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Push Back: Guilt in the Age of Natural Parenting Hardcover – April 5, 2016
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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. Looking for the best way to ensure a healthy baby and a healthy mom? This book is for you. (Roy Benaroch, MD, FAAP, Assistant Adjunct Professor of Pediatrics at Emory University and blogger at The Pediatric Insider)
Push Back, a serious, important, and ultimately reassuring response to today’s pervading parenting cultural norms. This book offers an alternative to parents desperately seeking a different sort of birth or parenting script; one that relies more on intellect than emotion; on love rather than biology. (Suzanne Barston CLC, creator of The Fearless Formula Feeder blog and author of Bottled Up: How the Way We Feed Babies Has Come to Define Motherhood, and Why It Shouldn't)
“I highly recommend that every mother and mother-to-be read Push Back. The amount of pain, suffering, and guilt that I could have avoided and alleviated had only I understood the flaws of the natural parenting paradigm as explained so thoroughly by Dr. Tuteur is immeasurable.” (Leigh Fransen, Certified Professional Midwife, HonestMidwife.com)
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 exposé 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?
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But in my opinion, the book uses some questionable rhetorical strategies in its arguments. The arguments tend to go like this (paraphrased, obviously):
"Doulas believe blahblah. They believe this because blahblah! Haha, isn't that stupid of them? Here's an example of a doula saying something outrageous and stupid that proves that doulas believe blahblah. Boy, doulas are the worst!"
This general pattern is used to discredit doulas, childbirth educators, lactation consultants, women who write birth stories, women who feel negatively about their birth experiences, and anyone else who designates him/herself as a "natural childbirth advocate."
It seems just as foolish as claiming, for instance, that OBs love doing c-sections and schedule them around their golf schedules, then citing an example of one OB who did that one time. I don't find this rhetorical style particularly convincing.
As a scientist, I'm a lot more interested in hearing evidence than arguments. I would have preferred to read a book that pushed back against natural parenting by systematically presenting evidence, evidence and more evidence showing that the claims of natural childbirth/attachment parenting groups and gurus are demonstrably false. I would have liked to read, for instance, a book that dispassionately presented the risks and benefits of things like c-sections, VBACs, and breastfeeding -- a source that overwhelmed, confused parents could rely on to help guide decision-making without feeling like they're being pushed by someone's agenda (an agenda that, again, I actually agree with).
That said, even though I had hoped the book would be something it wasn't, I did appreciate a lot of what it was. I thought the author was at her best when she spoke from her area of expertise -- her examples of obstetric emergencies, near-misses, and catastrophic outcomes really brought her points home. The chapters that discussed the actual delivering of babies were the most informed and informative. And after having a c-section that I really did not want, the chapter applauding me for making that choice to bring my daughter safely into the world actually moved me to tears.
If you're hoping to use this book to make evidence-based decisions, you will have to do an awful lot of wading through the author's opinions and assumptions about other people. But the evidence is in there, and overall I think the book's message is an important one.
She makes understood that the "natural birth movement" and "attachment parenting era" really are ploys to put women back in the home. She also reiterates that you don't need to give birth vaginally and unmedicated or parent attached-ly to be a good loving mother. She reminds us the dangers in both unassisted and home births. She uses science and facts in her writing, not emotional quack-based lies.
I highly recommend this book.
Loved the style in which the book is written, accessible anecdotes, thoughtful analysis, and current science.
Thank you Dr. Tuteur for reminding us that what really matters is what is best for you and your baby in your own particular circumstance. This book will now be our go to gift for all the newly expecting parents in our lives!!
And, although we are past the stage of raising a young family, it is still an important part of the knowledge that we will draw on when giving advice to our now grown children!
Of course, there is not shortage of people who will try to convince you that vaccines harm your baby and only homeopathy will do.
I have friends and relative who who have driven himself to the point of nervous break down by following various natural parenting philosophies and few how either lost their baby in homebirth or ending up with severe injuries themselves.
It is great to see a book that gives science based perspective on motherhood!
This book is a breath of fresh air!
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