Push Back: Guilt in the Age of Natural Parenting

Push Back: Guilt in the Age of Natural Parenting

by Amy Tuteur


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062407337
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 01/10/2017
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.20(d)

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.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Part I Subverting the Science

Chapter 1 Natural Childbirth Is Nothing Like Childbirth in Nature 15

Chapter 2 Interventions Are Preventive Medicine 45

Chapter 3 There Is No Benefit to Refusing Pain Relief 73

Chapter 4 The Right C-section Rate 95

Chapter 5 Breast Is Not Always Best 121

Chapter 6 There's No Science That Supports Attachment Parenting 161

Part II The Natural Parenting Industry

Chapter 7 Who Hijacked Childbirth? 193

Chapter 8 The Commodification of Birth 223

Chapter 9 The Business of Breastfeeding 243

Part III A Sexist Philosophy of Privilege

Chapter 10 How Natural Parenting Is Anti-feminist 261

Chapter 11 Women Do Not Have Other Ways of Knowing 289

Chapter 12 Sanctimommies and the Joys of Shaming 301

Conclusion Push Back Against the Guilt of Natural Parenting 333

Acknowledgments 335

Notes 337

Image Credits 359

Index 361

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