Monthly Archives: March 2008

Angry Mom

I’ve been meaning to write a story about “maternal profiling” for a few months now. Maternal profiling being the filthy practice of discriminating against pregnant women and new mothers (and even women who seem like they are going to get pregnant soon — employers reading wedding rings and incipient eye wrinkles like tea leaves…). Anyway, I posted about this on the Huffington Post this evening. So far, just a few comments. I’m a bit surprised I haven’t heard from more similarly indignant mothers, both new, old, and expectant. And dare I hope — dads? Would love to hear what you think, either here or there.

More on diapers

I seem to be doing a doula-diaper tango this week, but both have been on my mind. Diapers, perhaps, more onerously. Last night, for the fifth night in a row, my newly potty-trained daughter woke me up several times groaning and asking to go the potty. Sleep-befogged, I have to resist hissing, “Just do it in your diaper!” (she’s still wearing overnights). Surely that would send the wrong message. For added irony, my 15-month-old has finally started to sleep past 6am. After last night’s multiple wakeups, I decided things must change. Now. So I’m heading out to buy two-piece pajamas that she can pull up and down herself (she currently wears feetsies with a zipper, not the easiest thing for a two year old to get on and off by herself), pull-up diapers, and a nightlight. Tonight, she is on her own.

Anyone have alternatives solutions to this in-between independence and diaperpendence period?

Sleeplessly yours,


More on doulas

I don’t want to dwell on this subject too much, but as it has raised interest and some ire, I thought I’d share with you an email, one of many, that I received from those who had similarly unfortunate experiences with doulas. Most of these emails have been from mothers who used doulas and wanted to relay the difficulties they had. But here is one email I received yesterday from a former doula:

Many doulas “stay in the box” and limit their role to comfort and support. Sadly, as you have discovered, there are doulas, birth assistants and lay midwives who are practicing medicine far beyond their scope, sometime with serious consequences. In the Washington, DC area, they have a cult-like following and actively recruit new members with false claims and promises. They falsify official documents (i.e. birth records and birth certificates) and often buy tramadol online practice without insurance or supervision. It is these women who have made such a bad name for doulas and others in the birth community.

Well, I must say, this is one thing I hadn’t come across in my research, so I can’t corroborate. But if it’s true, that’s alarming! Has anyone else witnessed anything like this?

The more common issue that I encountered was doulas performing vaginal exams, despite the explicit objections of DONA. After Penny Simkin mediated a dispute where an uncertified doula was caught performing a vaginal exam and doulas were thrown off a hospital ward, she issued guidelines to prevent a “doula backlash,” urging doulas not to perform clinical care, question, or contradict a caregiver’s authority or control management.

Would love to hear thoughts on either issue, neither of which made it into the NYT story.

Computerized Diapers

I am blogging about my own blogs — late! This was actually posted at the Huffington Post on Monday night, but yesterday was a crazy day, made all the more difficult by exhaustion. My newly potty-trained daughter is so pleased with her accomplishments that she wakes up at midnight, 5:30am, etc. to show off her skills — even buy tadalafil online though she’s still in overnight diapers. So I guess you can’t blame me for having diapers on my mind. Anyway, I guess you can tell that I’m not a huge fan of technology for the wee ones. Would love to hear everyone’s thoughts. How much high-tech do you let into your infants’ lives?

And journalist makes five

Debuting my blog on a bittersweet note, I’d like to point to a story I wrote in yesterday’s New York Times on doulas and lactation consultants. The story is about how with the increased use of doulas and LCs, has come a (not surprising) increase in conflicts. I hoped to provide a balanced view of the issue, because I think expectant and new mothers can use (almost) all the help they can get. However, I’ve heard and I reported on an unfortunate number of negative experiences with practitioners in both fields. At heart, as I write in the piece, is a lack of standardization and oversight. Anyone can call themselves a doula, and there is a tangle of organizations that accredit LCs, some requiring only a weekend workshop. (Anyone who has breastfed can attest that the complications that arise might require a bit more expertise than that!)

To my surprise, I have received a lot of flack from doulas and from breastfeeding moms (of which I am one). Many felt that I attacked doulas unfairly and didn’t properly give credit to either field. I actually thought (and hope) I treated both with respect. Perhaps the story will lead to improvements in standardization in both fields, or at least to more diligence among parents who want to hire either one (or both). I think the shared goal here is to make sure all women get the support they need in childrearing.