Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Crunchy, yet mainstream.

I signed up with MotheringDotCommune's forums a while ago so I could access their childbirth professionals section.

I get an email from them about once a week, with highlights, chat updates, etc. In this last issue was a book reccomendation that they said "wasn't a usual Mothering book since it was oriented toward doctors and hospital birth" but had good information anyway.

I consider myself mainstream - we did the full schedule of vaccinations, every well-baby visit, and you bet your sweet ass I take Freyja in to the doctor if she's under the weather. In general, I trust allopathic medicine and doctors. I don't think the hospital is the safest place to have a baby, but I think taking my child to see a doctor is a good idea. If we had naturopaths around that the insurance would cover, I'd happily consider going to one.

That said, why is it so damn hard to get people to understand that just because I happen to be mainstream in the majority of my thinking, it doesn't mean I don't understand their choices in childrearing, childbearing, infant feeding, bla bla bla bla you name it, or that I can't hold a few "crunchy" ideals too?

For example, I work full time out of the home. My husband also works full time out of the home. I don't LIKE to stay home. My child goes to daycare with a wonderful home provider who treats her like family. Does that in some way impugn the choices and rights of families who DO have a parent at home? No! My choices for my family are going to be different than your choices for your family.

I didn't "succeed" at breastfeeding, yet I think that breastfeeding is something that you should do if you can. However, I'm not going to accost you in a mall for feeding your child with a bottle. If you prop the bottle, I reserve the right to give you a dirty look. Other than that, do what you like. Did you know it's almost illegal to mention that you can still practice "on-demand" infant feeding using formula? (you can - I did - it works but SHHH don't tell anybody) WHAT?! NO! ALL formula babies are scheduled and left in baby buckets with propped bottles and you know their mammas don't love them because they are TOO SELFISH to breastfeed - at least that's what the crunchy folks want you to believe.

And what is up with the random guilt trips for women who had c-sections after failed inductions? Maybe if our culture was better oriented toward woman-friendly birth those failed inductions wouldn' t happen. Woman-friendly and baby-friendly birth is my main crunchy soapbox, yet the majority of doula clients I have are in hospitals to give birth. If they get a shot of Nubain, does it make them less of a woman? That's the idea I get from a lot of my professional colleagues and random natural birthers in general.

What I'd like to do is change the landscape of crunchiness. There's got to be a decent term for us middle-of-the roaders who like the idea of homebirth or birth center birth but didn't quite get there themselves, who wanted to breastfeed but either got bad advice or no support, who work or attend school and actually enjoy their time out of the home, and who do other various sort of crunchy hippie things in regards to childbearing and childrearing yet don't quite subscribe to the elitism that I tend to see. Can we rise up against the elitism? I sure hope so.


Eden said...

Excellent post.

There's a lot of black & white thinking w/ parenting & a lot of devisiveness. MDC is one of the worst offenders from what I hear.

I was made to feel a failure for not being able to breastfeed and for having medically-necessary C-sections. What freed me was just saying, "Okay. Then I'm a failure. You win."

One would hope that there could be some community for those of us who are a little of everything but I haven't found it.

I need to reread this & share it w/ some people.

Estella said...

Hey girl, I'm a doula, but definitely aspire to be a midwife.

Okay let's see. MDC is "one of the worst offenders" because it's a Natural Living magazine/website/discussion forums. It's not a Childbirth organization. If your family doesn't practice natural living, then why show up?

A better discussion forum for you would be www.alldoulas.com, or even the DONA discussion boards, if you're a member.

Doulas believe in evidence based practice. This is why most of us wouldn't agree with routine interventions and pain medication. It just isn't necessary or healthy. C'mon girl, you should know this. Have you taken your training yet?

Heather said...

Oh, I know - but I see it EVERYWHERE, not just at MDC.

And while I agree with evidence based practice, and obviously my job is to help mothers avoid the pain meds, it's not my job to make them feel like shit if they choose to have them.

Heather said...

I think I posted twice at MDC and only in the doula forum...and I'm a member at alldoulas, too.

Mandi The Crunchy said...

You may not be "Super Crunchy", but you're still "Mildly Crunchy", and from what I can tell ... that makes us both peanuts. Mmmm, peanuts. I can't find anything wrong with a peanut ...

karrie said...

I like Eden's approach--squee, Eden!

You already know I'm kind of an odd jumble of philosophies and of the c/s + unable to breastfeed group. I think we need rather sweeping systemic changes in the political landscape--better parental leave policies, more support for parents who want to work and bf, and so on.

karrie said...

Oh, and this may sound terrible but MDC just makes me laugh. It's so weirdly competitive and over-the-top. I occasionally read the magazine because I am interested in healthy lifestyle choices and like some of the recipes and other suggestions, but MDC=a whole lot of kooky crazy, IMO.

Heather said...

Right, Karrie - that's my issue, that I can get behind a whole lot of it but not the whole bag.

kat said...

*Waving Arms* A heary Atheist AMEN.

I pretty much agree with everything you have said are your positions. Can you imagine my shock when I found out recently that it wasn't possible that I demand fed my 4 children with formula? Wow... and here I thought I had gotten up around the clock and stopped to fed them in parking lots, etc. Maybe I am just a really horrible scheduler.? ;)

A lot of people assume that you can't support the opposite position from your experience - maybe because they themselves can't? I found that the more I understood and healed from my own birth disappointments the better I could support others who chose differently or got the choice made for them.

Where I am I ocassionally get accused of being crunchy which rather astounds me since I think I am pretty mainstream on most things. I however find it's rather difficult at the same time to lump myself with the crunchy set because I haven't made it over many of their bars and don't beat myself up over it.