Push Back: Guilt in the Age of Natural Parenting

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9780062407344: Push Back: Guilt in the Age of Natural Parenting

A Harvard-trained obstetrician-gynecologist, prominent blogger, and author of the classic How Your Baby Is Born delivers a timely, important, and sure to be headline-making expose that shines a light on the natural parenting movement and the multimillion-dollar industry behind it.

The natural parenting movement praises the virtues of birth without medical interference, staunchly advocates breastfeeding for all mothers, and hails attachment parenting. Once the exclusive province of the alternative lifestyle, natural parenting has gone mainstream, becoming a lucrative big business today.

But those who do not subscribe to this method are often made to feel as if they are doing their children harm. Dr. Amy Tuteur understands their apprehensions. “Parenting quickly feels synonymous with guilt. And of late, there is no bigger arena for this pervasive guilt than childbirth.” As a medical professional with a long career in obstetrics and gynecology and as the mother of four children, Tuteur is no stranger to the insurmountable pressures and subsequent feelings of blame and self-condemnation that mothers experience during their children’s early years. The natural parenting movement, she contends, is not helping them raise their children better. Instead, it capitalizes on their uncertainty, manipulating parents when they are most vulnerable.

In Push Back, she chronicles the movement’s history from its roots to its modern practices, incorporating her own experiences as a mother and successful OB-GYN with original research on the latest in childbirth science. She also reveals the dangerous and overtly misogynistic motives of some of its proponents—conservative men who sought to limit women’s control and autonomy. As she debunks, one by one, the guilt-inducing myths of natural birth and parenting, Dr. Tuteur empowers women to embrace the method of childbirth that is right for them, while reassuring all parents that the most important thing they can do is love and care for their children.

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From the Back Cover:

RELEASE THE GUILT

RECOVER YOUR CONFIDENCE

RECLAIM YOUR BODY AND

PUSH BACK AGAINST THE NATURAL PARENTING INDUSTRY

In her provocative call to arms, Harvard-trained Ob-Gyn and mother of four Dr. Amy Tuteur fearlessly takes on the natural parenting industry to address the problems blighting childbirth and new parenthood today: the pervasive sense of guilt, the judgment of other women, and the endless creation of ever-greater expectations and ever more work for new mothers.

What is the natural parenting industry? It’s the midwives, doulas, lactation consultants, and attachment parenting “experts” who have created a big business out of enforcing a set of unrealistic standards about how to give birth, how to feed babies, and how to care for children that at best can make women feel inadequate when they don’t meet them, and at worse can be dangerous. Considering that mothering is supposed to be natural, it takes a surprising amount of goods and services, from childbirth books and courses to birthing balls and birthing pools, from lactation consultants to breastfeeding pillows and pumps, from cloth diapers to fancy baby slings, to be a “natural” mother.

Push Back addresses everything you thought you knew about natural childbirth, breastfeeding, and attachment parenting and shows you that most of it is untrue. Part science lesson, part business exposť and part sociological analysis, Push Back is welcome news for mothers struggling with the guilt imposed by the expectations of the natural parenting industry, those who care about them both personally and professionally, and anyone concerned with the role of women in contemporary society.

Push Back is a challenge to all women to defy the madness of the natural childbirth industry and to reclaim that most basic of a woman’s rights: the right to control her own body. Ultimately, no matter what choices you make about your birth and your baby, it is a mother’s love and concern that makes for a healthy child.

“Don’t buy someone else’s story of who you are or what you should do to be a “Good Mother.”  Amy Tuteur speaks truth with love to help you and your baby stay strong and healthy through childbirth and those precious early months in your new family’s life.”—Susan Lemagie, MD, FACOG, Assistant Clinical Professor at University of Washington

“Relying on solid science with a generous dash of common sense, Push Back should be a welcome breath of reassurance for women caught up in the social media world of birth expectations. Looking for the best way to ensure a healthy baby and healthy mom? This is the book for you.”—Roy Benaroch, MD, FAAP, Assistant Adjunct Professor of Pediatrics at Emory University and blogger at The Pediatric Insider

In Push Back, Dr. Amy Tuteur asks:

Why do some midwives claim that unless you give birth to your baby vaginally, you haven’t given birth at all?

Why do lactation consultants tell new mothers to keep nursing, nonstop, no matter how much their baby cries in hunger, ignoring the fact that 5 percent of women do not produce enough milk?

Why does the sisterhood of midwives seem to advise women to reject pain management and simply suffer in labor?

Why is attachment parenting not seen as the sexist practice that it really is, designed to keep women out of the wider world by mandating a literal attachment to their infants?

Why does the natural childbirth industry ask women to cling to ideas about birth “as nature intended” and yet reject the historical realities of infant and maternal mortality rates?

And . . . since when did childbirth and childrearing become an acceptable arena for women to heap judgment upon one another?

About the Author:

Amy Tuteur, MD is an obstetrician-gynecologist. She is the 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. Tuteur has contributed to TIME, the New York Times, the London Times, the Boston Globe, Salon, and Science-Based Medicine. Her blog, The Skeptical OB, speaks to all aspects of the natural parenting debate.

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