3 Ways the Natural Parenting Movement Dehumanizes Women
The commander in the parenting wars is one big mother—Nature. Nothing synthetic is gentle enough for our precious bundles, the way our ancestors did everything is romanticized, and the earth mother reigns supreme.
“If you were on an island and you had no mother-in-laws, no psychologists, no doctors around, no experts, this is what you would naturally and instinctively do to give your baby the best investment,” said leading attachment parenting proponent Dr. William Sears in 2012. (When it comes to the natural parenting movement, attachment parenting is king…or perhaps queen is most fitting.)
With early roots in attachment theory, initially based on primate research and observations of cultures in the developing world, those who follow natural parenting make appeals to vaguely non-western traditions, whether or not these traditions are widely-practiced or proven beneficial. Much of what people think is “natural parenting” isn’t really what nature “intended” or what indigenous people did at all, rather it’s the romanticized version of natural.
Here are three (of many) ways so-called natural parenting disproportionately burdens and dehumanizes women.
1. Didn’t have a “natural” birth? You’re weak.
In the early 20th century laboring mothers were often given a combination of drugs that provided pain relief and induced amnesia, called “Twilight Birth.” The newborn was handed over to a mother with no memory of having delivered it. This method, then heralded as ushering in a “new era” of obstetrics, is now viewed as misogynistic and paternalistic. But the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction, with today’s expectations of women giving birth no less denigrating than a hundred years ago… Read More>>