The condescension will continue until morale improves

11.02.2016
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Women seeking a few hours of rest after hours of labor or a caesarean section often are surprised to learn that Massachusetts hospitals are increasingly restricting nursery access or, in some states, have closed the nurseries altogether.

The latest in the “Of Course All Women Are Irresponsible Idiots” category of health care.

Women all over Massachusetts, where clearly new mothers are all selfish, drunk, and lazy, are now being informed, through the haze of hormonal blizzards, the fog of sleep deprivation, and the blinding realization “Oh, S#$@*, what have I done to my life!” that putting their newborn infants in the nursery for a few hours is, well, not allowed. Here’s the Boston Globe.

Women seeking a few hours of rest after hours of labor or a caesarean section often are surprised to learn that Massachusetts hospitals are increasingly restricting nursery access or, in some states, have closed the nurseries altogether. In Boston, Boston Medical Center began widespread “rooming-in’’ years ago, Mass. General followed suit more recently, and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is taking similar steps. They collectively deliver more than 11,000 babies a year. Brigham and Women’s Hospital also expects to move in this direction.

And why is this new trend being imposed upon consenting adults? Budget cuts? Lack of infant nurses? Bankruptcy of the company that makes those little plastic bassinets on rollers? Too many episodes of “Switched at Birth”? Did we run out of pink and blue stocking caps?

No, ladies. We need to be taught, schooled if you will. Left to our own devices we would all be terrible mothers, our children would all have attachment disorder, and they’d all be on the Short Bus because of the alleged evils of formula. Oh, and all the kids have Fetal Alcohol Syndrome because the world hasn’t, as the CDC recommends, banned half the world population from drinking alcohol between the ages of 21 and 50 (but that’s another story).

Apparently, the shift is part of a national movement designed to promote breastfeeding, bonding, and parenting skills by having mothers and healthy newborns room together around-the-clock, attended by nurses who look after their needs. Many postpartum specialists now believe that nurseries, long a life raft for recovering mothers, is not the best, or most natural, way to provide care.

Ok, yes, let’s do this. Since we’ve already decided that women shouldn’t make choices about breast vs. bottle, abortion or childbirth, drinking or not drinking, let’s also take away their choice to not drown in the wonderful, horrible, crazy sea of new motherhood. Because we really can’t be trusted to choose the best way for ourselves and our children.

You know what’s “natural”? Having a baby squatting in a field, wrapping the baby in your headscarf, and going back to the harvest. You know what’s “natural”? Women being pregnant non-stop for 40 years. You know what’s “natural”? Sending the first twelve kids to work the farm while you “bond” with the thirteenth.

The world, mercifully, at least in the US, is different now. Women now have the choice to earn money while squatting in the fields and nursing and being pregnant.  Except for the vast majority of women, it’s not a choice. You know what promotes breastfeeding? Paid maternity leave.  You know what promotes bonding? Paid maternity leave. You know what promotes good parenting skills? Paid maternity leave.

But, sure, take away the nursery. I’m sure the Postpartum Specialists know best.

Image copyright: Boston City Hospital collection, Collection 7020.001, City of Boston Archives, Boston/ flickr/ CC BY-SA

Article last time updated on 12.02.2016.

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