Friday, January 7, 2011
No More Cat Fights
There seems to be constant tearing down of women within the natural childbirth community. Oddly, this assault does not always come from the outside, in fact, quite the opposite, it often comes from within.
You know what I am talking about right? The cat fight. The name calling. The "my way is better than your way". The, "Well I would NEVER do that because I educated myself on the subject" conversation. In junior high it might have involved hair pulling or slapping. Today it involves women behind their computer screens ripping each other apart because they do things differently.
I recently saw a friend and fellow natural childbirth teacher literally torn apart by not just other women, but by other women who even teach the same exact method of natural childbirth that she teaches. Why? Because she did something that they didn't do. I also saw a woman who was kind enough to share her beautiful birth story attacked personally for some of her choices regarding that birth.
I know what you are thinking. Yes, I do. You are thinking that you don't do that. Well, not unless you are SURE you are right.
Lets face it. We all have a hot button issue. Circumcision. Vaccines. C-sections. Freebirth. Home birth. Co-sleeping. Attachment parenting. Organic foods. Natural birth. Babywearing. Cloth diapering. Breastfeeding. We all have something that we really care deeply about in this community. We care so deeply about it that we sometimes inadvertently offend people who disagree or do differently. Or maybe we go a step further, and verbally attack somebody because they do something differently than us.
You know what is really sad about this to me? The sad part is that we are losing the battle. Yes, I said it. We are losing. C-section rates are at all time highs. Only about one percent of women are birthing at home. Most hospitals have epidural rates of AT LEAST 80%. Very few women are still breastfeeding at six months post-partum. What we are doing is not working.
We can blame this all on the MAN. We can blame it all on THE SYSTEM. You know the one, the one with all the money and the doctors and the fancy studies and scalpels. The system with the free formula and packaged food. They want us to lose, that is for sure. But right now, we are not even a threat. We could blame it all on THEM- but we are forgetting about one of our own worst enemies- US.
We are destroying ourselves from within. We, women who support natural birth and a natural lifestyle and the best for our bodies and our babies and our basic human and female rights are so busy attacking one another for the things that we disagree on that we forget about the things that we actually agree on.
I saw this a few months ago with a Mercola boycott. Dr Mercola is a medical doctor. He is a rare one though in that he is anti-vaccine, and pro-natural. Yes- a medical doctor who preaches AGAINST vaccines! It exists! I saw the article that people were so upset about. They claimed that Dr Mercola was going to make money off of formula. He did mention in the bottom of the article that he was working on a formula free of some of the toxins found in your run of the mill formulas. He mentioned this after a full page of the BENEFITS of breastfeeding, resources to improve breastfeeding (including a link to the La Leche League website) and the evils of the formulas out there.
I honestly don't think that this man is just trying to promote formula. I think he is trying to promote breastfeeding but realizes that there is a need for a decent formula on the market. I live in a very rural area. I have seen a home birth mother who had so many hurdles to breastfeeding that she eventually had to switch to formula. What happened to her? The nasty formula that she had found for her baby was recalled for a bug infestation. There are no milk banks here. There are no options like that for every woman in this country. They simply do not exist everywhere.
Yet what did we see because this man dared to mention providing a decent formula? Attacks from all sides- but all from within the natural community. Did I mention that this is an actual MD who is opposed to vaccines? This guy is on the same team as us. But as soon as he slipped up and did something we disapproved of, the war was on.
On a more personal level, you can see this daily on forums like Facebook or on personal blogs where women are attacked for daring to do something that they shouldn't. And- if it isn't bad enough to step out of the party line, you are really in for it if you dare do it and NOT FEEL GUILTY.
Well I am tired of it. I am tired of women who spend literally hundreds of free hours promoting natural childbirth and empowering women to be in charge of their births being attacked from their fellow teachers. I am tired of home birth moms being criticized by other home birth moms because somebody who doesn't even KNOW them thinks they did things wrong or unsafe or irresponsibly. I am tired of women being ashamed that they bottle feed and having to explain themselves and apologize for it.
We can keep doing that. We can keep saying that it is not OK to attack somebody, unless they are doing X Y or Z ("because those are really special issues to me..."). We can be nasty beneath the guise of whatever it is that is important to us. But we will continue to lose this fight.
We are not each others enemy. The enemy is those institutions that seek to destroy the beauty of birth and motherhood in order to make money. We must attack them and the best way to do it is to support each other.
We are mothers. Mothers love their children. They really do. Even mothers who bottle feed love their children. Yes, even mothers who circumcise love their children. Even mothers who hate co-sleeping love their children. Women who have let their children cry it out, still LOVE THEIR CHILDREN. They might do things differently than you. They might even be WRONG. But I can guarantee you that YOU are wrong sometimes too. And I can promise that we will not convince anybody they are wrong by comparing some of their mothering choices to rape or abuse. They will not listen to us if we talk that way. We will be tuned out and called crazy. We will be considered fringe and even mean. We will lose. And we will further divide mothers.
We have lot of things that are different about us. But I think we have a lot of things in common too. We have children. We love them. We try to do what is best for them. It might look wrong to others. It might even BE wrong. But that is something else we have in common. We are all WRONG sometimes. We will all make mistakes with our children. Every single one of us.
Too many of us are lonely. Motherhood can be very lonely business. I think that might be why so many of us find solace, support and friendship in online forums and blogs. I will admit that that is true for me. I need that outlet and that female support. It is very draining and upsetting when instead of being supportive that outlet turns into a a place where I am afraid to admit my failings because I know that I will be attacked for them.
Here is hoping for a brighter future for women where we can find a common ground. Where we can love people into being better mothers and women instead of arguing with them. Here is hoping that we can come together and fight for each other rather than against.
(On a side note- all apologies if I ever bashed on you for doing something I disagree with. Yes I realize I am a total hypocrite by daring to write this. It won't be the first time I was full of crap. Or the last.)