Still up on my soapbox, last one for a while, promise. I’ve already written about Mompetition and how Time Life thinks we are in Mommy Wars (or they are trying to start one) let me tell you now what I think we SHOULD be fighting FOR.
So not to be all preachy but there are some things I feel that should cause us to start Mommy Wars, Moms vs the system. There are things that should change to make things better for ourselves and our children, especially our daughters who will be dealing with this same nonsense in 20+ years (40+ years if LA’s Daddy has anything to say about it lol)
Since I’m still up on my soap box let me tell you some things I think we should fight to change.
First of all Americans seem to think that because we are one of the biggest and the richest countries that automatically makes us the best in everything. This fascinating study appeared in the LA Times last week concerning the ranking of the United States in regards to women and children’s issues this week. This study places us at 25th place for best places for a woman to live and 31st for the best places to be a child. That is unbelievable to me! I am amazed by the fact that it has not been picked up by the media. I would think that argueably one of the greatest/richest countries in the world being ranked so low for such important issues would be news. But then again I always am amazed at the power of denial in America. Since this study wasn’t done by us the ethnocentric thinking would be that it doesn’t “count.”
This is not the first study of its kind that has come out. I remember when I was pregnant the World Health Organization came out with a similar study that placed us even lower. We actually rose 6 places this year… impressive.
What amazes me is that many of the items we were marked down on could be easily fixed if we simply recognized that there were problems.
The US was ranked poorly because of these things- Mothers Mortality Rate (1 in 2,100 risk pregnancy related death, the worst of any industrialized nation), High Infant Mortality Rate (ranked 41st), poor education concerning prenatal care, labor and breastfeeding, relatively low political status and benefits for maternity leave for women the fact that the US is one of the few countries that doesn’t guarantee paid maternity leave.
Now the benefits for women with regards to maternity leave is huge. I totally believe that women should be given at least minimal paid maternity leave. I still remember a former boss of mine saying in regards to a discussion on if a coworker should receive a bonus the rest of the teachers had because she was on maternity leave “Well, she shouldn’t get the bonus… she already has her reward.” Of course she has her reward, what is better than a baby… but really? Not receive the bonus? Because babies come with a financial gift as well and have no costs attached? But that seems to be the attitude from the system. Just get back to work faster. No one is giving any credit to the fact that these babies are our future work force if nothing else and there are countless benefits for a woman to be able to stay home and develop a healthyrelationship not to mention attachment to their child. It benefits us all to have our country peopled by healthy well adjusted adults.
Concerning the mother mortality rate I am often appalled by the attitude of women going in to have their children. I am shocked that it is so very high in this country. I had no idea. But I do feel if we better educated ourselves we would all fare better. So many women are completely uneducated about the process of birth or what happens during a medical or non medical birth. Even before I became pregnant I educated myself concerning what would happen to my body and what I could expect. Recently I saw a woman I know on Facebook ask “Should I even bother going to the birth class or is it a waste of time?” Another woman posted, “Why bother? Just get the drugs and do what the doctor says… after all, they are the ones who went to school for this.”
There are so many things about that statement that made me angry. First of all, this is a miraculous thing that you are doing… you really have no interest in even knowing what is going on? And two, yes Doctors went to medical school but that doesn’t make them gods.
I know women who have spent more time researching what type of shoes to buy and where to get a good deal on them versus what is best for them and their child regarding birth!
And that’s the thing, when we decided to have LA in a birth center my husband and I both received all sorts of push back. I was being irresponsible to not have my baby in a hospital where “babies were meant to be born.” I even had one person tell me that I was recklessly endangering myself and my child so I could prove I was superwoman. Which is ridiculous. My birth center was less than five minutes from a hospital and I was just as safe there. Actually according to recent studies on infection and other issues I was safer at the birth center than the hospital. Most women are. There are countless studies that home birth or birth center births are safer for women than hospitals. They are certainly cheaper. My birth cost around 6000 vs the minimal 15-20k required at a hospital birth (and that’s if I didn’t have medication or other procedures).
There is a reason for insurance companies and hospitals to push the myth that having your baby there is the best, “Safest” decision…. it’s big business. There are also countless studies showing how much money birth rakes in yearly. It’s astounding, but not so much when you do the math. Half of the population is likely to give birth at least once… they get a ton of money each time we check in and it’s relatively quick and easy for them.
Now, does this mean I am saying that all doctors are evil and hospital births are wrong? Of course not. Doctors and hospitals are lifesavers for women who have complications or children who need more. Births that have problems. But that is the rarity not the norm.
If a woman feels more comfortable birthing in a hospital that is her choice too but my point is it should be a choice made by women who are educated. Not just because “that is how things are done.” I know some of my friends who were just more comfortable there or who wanted drugs, which are unavailable at a birth center. Which is great. That is what is best for them as long as they made it for a reason and not because they didn’t know about other options.
I also know a girl who was pushed into a birth center birth by her parents because it was cheaper. That isn’t right in my opinion either. A woman should be able to choose how she gives birth as long as she is being safe considering the needs of her pregnancy.
Ok, so say that most women still want to be in a hospital because they feel safer there or because they want that epidural. Fine too. But still be educated about it.
For example most women don’t know that getting that epidural in most cases will slow labor down. Many women don’t know (until after) that it will not block all pain. They do not know that the more they up the epidural the more pitocin will be used to speed things up. The more pitocin is used the more pain they will feel because the contractions are becoming more intense artificially. This will often put a strain on the baby and can lead to a Cesarean. The Cesarean is labeled necessary and maybe it is now but only because of the steps that led to it.
By the way here is a fascinating article on pitocin…. it has the actual instructions and warning label from the manufacterer. Did you know that it says it is not to be used for induction unless the induction is medically necessary? Did you know that it increases the risk of post partum hemoragging or a pelvic hematoma? … the makers of pitocin don’t even recommend it be used unless necessary. So why is it used in nearly every single hospital birth? It’s become standard to hurry births along.
Pitocin can be used to save lives and is so important. But that doesn’t mean it’s necessary for every birth!
There are countless US studies that induction and pitocin will lead to Ceasarians. And no matter how normal Ceasarians have become in this country they are a major surgery that can cost the lives of women…. hence our mortality rate (or part of it).
The World Health Organization estimates that necessary C sections should be around 10-15 percent maximum. In the US it hovers between 30 and 50 percent depending on region. There are several US studies concerning how most C sections are done in the hour before a shift change. Do women really think it’s coincidental that the C section becomes medically necessary right before it’s time for Drs to go home…. or is it just for convenience?
If you didn’t have information about pitocin, epidurals, C sections etc a Dr coming in and telling you that a C section was necessary would just scare you. You want to protect your baby, naturally, so you agree. But you don’t ask questions that could show that you don’t need that C section.
Again, I’m not saying Dr’s are evil…. even the Dr’s who do this. They have been taught that this is the way to go. Our country has seen so many lawsuits and so many things about convenience that this is the easiest way. But it does not mean it is the best way.
1000 years ago the most modern medical advice was that bleeding was good for everything. I feel like in the next decade the way births are rushed and treated to a one size fits all standard will be looked down on.
Also, I trust my Doctor. I love my doctor. But I intereviewed doctors before getting this one. A lot of women just go in and take the first doctor given to them. Doctors differ. Some have different techniques and different methods. Some are better than others. Some have different views.
Another thing I heard when having natural birth with LA was that doctors were more educated than I was so why did I think I was smarter than they were. I don’t. I am not more educated or more qualified than doctors. But I recognize that since all doctors differ I want to find one that agrees with how I feel. One who has read the same studies I have and who supports what I feel is best for me. If I was buying a car I wouldn’t say “Well all cars go so I will just get the first car I see and it will be right for me.” I would research and make a choice.
Induction is another issue that leads to C section. There are reasons that induction is necessary but it has become something done all too frequently. There are study after study that shows that even one week in the womb can finish off a child’s lungs or can cause them to have asthma or other issues because they weren’t ready. But in this country induction happens all the time. A due date is a best guess. Unless you only had sex once you do not know when your child was conceieved. Even if you only had sex once there is a 3 day window of when conception happened… so you can’t be sure. But in the US it’s become norm to induce the day of due date or the day after.
Obviously there are times this is necessary… but it’s become a real elective thing.
I know of women who were offered induction a week before their due date or on their due date… “just so you can see that baby sooner”… no medical reasoning behind that. Inductions usually lead to C sections…. most women don’t seem to know that.
I feel like I’m a bit all over the place but so many interesting articles and studies came out in the last few weeks. And it amazes me that they aren’t talked about at all, especially in comparison to that stupid Time Life cover, which just makes people argue. We should be full of righteous indignation rather than arguing over “How old is too old too breastfeed?”
Again, I’m not saying that I’m against inductions, doctors, C sections, making the choice for an epidural, hospitals or anything…. but I truly believe women need to be empowered and choose the birth that is best for them. Not some cookie cutter idea of what is most convenient for the doctor… or doing it just because this is the way it’s done. Every woman is unique and her birth should be too.
If more women were educated and doctors recognized that births don’t usually have to be sped up or kept to a timetable then we wouldn’t be ranked 24. While I was working on this blog I came across this new article from Consumer Report about 10 procedures that women should reject regarding labor and delivery. It’s awesome. I could probably have skipped writing this post altogether and just cut and pasted this article here because it says what I’m trying to say… and better. But here is the first paragraph…
“Despite a health-care system that outspends those in the rest of the world, infants and mothers fare worse in the U.S. than in many other industrialized nations. The infant mortality rate in Canada is 25 percent lower than it is in the U.S.; the Japanese rate, more than 60 percent lower. According to the World Health Organization, America ranks behind 41 other countries in preventing mothers from dying during childbirth.”
I mean, just the fact that we are so poorly ranked should take some of the god like status away from doctors and hospitals.
It just amazes me that there are all these studies that, to me, seem like a big deal. But they don’t get the coverage of other stories. They are not by fringe media or dubious sources they are legit, though non American, organizations. Why don’t they get coverage? Well, I hate to sound like a conspiracy theorist but I believe they don’t get coverage because the insurance and pharmaceutical companies are big business and they put pressure to keep them away.
I recently read a study by the World Health Organization that showed a direct link to the number of vaccines given before age 2 and SIDS. The more vaccines given before age 2 the higher the risk of SIDS. This accounts also for the infant mortality rate in the US. We have a huge number (percentage not actual number) of SIDS versus other industrialized countries. We also give more vaccines before the age of 2 than any other country.
Again, I’m not saying vaccines are bad. But when we were kids we were given about 9 shots for 3 diseases before the age of 6. In 2012 if a parent followed the CDC guideline their child would receive 49 doses of 6 different vaccines before the age of 6. Out of all European countries we give the most vaccines before the age of 2 and more doses than anyone else. All other European countries have the same levels of outbreaks and deaths that we do. So why do we give more when it seems there is no benefit? Especially when new studies are showing it may increase our SIDS rate?
If a parent agrees with the CDC that the benefits outweighs the risks than go forward. Even my Dr, a mainstream pediatrician, doesn’t agree with the CDC schedule and he’s not the only one. There are countless alternative schedules because people are different. We feel most comfortable with the schedule on http://www.twoandtalking.com and we aren’t even doing all of the shots on that recommended schedule.
Also, please realize I’m not criticizing any other mother’s choice. I understand why moms are more comfortable with all the vaccines. But I’m not and that should be respected too. LA will get some vaccines, but not the whole CDC list and not until she’s over two. I actually have wanted to post a bit about vaccines before but I’m afraid. It is not something I even talk about regularly with my friends. Because I feel that I will be judged. I had one person tell me it was child abuse. The other side of things is that I don’t want my friends to feel I’m judging them if they get all vaccines. I understand why you’d choose to do that as well. But I shouldn’t be afraid of judgment if I feel good about my decision. And hopefully those that know me understand that I believe that we all make our own best decisions and I don’t judge others.
While women ranked 24 in the above study children ranked 31. The US is ranked 31 best/worst place for a child to grow up. That was based on access to pre school, nutrition and mortality rate. As I mentioned we have one of the highest mortality rates for children of any industrialized nation.
So let me get off my soap box for a minute… but the point of this blog is that studies like that scare me. Especially when so many people put blind faith in our system. That is my point… there is a purpose to hospitals and doctors and vaccines… but not a one size fits all purpose. And when we try to impose a one size fits all mentality to something as unique and individualized as health care we get results like the ones in the study.
This is what we mommy’s should be going to war about. This is what we should be fighting for….
Oh and after I wrote this whole thing one of my friends posted the awesome blog below about what she feels Mommy Wars should be fought about… and she’s totally right too! We have so many more things to fight for than who does it better!
I feel like I just gave you all a whole bunch of information to study and read 🙂 …. go forth and do your reading! There will be a quiz on Friday! (The teacher in me pokes her head out and grins!)