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Calling all skeptical mums, moms and mamas!

21/11/2008

Ok.

I’m NOT pregnant. I took a test yesterday and there was only one little pink line, so I know FOR SURE that I am NOT pregnant. The oven is empty; there is no bun.

It is important to establish that so people don’t feel left out of the loop.

However, I am married.

First comes love, then comes marriage, then….well, you know, the hubby’s all ready for that proverbial baby carriage.

I, however, am not ready. Nope. Not really ready at all.

But I’ve started thinking about it.

I still look at babies, especially toddlers as really short, stupid people, or hairless but maladroit monkeys. I can’t hold a conversation with one, therefore, I’m not entirely sure what I’m supposed to be getting out of the exchange. But there are days when I look at those cute little critters with their big eyes and their total fascination with the world and I think, “Man, I want one that looks like me!” or “It’s so small, I NEED ONE!” or “BABY! WANT! NOW!”

However, I don’t think I’m ready. For starters, I haven’t done any research.

So, I go to Amazon and I start looking at pregnancy books. What To Expect When Your Expecting. The Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy. Ok, cool, but a little dry. Further down the list: Spiritual Midwifery, HypnoBirthing, The Baby Name Wizard: A Magical Method for Finding the Perfect Name for Your Baby and worst of all Belly Laughs: The Naked Truth about Pregnancy and Childbirth by Jenny McCarthy. Not to mention all kinds of “methods” and “truth about the…” pseudoscience and for some reason, about a million prenatal diet and fitness books.

So, when I see a title like The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth I get excited. It looks great, it sounds great. But I’ve been tricked before. What pseudoscience is lurking behind that beautiful cover and flattering title?  It’s telling me that I’m a “Thinking Woman”, something I’m sure all mothers want to be. And who doesn’t want to bring a child into the world under better conditions? But “Better” by whose definition? I can’t help wondering if it’s full of fear-mongering misinformation and twisted figures.  It proposes to help you make informed decisions about birthing methods and practices, but is there an agenda? The author is herself a promoter of Lamaze, which, according to my relatively skeptical mother is complete bunk. But who am I to believe, my mother or this supposed expert?

I know I have the skills to properly weigh the evidence and do my own research, but it’s hard to know where to start. Where to find any actual studies on whether or not natural birth is any better for a baby or mother? How do I wade through the agendas and ideologies and find the right books for me?

So, this is what’s going on in my head lately. This whole thing has opened up a skeptical can of worms and I am having a hard time finding a good list of EVIDENCE BASED pregnancy, chilbirth and parenting books that don’t cherry pick or depend on meta-analysis.

If you know a good place to start, let me know. I need at least an Associates Degree in in Pregnancy before I’ll feel even remotely ready.

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4 Comments
  1. 21/11/2008 4:20 am

    People worry so much about pregnancy, what to do, what not to do – just keep it simple. Don’t drink, don’t take crack, keep the caffeine to a minimum. Eat generally healthy, wait nine months. Millions of years of evolution means your body is built for this.

    Of course I’ve got no evidence for you, just the fact that the overwhelming majority of babies come out okay.

    One thing though, I hear postpartum depression can be pretty bad, but again, no evidence; I’m not really helping here am I?

  2. 21/11/2008 5:14 am

    Maybe you could ask other mothers, after interrogating/observing their children and see if they turned out okay.

    THEN you should write a book on it, with some plain title like; ‘Baby, Here it Comes’, or ‘You’re Pregnant, Now What?’ or ‘Should You Be Allowed To Be a Parent?’… etc

  3. podblack permalink
    03/01/2009 2:45 pm

    Not only blogged it – http://podblack.com/?p=1104

    But after reading over what I read again… I popped it up for the Young Australian Skeptics website. 🙂 Hope it also gets some attention there too! 🙂

  4. podblack permalink
    03/01/2009 2:47 pm

    By the way – Belly Laughs. I’ve read it. It is a shit, shit, shit, shit book.

    DO NOT read it. It is misogynistic (her poor, poor husband, she is NOTHING but cruel and rude to him and hypocritical) and she really has nothing but complete and utter horror stories throughout. It’s real nasty warts and all. And no real recommendations beyond ‘MY time was AWFUL and you should THINK IT WILL HAPPEN TO YOU!!!’

    Bleah.

    Anyway. About five more chapters of note-taking on her really, really crap work on ‘Louder than Words’. That, and the sequel, are the real horror stories. As then she becomes an anti-vaxer. For which she should never be forgiven for.

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