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Push Back: Guilt in the Age of Natural Parenting
Push Back: Guilt in the Age of Natural Parenting | Amy M D Tuteur
4 posts | 3 read | 11 to read
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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As a new mom, I read this book with more enthusiasm than others might. It's a bit heavy handed and repetitive, but Dr. Tuteur's claim that elevating breastfeeding, "natural" birth, and attachment parenting ideals can negatively impact women, children, and society is convincing. Read this if you're looking for a feminist, evidence-based exploration of contemporary motherhood.


With these types of nonfiction books, one often gets the main point/idea the author is trying to convey at the onset and we end up going over and over the same fundamental idea for the entire 300+ pages. I often don't see these types of books out to the end, but I did with this one. I am glad this book exists, but I do feel like the author gets a bit extreme in her accusations she makes against "natural parenting" folk.

Sace I can't imagine having and raising a child today. I worry so much about my daughter should she choose to have children. Parenting is hard enough and it will always be fraught with mistakes. Too add guilt to the mix is awful. 3y
Chelsea.Poole @Sace I agree completely! I am going to be much more aware when talking to fellow mothers to make sure I'm not seeming to pass judgement if our parenting styles/choices differ! 3y
Sace @Chelsea.Poole everyone is coming from the same place though. Trying to do the best for their children. I know I've been judgy of some mothers too. I just keep it to myself. I'm kind on judgy in general. Lol 3y
AmyG I am a firm believer...you do the best with what you have. Nobody is perfect. @Sace....I worry, too. 3y
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Expectant mothers should read/listen to this perspective. Written by a female ob/gyn, we get data about child birth, breast feeding, and early parenting. Basically, get an epidural if you want one, allow drs to do their jobs of delivering a healthy baby, and there's no reason to feel guilty. #hoopla #audiobook

Bks4Wrms Great advice! Just curious, what is the author's opinion on breastfeeding vs bottle feeding? 3y
Chelsea.Poole @Bks4Wrms I'm just now listening to this portion of the book, but basically the author's position is that breast feeding is perhaps preferable, but it's not tragedy if mothers do not breast feed. I personally breast fed my first son exclusively for the first 6 months of his life (and continued until he was 1) and plan to do so with my second who is due any day. However, to me, the guilt mothers are made to feel who do not is unnecessary. 3y
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Chelsea.Poole @mdhughes72 that one is laying in my stack...somewhat close to the top even! Did you enjoy it? (edited) 3y
mdhughes72 @Chelsea.Poole Enjoying it so far! Only about 1/4 of the way through it. My question is: are we mindful to ask ourselves, Why do I feel guilty about [insert parenting practice here]? Who or what is the source of this guilt? 3y
Suet624 All parenting practices change over the years. For years babies needed to sleep on their stomach, then changed to sleeping on backs, then back again. Mothers are made to feel guilty for any choice or decision made: that's a given. The only thing that really matters is love. 3y
Chelsea.Poole @Suet624 exactly! That is the author's main point...to mother/parent you don't need to do xyz in such and such ways...only love and being present is necessary for children. 3y
Suet624 @Chelsea.Poole And as much laughter as possible. 😂 3y
Chelsea.Poole @Suet624 lol! Definitely for their sake as well as your own! 3y
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ErinKwed I can only assume that "surprisingly" is deeply sarcastic in context. 4y
Tikabelle I, for one, am shocked that men are all up in women's business like this. 4y
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