Well, you do seem to have mellowed considerably, if your blog is any indication. You are/were even using a “spacewasting babycage” (albeit sidecared to your bed) and a “box on wheels” aka a stroller, correct?
I just discovered your site through your link on Dr. Amy’s site and wanted to say Thank You!! I was toying with starting a blog called TheUnnaturalMother.com but I’m not a doctor and don’t have the skillz to debunk all of the crap that’s out there. You do a great job and in a much less combative tone than Dr. Amy (not that I don’t appreciate her POV, but the bare-knuckle brawls on her site are too much for me sometimes). I’ll be passing your site on to the new moms I know.
I saw some of your responses to the anti-vax crowd, so yeah, I know you’re hardly a pushover! But for some reason you’re not getting the caged death matches over here while Dr. Amy’s blog is sometimes like Beyond Thunderdome.
Well, Dr. Amy’s blog is being carefully watched by the more rabid of the AP parenting crowd who seem to do a good job of targeting their known enemies on the Internet and going for blood. I noticed this sort of thing on far more personal, less scientific blogs. It’s interesting to see the same names (and the same dogma) coming up again and again. It kind of reminds me of political “debates” on the Internet where the opposing party will write letters to other blogs (and even newspapers) – but it’s all the same letter, using different names. I saw this with the NRA as well! Whenever they spotted someone who was anti-gun control (who was popular) on the ‘net – they would all converge on the site en masse and make it seem as if popular public opinion supported their brand of reality.
I’ve seen Dr. Amy’s blog reviled and referred to on various AP and home birth advocacy pages, including a link to her site. It’s not surprising that her site would have so many heated debates when so many of those with opposing views are purposefully jumping on her site ONLY for the chance to disagree, rather than for the chance to have any sort of intelligent debate. I actually *found* Dr. Amy’s blog via someone who was bashing it! And of course, if you have popular AP and home birth advocacy sites that post comments about how horrible some other site is… then it’s not that much of a surprise that many would go there just to talk about how wrong they think Dr. Amy is. But of course, Dr. Amy attracts many in her readership who are going to be naturally opposed to the AP and natural childbirth advocacy groups who read her blog regularly. Thus – you have two groups of people on the comments who have diametrically opposed points of view and each group thinks the other side are complete morons. Thus – the cage fight atmosphere…
As a result of this… and since I’m already very well familiar with (and sick of) all the debates on any given subject concerning AP parenting and home birth advocacy – both pro and con – I tend to read Dr. Amy’s articles and skip reading the comments, unless I just feel like watching how much debates can deteriorate into basic name calling in its various guises.
I still think though that Dr. Amy’s site provides a much needed and valuable resource for those parents out there who are looking for well-reasoned and well-researched alternatives to the home birthing and/or AP parenting world view. As an expectant mother (seven months pregnant and counting) who is also scientifically minded and a skeptic at heart, I find her site a breath of fresh air compared with all the fear mongering, guilt and pressure that I receive as a result of not following the strictures of what the rest of the parents in my community are doing…. and that I *can* be a good mother and a good parent without the need to conform to other people’s ideas of what it means to be a good mother.
I think the comments section on Dr. Amy’s blog is actually as great, or greater, a resource than the original posts. While there are drive-by posters who don’t contribute anything but insults, the articles themselves are often just a launching pad for many an intelligent discussion and the source of much additional information. Maybe even the AP lurkers are learning something!
I hope to establish such a discussion here as well, though my subject matter is often broader and less deep.
I’m glad we’ve come a long way from my own baby-parenting days (which were not all that long ago, come to think of it) where someone would post Mothering Magazine’s or Dr. Sears’ latest ‘bit of wisdom’ on a messageboard, the crowd would swoon, and I’d be left thinking “Why is nobody except me seeing the obvious distortions and challenging this?”.
Ah well… serves me right for dismissing the comments section too quickly of Dr. Amy’s board. I did notice a fire-fight on some of the comment threads that seemed not so productive – but as I pointed out before, I felt that this was hardly the fault of the site owner, but more indicative of the lengths some people will go to in order to seek out those who disagree with them *only* so they can have the chance to shout them down – rather than trying to engage in any intelligent debate on the subject. Just since yesterday, I found three different AP/NP sites that listed Dr. Amy’s blog, asking their fellow people to target Dr. Amy’s blog on specific issues…. and I wasn’t even trying that hard to find these.
I suppose I just find it amusing/sad/strange – that those who hold the opposing view would conduct some seek-and-destroy mission on other websites that voice opinions that are contrary to their own. But it’s not like it’s only the blogs or various Internet sites that suffer from these sorts of relentless attacks. Many of these people also lobby politically rather heavily and/or go on letter writing campaigns to various school districts, law makers, the AAP, etc… in order to push their agenda – or what they think is the one-size-fits-all model of ideal parenting. The problem with this is that the “squeaky wheel gets the grease” and policies, even public health recommendations, are being altered by public pressure from these groups.
I’m very grateful to find Dr. Amy’s blog, as well as your site. I feel like I’m stuck in AP/NP purgatory where I live right now and am heavily pressured by other parents and/or other birthing professionals or “experts” to the point where I feel exhausted. It’s so refreshing to see others who feel similarly to how I feel, voicing their opinions. About a month ago, I was slogging through the methodology of various “research” papers that APers and NPers would cite to support their claims in an attempt to weed fact from fiction and real medical advice and sound parenting practices from scare tactics. I take my job as parent *very* seriously and want to know that I’m making the right decisions, not because I “feel” they are right, but because they’re the best decisions I can make, based on all available medical research and sound sociological/developmental studies.
The problem with this endeavor is that it seems that so many people hold such strong opinions out there, that their beliefs of what is “right” as far as parenting choices are concerned border on some fanatic zealotry or religious dogma. I’ve gotten into many discussions where the opposing side will claim that their way is “right” and any other way should be considered “child abuse” – and this isn’t on issues concerning real and tragic neglect or abuse of children, but based on simple differences of opinion concerning breast feeding, co-sleeping, baby wearing at all times, whether to use a stroller or not or whether cribs are okay.
One group of APers I came across was citing research that claimed that a baby crying caused brain damage. It took me a long time to slog through the research of Margot Sunderland’s and look up other studies and the studies that Sunderland cited in her book in order to figure out on my own that her claim didn’t really hold much water – but was yet another case where someone who ought to know better and had some scientific training was guilty of cherry picking facts to fit her pet theory. Unfortunately, many APers will jump on the Sunderland bandwagon, claiming that this is why CIO parents are guilty of child abuse.
Apparently, I’m not the only one looking for answers on this issue:
check out the very elaborate reply to this question here:
But up ’till about a week or so ago, I felt very alone in my beliefs. I felt like I’ve been inundated by AP/NP views (especially in my community), but have not found many who were willing to go through the trouble of analyzing these views and the foundations of these beliefs in any systematic or organized way… which is why I’m again extremely grateful to find Dr. Amy’s and your site as the few voices of reason I can turn to after having to endure yet more pressure to home birth from local mothers or seeing a mother bottle-feeding her baby being accosted in a public park, because it is assumed that she’s feeding her baby *gasp* formula. (I plan on pumping my breast milk so I can return to work soon… I told my husband recently that I plan on getting/making HUGE stickers to put on the baby bottles that says “Breast Milk” – so I can just point to the bottle if any militant lactivist tries to accost me while I’m feeding my baby. If I have to hear “breast is best” one more time – I’m going to scream.)
Anyway… sorry for being so long worded… But thanks again for your site. I truly and deeply appreciate it!
Now my husband and I have to figure out a graceful way of backing out of the childbirth preparedness class we signed up for that turns out to be a weekly session where the teacher tries to brain wash us into believing the all medical tests are bad, vaccination shouldn’t be done, how ultrasounds and all exams are potentially dangerous and it’s best to give birth at home. This is in addition to having views on constant and on-demand breast-feeding ’till the kids are in grade school drummed into us as well as views on the benefits of co-sleeping, etc. (This is by no means, the only place where I feel pressure to give into the various home-birth, AP/NP views locally… it’s just the most obnoxious one.)
I think I’ve seen that Google Answers thread before. I’d read many of the links on it already, and have read other critiques (don’t remember if online or off, it was a while ago) of Sutherland’s proclamations. Like Dr. Sears, many “experts” stoop to lying about the research and pretend it supports their personal opinions about parenting, even when it clearly doesn’t. How else would they sell their books?
I’ve also taken on the CIO issue (and what the research actually says) in earlier posts – look under the “infant sleep” category at the top left corner of my blog pages).
By the way, if you think the general AP/NP atmosphere is one of religious zealotry, I just hope you’re not having a boy and planning to circumcise him. There is a good deal of overlap with the AP/NP movement as a whole, but the ‘intactivists’ are easily the craziest of the bunch.