Self-imposed ignorance in America

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In most of my concluding paragraphs, there seems to be a theme: many American mothers do not properly educate themselves about the birth process or caring for a baby/child.  When a woman knows a significant life event is about to occur, a woman should prepare, educate, and ready herself.  When a woman is going to have a wedding, what does she do?  She spends months, or even years, gathering information, preparing, meeting people, setting appointments, carefully shopping for items, and planning to the very last detail for that wedding.  Why is birth and raising a child excluded from this process?  It is, by far, the most important thing she will ever do, and possibly the most expensive thing she will ever prepare for.  The average cost of raising a child in the U.S. is $241,080.  Also, the result of what actions a woman chooses regarding her pregnancy, birth, and child rearing will affect not only her, but everyone that child comes in contact with.  It is probable that the environment a person grows up in affects that person much more than their genetics.  An outgoing, enthusiastic child may become shy and withdrawn with a certain set of circumstances, and vice versa.

It begins with pregnancy.  Some women are of the belief that she can eat whatever she wants as long as she takes her prenatal vitamins.  This is not the case.  The prenatal vitamins are supplements in case there is a gap in some of the nutrients she consumes, not a replacement for the nutrients.  If a pregnant woman eats a very careful, balanced diet, she does not even need the prenatal vitamins, though.  However, even though good, nutritious food is easily accessible in the U.S., it is very easy to eat in favor of convenience at restaurants or fast food joints.  The American culture leaves a lot to be desired in terms of lifestyle – it is common to eat on the go, to be sedentary, and not even have time to cook for oneself.  In order to have a healthy pregnancy, it is important to eat healthily, exercise regularly, and abstain from drug, alcohol, and nicotine use.  It is a sad fact that many Americans skip eating healthily, exercising, and less commonly, choose to consume toxic substances while pregnant.

Very few women research what birth practices, techniques, and methods have the best outcomes for herself and her baby.  If a woman spent a minimum amount of time – say 50 hours – researching safe birth practices, she would discover that either minimum or no medical interventions during the birth process produces the healthiest results in both the mother and baby.  Why so many women rely on Mom, Mother-in-law, TV shows, or movies (in other words, popular culture and tradition) to decide what plans they should make for the birth of their baby shocks and confuses me.  In a previous post, I mentioned the risks for most of the routine interventions performed during birth.  It is my opinion that women should avoid those interventions, if at all possible.  And yet, they are routine.

On the other hand, a woman can do as much research as she pleases, but if she never acts on it, it will not do her any good.  Also, if a woman happens upon a deceitful care provider, which is more common than people want to think, her well-intentioned plans may become invalid.  Since lawsuits have become common, every day occurrences, some doctors like to practice what I like to call “cover your ass medicine”, or more commonly referred to as defensive medicine, which often requires an element of deceit.  And then there is plain, old American greed.  It’s all about money, don’t you know?  Additionally, time equals money.  Doctors and hospitals caring for pregnant and birthing women may easily make more money from a vulnerable, uneducated patient.  They do not care for the idea that intervention-free or -fewer birth is safer, because it makes both doctors and hospitals less money.  Regarding time, it actually takes more time for a woman to give birth once labor begins if she has more interventions, (if she manages to escape without a cesarean section), than if she had none.  But, with interventions comes many risks that often necessitate a cesarean section, making many of those intervention-filled births take less time.

The poor babies. Once the baby is born, so many disservices happen upon them.  About half the male babies will undergo circumcision, and in a previous post, I explain why that is absolutely terrible for the infant.  About one quarter of the babies will never be breastfed, and will never be exposed to the benefits of breastfeeding, some of which I explain here. And nearly all of them will be disrespected and damaged by unethical and immoral parenting methods, which I talk about here.

If every pregnant woman became educated or informed themselves about safe, respectful effective, and beneficial pregnancy, birth, and parenting practices, chances are that American society would become more peaceful, liberal, balanced, and hospitable, while becoming less discriminating, greedy, hostile, and, well, capitalist.  If only it were mandatory that every pregnant woman be presented with all the facts surrounding these topics, we might see fewer disgraceful maternal and neonatal outcomes (the U.S. ranks thirty-fourth in the world for the lowest neonatal death rate, and has the worst maternal mortality rates of any industrialized nation) and more healthy, happy children and parents.  Is it possible to achieve this ideal?  I do not know.  I can only hope it is.

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One thought on “Self-imposed ignorance in America

  1. Pingback: Weaning | My Mothering Journey

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