Push Back

Push Back

Guilt in the Age of Natural Parenting

Book - 2016
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Baker & Taylor
A Harvard-trained physician examines the role of guilt in today's childbirth and early parenting choices, challenging popular misconceptions while arguing that the natural parenting movement is capitalizing on practices that serve to manipulate rather than assist parents.


A Harvard-trained obstetrician-gynecologist, prominent blogger, and author of the classic How Your Baby Is Born delivers a timely, important, and sure to be headline-making expose that shines a light on the natural parenting movement and the multimillion-dollar industry behind it.

The natural parenting movement praises the virtues of birth without medical interference, staunchly advocates breastfeeding for all mothers, and hails attachment parenting. Once the exclusive province of the alternative lifestyle, natural parenting has gone mainstream, becoming a lucrative big business today.

But those who do not subscribe to this method are often made to feel as if they are doing their children harm. Dr. Amy Tuteur understands their apprehensions. “Parenting quickly feels synonymous with guilt. And of late, there is no bigger arena for this pervasive guilt than childbirth.” As a medical professional with a long career in obstetrics and gynecology and as the mother of four children, Tuteur is no stranger to the insurmountable pressures and subsequent feelings of blame and self-condemnation that mothers experience during their children’s early years. The natural parenting movement, she contends, is not helping them raise their children better. Instead, it capitalizes on their uncertainty, manipulating parents when they are most vulnerable.

In Push Back, she chronicles the movement’s history from its roots to its modern practices, incorporating her own experiences as a mother and successful OB-GYN with original research on the latest in childbirth science. She also reveals the dangerous and overtly misogynistic motives of some of its proponents—conservative men who sought to limit women’s control and autonomy. As she debunks, one by one, the guilt-inducing myths of natural birth and parenting, Dr. Tuteur empowers women to embrace the method of childbirth that is right for them, while reassuring all parents that the most important thing they can do is love and care for their children.

& Taylor

The Harvard-trained physician and author of How Your Baby Is Born examines the role of guilt in today's childbirth and early parenting choices, challenging popular misconceptions while arguing that the natural parenting movement is capitalizing on practices that serve to manipulate rather than assist parents. 100,000 first printing.

Publisher: New York, NY :, Dey St., an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers,, 2016
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780062407344
Characteristics: viii, 372 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm


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Feb 22, 2017

Written in a very judgemental and bullying tone. Not at all helpful. She cherry picks the most extreme and ridiculous examples, paints them as the "norm" of "natural parents", and shames the choices of others that do not align with her thoughts.

Dec 24, 2016

Skip this book it is oozing of privilege and underlying racism. The premise of the book is sound -- a counterbalance to the 'natural' birth movement and pro-breastfeeding movement. However the author's arguments are weak and based on her own privileged views of the world. She fails to acknowledge many of the systemic failures of our society that lead to some of the things she's trying to argue for. Such as lack of access to maternal health care, can lead to higher rates of c-sections and therefore we need to work on access as well as support women who have c-sections. Instead she uses her privilege to bash others who don't agree with her rather than use science to support her positions. She also shoots herself in the foot by saying the natural birth and lactavist movements are harmful and push their agendas, but really her book is doing the same thing by using shaming techniques.

Where she totally lost me is the underlying racism woven into the book. The author writes about privilege, "whitesplain'" and exploiting women of color -- there is a lot of underlying racist assumptions and power plays made in her writing. In this section she fails to acknowledge the systemic racism in our society bringing holding back women of color. As a result her attempt to align and use her arguments with women of color fall flat.

Apr 18, 2016

As someone who leans more towards supporting the medical establishment, I found this book aggravating. The tone was confrontational and at times condescending. I also felt like the author's arguments were more directed at the most absurd elements of natural childbirth rather then the casual follower of current trends.


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