The Cult of Natural Childbirth

birth cultAre you in a cult??

What do you picture when you think of a cult?? Do you think of a group such as Westboro Baptist?? Do you think of Christian religious sects? Do you think of a dirty old man who brings in women he marries, has children with, then perpetuates the cycle with the children? What characteristics make something worthy of being called a cult?

According to the Cult Information Center, these are the characteristics of a cult:

1. It uses psychological coercion to recruit, indoctrinate and retain its members

2. It forms an elitist totalitarian society.

3. Its founder leader is self-appointed, dogmatic, messianic, not accountable and has charisma.

4. It believes ‘the end justifies the means’ in order to solicit funds recruit people.

5. Its wealth does not benefit its members or society

Let’s look at the first description here- The use of psychological coercion.  In psychological coercion, the threatened injury regards the victim’s relationships with other people. The most obvious example is blackmail, where the threat consists of the dissemination of damaging information. However, many other types are possible e.g. so-called “emotional blackmail“, which typically involves threats of rejection from or disapproval by a peer-group, or creating feelings of guilt/obligation via a display of anger or hurt by someone whom the victim loves or respects.

Next- The elitist totalitarian society.  A totalitarian society believes their way is the only way to live. The group members have their thoughts and beliefs manipulated. The regime controls what members see and hear. Propaganda is widely used because it illicits an emotional response that pushes people to conform and prevent opposition from stepping into the forefront.

Having a self-appointed leader who is good with their words allows them to manipulate more easily. Dogmatic is basically where all your beliefs are facts and nobody can argue with you. Messianic is where someone is worshiped. The leader is wonderful and can do no wrong.

Normally money is raised and the leader doesn’t speak of it. They only collect the money for themselves under the guise of doing it for the group. This is not always a financial thing, though. In the end, everything the leader has will be for the betterment of the group.

It’s wealth not benefiting society or it’s members is obvious. This means the group will have absolutely nothing good to show for itself. It will have leaders and followers and nothing else.

Some of the other things with cults is that the members feel it is “Us VS Them” in all they do. There is also manipulation under the guise of love or friendship. If you step away, you lose that love and friendship. Your friends keep a watch out over you and report everything you say or do.

Let’s look at this in the natural birth world.

  1. Within the movement, the leaders can do no wrong. Everything they say is right and worth gold. This goes for people such as Ina May Gaskin, Rikki Lake, Henci Goer, etc. Criticize them or what they have to say and see what happens (you only have to look as far as negative reviews of their books on Amazon!). These leaders are accountable to no one. Their writings are not subject to peer review and anyone who does criticize (or even politely disagree) is attacked and silenced.
  2. Midwives and natural birth promoters earn money due to the following they have, even when it is to the detriment of their clients.  Women will pay anything in order to have an experience. But the money issue goes farther than that. NCBers raise money to protect bad midwives or midwives who are caught breaking the law in an effort to hide the poor outcomes of lay-midwifery.
  3. The natural birth community will NOT allow those of a more scientific mindset an opportunity to speak. No matter what studies or proof are offered, it is wrong and dismissed out-of-hand. Only things promoted by the leaders are accepted. If you do speak out, or even politely disagree, you are banned from their pages and they call you a troll, or worse. Guess which two of these three posters were banned from the page after the comments you see here:
  1. NCBers have set up an us vs. them mentality in the birth world. They tell women that the medical establishment is out to get them and their babies, alongside the pharmaceutical companies. They claim there is tons of money to be had by making sure all women have intervention laden hospital births. They create fear while at the same time claiming to dispel fear.
  2. Your natural friends will build you up and stand beside you as long as you stay in the movement. If you step away or speak out, they are done with you and will trash you publicly.
  3. This movement is doing nothing good for women or babies. A greater proportion of babies are dying at home than in hospitals. More mothers are feeling like failures and suffering from postpartum depression if things do not go according to their natural plans, and because their NCB “friends” are telling them they SHOULD feel bad.
  4. In order to draw you in, they have to use your mommy guilt against you. Did you have a c-section? Well, obviously it was caused by something a dr did and the c-section is why your breastfeeding relationship didn’t work out. So, here mommy is feeling bad and in swoops this woman who can tell you why everything happened how it did and how it can be prevented next time around.
  5. If you speak up about a midwife being negligent or causing a problem, word will get back to her if it is said to or around a mutual friend or really anywhere. Anything said that does not coincide with the natural beliefs is shared and the natural crowd will try to teach you a lesson.
  6. Manipulation is a regular occurrence. This is why these women get so close to you. They can use their relationship with you as a means of controlling you: “We are such good friends and I love you so much”.

If you watch the vitriol spewed by natural birth advocates, you will see how they have been deceived by those in the movement. Nobody can say anything negative about the tenants of Natural Birth. They have lost all compassion for other women and the ordeals they endure. The mindset has pervaded the internet and message boards amongst the more outspoken women. They have their groups that support and feed them information. Sadly, even intelligent and educated women end up as a followers in this cult. It isn’t until something bad happens and you ask questions that you see the true colors shown.

 

49 thoughts on “The Cult of Natural Childbirth

  1. Eye opening to many women who don’t realize how they are being controlled by the provider’s they choose. I used to say “I love the friendship with my midwife- our closeness makes me trust her.” And it did. And it made the harm and betrayals of our birth even harder to admit that they were caused by my midwife. I wanted to blame myself and protect our friendship, until finally, I couldn’t be my own scapegoat any longer. Not filing a complaint against her would have been an injustice to her future clients. Not only did it sever our relationship, but I started to get hate mail from her clients.

  2. I couldn’t agree with this more. Especially, from #3 – “More mothers are feeling like failures and suffering from postpartum depression if things do not go according to their natural plans, and because their NCB “friends” are telling them they SHOULD feel bad.”

    I had such horrible depression and disappointment and trouble coping after my c-section that started out as a home water birth… until a few months later when I realized I made it through birth with a healthy baby and just a small scar and actually, I’m pretty happy about that. But all of my crunchy online mama friends (not all, but like 95%) were making me feel like such a sad case. Suddenly no one knew what to say around me anymore. All the normal people around me were congratulating me on a healthy wonderful baby, and the NCBers online were just so so so sorry for me. What? And I was so brainwashed that for the longest time I was sorry for myself too… and then I woke up. And wished I had had that $4200 I sunk into my homebirth back, and that I had focused a little more on how to care for a baby after they come rather than the birth experience itself. I’ll do it so differently next time. I guess a lot of women feel that way between birth #1 and birth #2…

  3. I’m very happy to see this post. I was recently called a troll and banned from the Conscious Parenting Without Fear community (a name that now makes me laugh and begs the question “conscious of WHAT?”) administrated by the same “Mrs. BWF” semi-anonymous self-appointed persona. (For a collection of the pre-banning screenshots illustrating the conversation, see my Facebook album here: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10100492854766998.2841766.10720668.) My crime? Suggesting quotations that seemingly support the anti-vaxing movement be contextualized, verified, and sources given, and that failing to do so was irresponsible and led to a weak argument for her cause. Science?!!!! We don’t need science here! We have our beliefs!!!!! I’m sure that woman has blood on her hands.

  4. I TOTALLY get this…I naively joined a whole heap of natural parenting facebook pages when I had my baby a year ago, and you really do get sucked into their definitions of successful birth, breastfeeding and parenting. I finally snapped out of it when I realised some of the things mentioned in this article, especially about the glorification of the leader-in this case a friend of my brother, who I actually knew was a complete nutjob. Yet all these women obviously older, more experienced and more educated than her were hanging off her every word. Plus she was full of it, as we knew her home circumstances and they sure as hell weren’t as rosy as her facebook persona’s were. Thanks for this article, I feel validated in my cynicism.

  5. I’m really disappointed that enough people are having issues with the natural birth community to warrant an article like this. In my experience, natural birth advocates are a very passionate, well-studied group who value evidence-based care, informed consent above all. They feel that women should be given accurate information (as opposed to fear tactics) with which to make decisions about their pregnancy, labor, and their baby’s health. They see these things as one of the biggest feminist issues we face in this country, and being able to make these choices for ourselves is of paramount importance.

    That said, I am aware that there are extremists on both sides of controversial issues like these, and the ones in the natural birth and breastfeeding circles turn a lot of people off, which is a grave disservice. However, I think the extreme, judgmental people are the minority, and certainly not enough to make us all seem like we’re in a cult.

    When it comes to Facebook, there are times when certain pages feel like an echo chamber where dissent isn’t always well-received. However, they do discuss science and information, including negative stories about homebirth, etc. I would encourage you to check out the more respected pages like Navelgazing Midwife, The Unnecessarian, Feminist Breeder, Peaceful Parenting, The Leaky Boob, etc.

    • I agree that the Navelgazing Midwife and the Unnecesarean allow good discussion, but I disagree that they are the majority. I know people who have been banned from the all three of the other pages you mention just for politely expressing disagreement and offering legitimate evidence to support their arguments.

      • I am an admin for The Leaky B@@b, and your statement is patently untrue. We rarely ban people at all, and never for “politely expressing disagreement (etc).” We have banned people for trolling, for requesting that breastfeeding moms send them boob pictures, for being overtly vulgar and disrespectful (and quite honestly, even that last one takes a lot. We give you the benefit of the doubt until you prove you will just not stop being inflammatory and downright mean.)

        Also, since most of the admins have a wide variety of beliefs and experiencing in parenting, it’s pretty difficult to find a topic in itself where we would ban someone for having differing beliefs.

    • I’m sorry, but the Feminist Breeder is one of the worst with regards to what this article is talking about. That woman can’t handle even completely trivial dissent, and no one is ever allowed to question her, or anything she believes in.

      • This is true. I’ve had the most innocuous comments deleted from TFB. I find her boring.

        As for the leaky b@@b… I joined the facebook page but I eventually realised I had a different perspective on bfing to lots of the ladies on there. They were usually polite.

        BWF seems to outright have a persecution complex.

        • Completely agree. Gina cannot take criticism, and attacks violently when it happens. My first contact with her was when she was an undergraduate college student, and she seemed quite sure that she had a comprehensive knowledge of birth and obstetrics at that time, and that obstetricians were the root of evil.

    • This is a great article. Many women I know are strting to recognize the cultish aspects of natural childbirth proponents, and recognizing it for what it is. Realizing that health issues are between them and their care providers, not between them and some online faces who have somehow appointed themselves experts in childbirth. I would like to address the comment above on a few points:

      “I’m really disappointed that enough people are having issues with the natural birth community to warrant an article like this.”

      They are givng themselves a bad name by making women feel bad about their choices, and offering condescending – “oh it’s okay” pseudo-support when something “unnatural” has to enter the picture. Like the poster above who mentioned getting (unwanted, unneeded, and unwarranted “sympathy” over her c-section). Most logical, rational women don’t require “sympathy” when they’ve come home with a healthy baby on their way to complete recovery themselves.

      “In my experience, natural birth advocates are a very passionate, well-studied group who value evidence-based care, informed consent above all. They feel that women should be given accurate information (as opposed to fear tactics) with which to make decisions about their pregnancy, labor, and their baby’s health.”

      This is the heart of the problem right here. They think they’re “educated”, and that their “education” rivals that of hundreds of years of medical study and progress. I wish people would consider where this so-called “education” comes from. In this circumstance, real education (i.e. medical school, obstetrics, nursing) are sneered at, while reading books by those who have proclaimed themselves experts but have no formal education in the topic, watching documentaries is considered actual education and actual research. it isn’t. It’s opinion.
      “Informed consent” when spoken by natural childbirth zealots is a joke. Are they “informed” of the REAL risks of Group B Strep infection? Of the dangers of uterine rupture? Of the risk of pelvic floor damage? The risk of going post-dates? They’re not. They’re told these risks are made up, and anyone who mentions them is “fear-mongering”.

      “They see these things as one of the biggest feminist issues we face in this country, and being able to make these choices for ourselves is of paramount importance.”

      This has nothing to do with the feminism I was raised with. I think a lot of advocates confuse “feminism” with “feminine”. Because birth is the realm of women, it has to be a feminist issue. What is feminist is the amouont of work that women have had to do throughout history to have their needs addressed, such as safe and effective pain relief during childbirth and the development of lifesaving techniques and scientific support for themselves. Telling women they should give birth without modern interference – in fact that they should send themselves back a hundred years, both in philosophy and medical care, is hardly feminism. They crow about “choice” but that same “choice” is derided if the choice isn’t the same. Go to the Feminist Breeder or Unnecesarean and announce you’ve “chosen” a c-section for any reason, and see what happens.

      “That said, I am aware that there are extremists on both sides of controversial issues like these, and the ones in the natural birth and breastfeeding circles turn a lot of people off, which is a grave disservice.”

      I definitely agree here!

      “However, I think the extreme, judgmental people are the minority, and certainly not enough to make us all seem like we’re in a cult.”

      Well, with this I can’t say i agree 100%. These people may be the minority, but they SEEM like the majority because they spread their crapola loudly. And the majority seem cult-like to me as an outsider.

      “When it comes to Facebook, there are times when certain pages feel like an echo chamber where dissent isn’t always well-received. However, they do discuss science and information, including negative stories about homebirth, etc. I would encourage you to check out the more respected pages like Navelgazing Midwife, The Unnecessarian, Feminist Breeder, Peaceful Parenting, The Leaky Boob, etc.”

      Just so you know, the Feminist Breeder is the biggest offender when it comes to censoring and deleting comments. You will not find anything resembling fair and balanced information there, because if it doesn’t agree with her, you will be promptly deleted. Peaceful Parenting is the worst – a virtual breeding ground of misinformation and cult-like adherence to whatever their issue of the moment is. Not to mention the extreme judgementalism of the women who buy into what’s being fed to them there.

      I think it would be a great service to women if they read the post on this blog about how to discern valid, good, REAL scientific information.

  6. There is no balance on peaceful parenting. Mothers are encouraged to go postcards, vbac at home, just to mention a few. To encourage that sort of risk-taking behavior is completely irresponsible and heartless.

    • yes, PP is one of the worst. I got comments deleted for merely suggesting that all OBs aren’t there for greed and dint want to cut women up. really.

  7. Thank you for an excellent article.

    My first birth was an excruciatingly long and painful delivery, where I chose to have an epidural. In fact, the epidural is what transformed an otherwise difficult labour into a manageable one- I did not feel traumatised at the end of it all.

    However, when other people have heard about the fact that I excercised a choice available to me, I have been openly criticized to my face, and have been lectured on the ‘cascade of intervention’ and have been told that ‘having an epidural is like giving cocaine to your baby’.

    Now pregnant with my second child, I made the mistake of talking to a NCB midwife. According to her, the fact that I had an epidural is proof that I have been traumatised by my first birth (even though I explicitly said the epidural was a godsend). See number 3 in the article above: even though my experience of the epidural was positive, I SHOULD feel bad about it. Oh, and obviously my own experience is not to be trusted, either. I must be traumatised and not know it. So the NCB ideology only ‘trusts women’ when the women in question agree with the ideology, if women do not agree they must be either traumatised or they do not have informed consent.

    Furthermore, according to this NCB midwife, the fact that I am considering another epidural is proof that I am ‘holding on to fear’. The solution, according to her? The ‘grow and heal’, i.e. to blindly succumb to the NCB ideology, despite the fact that my previous experience tells me otherwise. See number 4 in the article- the NCB ideology is laying ‘blame’ for the epidural at my feet for not being ‘prepared’ enough for the birth, and all of this can be ‘avoided’ through magical thinking.

    I really fail to see how NCB movement considers itself to be ‘feminist’- I certainly would not describe it that way. To me this seems to be a movement that wants to reduce options available to women, and tries to coerce women into their ideology through scaremongering (which is not based on solid scientific evidence) and mommy guilt.

  8. I’m going to have to call bullshit on this article.
    How can you claim to be all about the facts when you make such sweeping generalizations?
    To say ALL NCB advocates or ALL midwives are one way is the exact same thing as someone who says, “All doctors care about are themselves. They just want to give you a C-section so they can play golf.” Those things that you have heard NCB advocates say about hospitals and doctors are sometimes true but are they always true? Of course not! And the same goes for midwives and women that have loved their natural childbirth or homebirth. More often than not these women do not care how or where you birth. You are gathering all of your information from a few blogs run by some random women and their random fans and people who have written books. Even if TFB has 10,000 fans that still leaves millions of women who are not her fans, who have had natural childbirths and don’t give two shits how you or anyone else gives birth.
    This is just another extreme but on the other end of the spectrum. Are you really not aware of that? I get so frustrated when I see women getting so angry about “the NCB advocates” and how extreme they are. And then in the next breath they are all about interventions and medicalized childbirth and they don’t even notice that they are just as extreme as those NCB advocates that drive them nuts. You are not in the middle and neither is the woman who runs Birth Without Fear. The people who are in the middle of this debate don’t even think about it or talk about it. They don’t go searching for NCB websites and then get all frustrated at what those websites are saying. They don’t even waste their time with it. This issue only is a big deal to those who choose to make it a big deal, who choose to spend every minute of their lives thinking, talking, searching about birth. The vast majority of women do not care about this and just go on with their lives after giving birth. IT IS JUST ONE DAY PEOPLE.
    Once a woman has made up her mind how she is going to give birth there is nothing anyone can do to change it. LIve and let live. We are grown women ladies not a bunch of competitive teeny boppers.

    • No one here is against natural childbirth. Most of the contributors have had natural births, and some have even had them at home. I’m a doula and I help women have the kind of birth they want, including natural, all the time. None of us give two shits how anyone else gives birth, either. The problem with the natural birth crowd is a. their extreme proselytisation online and in their literature and b. the vast amount of misinformation the leaders of the movement peddle in order to scare women out of listening to their doctor or accepting pain relief when they need it.

      • Heather- I think you guys are making generalizations based on either what has happened to you or someone you know or by stuff you have read on personal blogs that no one should take seriously. I can’t see the logic in wasting ones time fretting over what one says on their personal blog. You will not change their minds and you will not stop them from expressing their opinions( however clueless those opinions may be.)
        The problem I have with this constant “NCB is …” is that you are giving the impression you are speaking about all women that have enjoyed giving birth naturally or at home. I’m pretty sure no one is going to take the time to say, “NCBers ( disclaimer: only those who spread false information or make you feel bad for not going natural).”
        You see, my experience has been so completely different than what the writer of this article has experienced. Actually, I have been made to feel guilty by those that are not all about natural childbirth, not the other way around and I am a very private person and would not impose my beliefs on anyone else. In my experience, it is much more common for women to say, ” You better get that epi the minute you walk through the hospital door because you won’t handle the pain!” And when I said I wanted to try to go med free everybody laughed in my face, rudely too. Strangers, family members, almost every woman I came across when I was pregnant gave me a horror story about the hospital and a horror story about the pain. But despite all that I still don’t think that is the norm or that hospitals are bad. I believe that most if not all women have to deal with this kind of BS when they are pregnant, from all types of people.
        You say most of you have had natural births but was it a good or bad experience? I have noticed that those who have had a really bad natural birth experience are totally against it and those who have had a great one are all for it. That is because the way we perceive things in this life is always related to our OWN personal experiences with them. That is why I find it so silly to try to push our beliefs on someone else because of an experience we have personally had.
        Can I give an example? Ok, so let’s say you tried for a natural childbirth, the pain was horrible, you labored for hours. It was a nightmare. So, you meet a woman who is pregnant and you tell her that labor is painful that the epi is great and there is no point to try to go natural. The woman takes your advice. The second she feels labor she freaks out and rushes in to get the epi and then pitocin. Let’s say she ends up with a C-section. The next pregnancy she decides she wants to give it a try without the drugs. She goes to the hospital, labors for a few hours and gives birth. What a surprise, labor actually was not that painful for HER. The same could be said for someone who had a unmedicated labor thought it was great, told a pregnant woman it wasn’t painful and then, when that woman went into labor what happened? Labor was painful and awful. The point is NO ONE should be telling anyone how to give birth and both sides are guilty of doing it so why attack “NCB” as you say?

    • Oh, and the other huge problem we have is that the educational requirements for homebirth midwives are sorely lacking and not uniform across the country, and that they’re not required to carry malpractice insurance (and most make a point of not carrying it).

    • Kelly,

      I almost feel like we read a completely different article. I didn’t read anywhere where Bambi said anything negative about natural births or women that choose to have them. She’s talking about a specific set of women with a fairly strong online presence. Perhaps you think that presence is trivial, but it’s not really relevant either – cults make up a pretty tiny percentage of the population, but still manage to have a damaging effect on the people (and their families and friends) that are swayed by them. I also don’t see any mention of being “all about interventions and medicalized childbirth” in this article or in the entire blog.

      I support natural birth. I support homebirth with a qualified attendant. But I don’t find this article offensive nor do I identify with a large subset of the online natural/home/unattended birth community. As a woman searching for information, especially related to natural birth, I -do- find online information to be incredibly frustrating, poor, and often dangerous. So I suppose our experiences are different.

      In regards to your comments below. Again, I don’t think anyone has spoken of the safety of hospital vs. homebirth (and as Heather said, many of the contributors support homebirth), stated that they want to end homebirthing, or that they want to close the conversation on the benefits of natural childbirth, so perhaps your comments are just a general frustration from other websites? I mean, I’d be happy to talk about the Wax paper and other papers that have looked at homebirth vs. hospital birth and give my perspective, but it’s not really relevant to the topic at hand, is it?

  9. I’m definitely going to speak up the next time I see someone from the NBC doing any of the things mentioned here. Being pushy and alienating anyone with a difference of opinion is about the quickest way to turn people off.

    And sadly, like with so many issues, we are our own worst enemy. Women are so unforgivingly harsh on one another, and when we treat each other like that it’s no wonder we can’t seem to get ahead.

  10. Well, since I do not think you will post my last comment I will write another one. Although I don’t think my last comment crossed the line. Maybe it was a tad aggressive but it was just my honest opinion and I would be up for a polite discourse about it if you let it go up.

    Anyway, I was doing some searching around this morning and I found this very interesting take on the Wax Study, which I know is often used as a reason why homebirth is unsafe. The writer of this article is NON BIASED, I would like to add. He actually defended another study that stated C-sections tripled the rate of death for mothers, so there you go.

    http://www/straightstatistics.org/article/home-births-unjustly-maligned

    I am not a NCB advocate btw, but I am an advocate of truth. Do you really think it is right to advocate for hospital births knowing that in hospitals the risk for a whole list of things is increased but it appears that the rate of death is the same?
    *Please read the link I left. If you add all the perinatal and neonatal deaths for both hospital and homebirth, they are exactly the same as far as safety goes. Also, I believe he even writes that the perinatal rate is even a bit lower in homebirth.
    I think it sounds like you have an ax to grind rather than really looking at the truth here, the WHOLE picture. You can’t get your evidence from blogs like BWF. Yes, that lady is pretty nutty and gives out bad medical advice but this is the internet and yes it is chock full of bad info. If someone is really stupid enough( I’m sorry if that sounds rude but come on!) to really get medical advice about their child’s life from a stranger writing a blog, then I think they will probably make many foolish mistakes parenting their children. However, we must remember that there a drug addicts conceiving and having children all the time. There are women who have 5 or 6 kids, physically and mentally abusing each one. There are millions of children being sexually abused as I write this and yet there is very little we can do to stop this. Bad parents will always exist. The best way to make a difference is to volunteer our time and love to children who are neglected or abused. I’m not sure I see what positive outcome is coming from writing a blog about how “dumb” NCB advocates are. What is the point in this? Just to vent?
    I get the impression you are on a crusade to stop homebirths or to make women who prefer natural childbirth just shut up about it but why? There are many positives to having a med free birth and a homebirth. I have yet to see a valid study that proves without a doubt that homebirth is more dangerous than hospital births for low risk moms. Are people that advocate for homebirths as bad as you make them out to be? I think not.

    • We write about NCB and the misinformation that goes with it, because normal moms fall victim to this philosophy. Often with deadly results. If it was just one blog, or even a few, it would be no big deal. But it’s not. The majority of online info for pregnancy and birth is NCB.

      Having a unmedicated birth is one thing. Telling the world that going unmedicated is the only way to be a good mom, and HB is safe with a CPM, even when high risk, is dangerous. maybe you don’t care about those moms and babes, but I do.

      I’m not sure why you mentioned abusive parents. Of course there are many worse things going on in this world. By this logic, no one should bother fix anything, if it isn’t the worst in the world? Huh? Every cause has it’s advocates- safe childbirth is ours.

      • You say you write about misinformation but is the information you are giving really accurate?
        For instance maybe you have used the Wax Study as a way to prove homebirth is dangerous but if you have a biased view towards homebirth you never would have allowed yourself to see what other qualified people have to say about it’s results. All I am trying to say is, be careful that you are not spreading misinformation as well.
        You say telling the world that going unmedicated is the only way to go be a good mom and saying that HB is safe with a CPM is dangerous. I think that comment is exaggerated and generalized. I understand that CPM’s lack education but the bottom line is do the studies REALLY tell us that homebirth is more dangerous than hospital birth? As far as I have seen the answer to that is no. ALl the studies that have been done in this country have flaws and have been disputed. No one knows for sure if homebirths truly are more dangerous at home than at a hospital for a low risk mom. Also, again, why does it matter what someone who is writing a blog says? We have to give moms more credit than that. Acting like you need to dispute everything a blogger says so moms will be protected is kind of insulting their intelligence and treating them like dumb little girls. Ultimately we need to trust that a mother will choose what is best for her baby. I think it is fine to have your own blog or website giving out information that YOU feel is more accurate but to generalize about ALL NCB women is not right.
        I mentioned abusive parents because I feel there is a better way to help people than to bash a certain group over the internet. There is a lot to fix in the world and so much help that is needed. For instance, before having my own children, I used to watch babies of teen moms while they got support and therapy.
        I am all for safe childbirth just not judgments, generalizations or biases. Can you leave that out of it?

  11. Whoa. At first I was hoping that this post was a joke, but as I read on I don’t believe it is, and that’s frightening.

    I have many problems with the things said, and not enough time to talk about them all, but especially a problem with the label “the natural birth crowd” and the generalizations you are implying. I totally agree with Kelly that there are extremes on both ends of the birth spectrum, and you can’t characterize a group of people using the actions of a few.

    I am a labour RN, fiercely passionate about evidence-based practice, and I know that a lot of the things involved with modern childbirth are way out of line, evidence wise.

      • But this posting is not worded as intending to recognize an extreme, it categorizes “the natural childbirth movement” as a cult. This is all encompassing, and by the little description provided as to who they are intending to defame, includes me as a member of a community that believes in natural birth where it is possible and desired by women. I take offense to being labeled a cult member because I believe in questioning our standard birth practices, and having it said that I “have been deceived” and that I have “lost all compassion for other women”.

        “The natural birth community will NOT allow those of a more scientific mindset an opportunity to speak.” Love the insult in that statement. So those that believe in natural birth are less educated than those who believe in medicalized birth? Thanks a lot. If you intend to speak of a few individuals whose educational/professional backgrounds you are familiar with and compare them to other individuals with a science-based philosophy, name names. Don’t generalize.

        I agree that there are extreme viewpoints on natural birth, extreme viewpoints on medicalized birth, and most people fall somewhere in between. Had the original posting only clarified this instead of grouping all NB advocates as a cult community, I would be a lot less annoyed.

        • Beautifully said Sheryl!
          Bambi C. and has obviously had a very bad experience but that is her experience and she cannot speak for all of us or generalize about millions of women being one way.
          That is NO different than saying that all doctors or hospitals are evil because one person had an awful experience, all her friends have had awful experiences and the OB’s she reads about online are total jerks with no compassion. If you can’t see that than you must be blinded by your own bias.

        • Agreed Sheryl, great comment. The author of this post is showing clear bias, making global statements & labeling a very large group of people she obviously as no idea about. I just can’t take this post seriously, but it’s an interesting insight into where the ‘extreme anti-natural birth group’ is coming from.

    • What is meant by that is comments are welcome, articles are welcome. The man that analyzed the study is not just anyone. Look him up, his name is Nigel Hawkes and he seems pretty darn legitimate to me. Their goal is to make sure misinformation is NOT spread.

  12. Bah, hit enter too soon.

    Here is the REAL study- (Not just a summary of an opinion in a newspaper article). I trust you will take the time to review it and it will help in your quest to “advocate the truth.” No one is calling anyone “dumb,” in fact, you are the only person I see being aggressive on this thread. While I don’t appreciate your red herring “logic” or your caustic language, I would politely remind you that in statistics, sensitivity t-tests and confidence intervals, while easy to compute, they are a lot more than simply “adding” them together.

    • I know all about the study. I put the name of the study in my post (Wax Study) so anyone could google it and read for themselves but this is a non-biased analyzation of the study done by people that are qualified to do so. Please click on the link yourself and you will see. Google the authors name, he is no quack and actually did another analyzation of a study trying to prove C-sections as being dangerous and also said it was flawed. The guy understands how to read statistics. According to him, the study reveals that homebirth is safe and the study was funded by ACOG! The study has been disputed before by many intelligent people, all claiming that it proves homebirth safety. There is another analyzation on pubmed. As far as I have seen and read, the studies DO prove homebirth to be safe or at the very least, they are still unable to prove if there is really a difference in neonatal deaths between hospital and home. Even the study itself reveals that both hospital and home have the SAME rate of perinatal death. I believe the perinatal death rate at home is even slightly( and insignificantly, ultimately) smaller.

      • Actually, he is a retired journalist, not a statistician. And I don’t think his degree in metallurgy leaves him an expert on statistics OR childbirth.

  13. ditto..SPOT ON Bambi. Can I tweet this and post link on website, blog ?? I know you want it published so I don’t want to spread this unless I have your permission.

  14. Deb, Yes, please share.

    Kelly, I began having children over 13 years ago. I’ve been a part of the movement in the past. I see what is said and how women behave. It is completely cult behavior. Read about different cults and take a long look at the natural childbirth movement. The similarities are striking.

    • What made you leave? Is a painful loss the only factor? Is all NCB stuff wrong now because of your tragedy? Did you not know before your tragedy that tragedies existed? What about this new anti-cult movement that you’re in, now? It allows for no NCB, it allows for no one to think differently. It’s like Childbirth Supremacy or something, and it’s scary. It’s your way or no way.

  15. Great analogy. I have thought this many times – please also see rickross.com regarding cults – even better source. My interest in cults and cult activity has lead me to MDC and other related websites and though there is no central leader, I just don’t understand how so many get caught up in this cult like activity.

    Not trying to be sexist here but I think a lot has to do with modern society and the “stuck” at home mother. In the old days the whole block was filled with other housewives and a mothers had a support system. Now with all of the working women the only outlet seems to be the internet.

    But in the end the internet is no support system. Not really. So I think if you are a little down, bored, overwhelmed, and always with a baby attached your need for human contact, any human contact a mother will turn to the internet.

    Anyone can get sucked into a cult but it is especially easy when you are at “that moment” in life, such as being a new mother.

    Keep up the good work.

  16. I so agree with this post. I had an unmedicated hospital birth. It went beautifully. I labored for 26 hours and no one, not my nurses, not my midwife, not a doctor, twisted their mouths to ask if I wanted an epidural or pressured me to augment with pitocin. They didn’t ask to break my water. They let me eat and drink and sat with me when I need them. I was able to walk around and be in the tub.

    But here’s the thing: going into having my baby I was SO SCARED. I did a lot of reading prior to delivery and knew that I wanted a natural birth but heard so many horror stories I was convinced it was going to be a terrible experience. But it wasn’t, and I could have saved myself so much angst. I absolutely believe that there are issues with hospital births and that a lot of women aren’t as fortunate as I was to be in such a supportive setting. This us-against-them mentality on both sides is such a waste.

  17. This post is so ironic, because it describes the anti-natural or home birth community perfectly (this blog). The polarized views of birth, either staunchly against home/natural birth or for, are just as bad as eachother. Fix your own problems before pointing the blame at others.

  18. Kelly, I have absolutely no dog in this fight so I think you should listen when I say that no where do I read the “sweeping generalizations” that you see. This is a brand-new issue to me–never heard of it until today. It seemed worth reading about, so I did. But what I read is that some people, maybe many, are too quick to judge others and demand that things be done their way.

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