doctor who reported what he witnessed. If anything, it is more damning of racism and classism and Western civilization. But Amy will twist that to whatever suits her warped agenda.

Grantly Dick-Read admired women and spoke highly of them and wanted to see them freed from pain. His reverence was so poetic it brought tears to my eyes on repeated occasions. Amy speaks ill of women constantly and seems to find glee is personally causing them pain. Their contributions to the world in terms of pain and suffering and disdain versus liberation and honoring is starkly felt. Hearing their words is the difference between love and hate.

Oh, what a tangled web we weave…
I hesitate to embrace the message of Singal’s piece. Because even without the people Amy is trying to shit talk (which is like, 90% of her notoriety– gaining fame by attempting to defame others including some blatant lying on her part), these methods of parenting are instinctive and time honored. If modern women choose otherwise, fine. But Amy cares nothing for you, what she does is preys upon women’s feelings of pain, “mommy wars”, having felt guilted, inadequacy, the sense of being pit against each other unjustly, and uses it to her own personal advantage. She’s a really disturbed individual with more issues than Time, so taking anything she says seriously is a folly you choose at your own risk, and it’s anything but woman-loving. She doesn’t have scruples, she has personally invested grudges to legitimize the back story of her life to herself, the likes of which in its fullness may be a nut we never truly crack.

If only men and those who cater to male rule would stop interfering and let women do their work, in peace.





Getting Qualified Care: Titles and Education

13 01 2012

This is part of a series called Getting Qualified Care, where we examine the anti natural birther movement of storming the internet to dispel what participants within feel are lies and misinformation about birth. We are discussing just what constitutes quality care from qualified providers, the subtext being “who gets to decide this” — mainly, would you allow other individuals from a movement with their own set of biases choose for you what your standard of care should be?

What makes one “qualified”? Is it a prestigious educational background?


 Maybe it’s a rank or a title, like “Doctor”.

Amy is Harvard educated AND a doctor. Impressive.

Amy informs someone that college and medical background means you cannot disagree with them and possibly know what you're talking about. Interesting. Only a fool would disagree with a doctor!

Here is Amy telling us a Doctor is wrong.

Here is Amy telling us a Doctor is wrong.

Here is Amy telling us a Doctor is wrong.

Here is Amy beginning to tell us that yet another Doctor is wrong.

Don't want to ruin it for you, but, another wrong Doctor, according to Amy.

I could go on, but I think you get the point– Dr. Amy, 5, Other Doctors, 0.

It can’t be the Doctor credential and the years of medical training and background that is making people credible or qualified. Then again, I guess any glance at My OB Said What?! could have shown us that:

Just one example of real-life anecdotes submitted to popular website My OB Said What.

All doctors come to the table and present their “evidence”. How do you know who is telling the truth, especially in a world where we’ve considered that doctors are capable of being flawed?

Maybe it’s in the licensing of that title, to validate it.

Most of the “Fed Uppers” are on a(n in)quest to end midwifery that does not belong to the CNM (certified nurse midwife) category. They believe that all other forms of midwife (usually designated as CPM, or certified professional midwife) are a joke and disservice to women. It needs to be noted here that a lot of this stems from personal bias and bad experiences or trauma the women have faced with natural birth. Differing regions (particularly in the States) have varied regulation in terms of education and practice standards, but in general, much training and years of education are required for one to become a licensed midwife of any title. Yet, one of the main purposes this group claims to promote is eradication of what they deem less qualified midwifery in favor solely of the CNM model. Unfortunately, CNM’s largely practice in birthing centers and in hospitals. What I see as the real goal in mind is the eradication of home birth.

Is a midwife more qualified just for having gone to nursing school beforehand? Is a midwife more qualified for taking a more medical approach to birth? If no other midwife licensing is allowed or considered “qualified”, will that ensure everyone has more qualified care, or will it eliminate options and force women to choose between clinical birth and freebirth? Who gets to decide what kind of care a woman must receive, if not the woman herself? Who gets to mandate which one and only kind of education is valid and acceptable? What if midwifery as we know it became illegal?

Maybe it’s in the current state of practice.

Some argue that a midwife who refuses to renew her license recently is no longer a midwife and shouldn’t be allowed to practice. It doesn’t matter that her skills are still fresh in her memory, and that her choice to not renew is believed to be a political statement against mandating with whom and where women may give birth. To add controversy, suppose this midwife was unafraid of taking cases labeled “high risk” in order to give women more options for their labor, understanding the high risk cases could potentially result in a loss whether or not she presided over the care? If you knew a tragedy could be inevitable regardless, would you choose to stand by your patient, or would you CYA?

Others would argue that an out-of-practice OB/GYN who’s been retired for almost 20 years now, although still given the title “Dr.”, is no longer up to date enough to be giving accurate medical advice, opinions, nor to be weighing in on birth today and facts presented by others who are more current and active in the field. Indeed, birth has changed a lot since the 1990’s. For better or for worse, the skills, policies, drugs, and technology would be greatly different. A doctor who stopped practicing back then, in this fast-paced profession, would undoubtedly be considered old school or maybe obsolete to the hospital crowd.

Being fair, we could say that neither one has “lost” their skill set. Are either of them any less of a doctor or a midwife? Only in technicality. In our own minds, it’s up to our own judgment to ascertain this wisely. Who would you rather have– the latter, or the former– look after you? What would seem more “qualified” to you?

I think education is nice, licenses, degrees, and titles are all very nice… but at the end of the day, it isn’t any one thing that promises to provide you with “qualified care”. Everyone is equally capable of incompetence. Truly understanding this leads to resigned acceptance of freedom to choose the care you think is best, without harsh judgment or scorn.