Why are America’s postpartum practices so rough on new mothers, when most cultures allow for an extended period of pampering and rest?
Day 19 of White History Month: Medical Racism
The United States (along with other countries in the Western world) has a history of medical racism. The general population is unaware of the history of medical racism, and white health professionals are as well. John M. Hoberman of UT-Austin says that medical schools do not teach students about the history of medical racism, nor do they give them proper diversity training. Many Americans of color have grown to distrust medical professionals, and many white Americans attribute this to paranoia rather than their knowledge of historical and contemporary medical mistreatment.
Medical racism has often benefitted white Americans disproportionately while simultaneously harming Americans of color, as well as people of color outside of the United States. White Americans benefit from medical advances, while individual people of color were harmed, and in some cases, large groups of people of color have been harmed. From trying to “better” the race, to making scientific advances, white people have used and disregarded the rights people of color for their own benefit. Medical racism shows the lack of value ascribed to the bodies and lives of people of color.
The eugenics movement in the United States became very popular and manifested itself in many different ways. Anti-miscegenation laws, birth control, sterilization, forced abortions, forced pregnancies (of white women), and the promotion of higher birth rates for neurotypical white women. Eugenics policies were first instituted in the United States. Laws that advocated the sterilization of those with mental illnesses were in effect in the early 1900s, and soon spread to other countries.
Eugenics movements advocated for the eradication of those with mental illness, those who were homosexual, “promiscuous”, and most of all, those who were outside of the “Nordic” or “Aryan” race. Eugenics was advocated for by many famous white Westerners, including world leaders such as Winston Churchill, Theodore Roosevelt, and Calvin Coolidge.
While eugenics was highly unpopular after the Holocaust, the eugenics tradition of the United States actually provided the background for Nazi Medicine. While most people are aware to some extent what the horrors of Nazi medicine entailed, few people are aware of the American eugenics tradition that inspired it. Eugenics societies promoted “fit families” and “better babies” through awards at contests, but they also promoted harmful legislation barring immigrants and sterilizing “undesirable” people.
Controlling Reproductive Rights of Women of Color
Due to the eugenics movement, thousands of Black women were sterilized. In North Carolina, 7600 people were sterilized between 1929 and 1974, 85% of them women and girls, and a disproportionate number of them people of color (39% in the 1940s, 60% in the 1960s while making up only 25% of the population). The program that allowed for their sterilization was not eliminated fully until 2003. Black women were also sterilized without their consent in other states.
Puerto Rican Women
The United States has held Puerto Rico as a territory since 1898. As a solution to Puerto Rican economic problems, the US government felt that reducing the population of the Puerto Rican government would help. The US sterilized over one-third of Puerto Rican women, many uneducated and working class, between the 1930s and 1970s. Most of these women did not understand the procedure and did not know that it would render them sterile.
Additionally, the US used Puerto Rican women to test out birth control pills in the 1950s. These women were not informed that the pills were experimental - only that they would prevent pregnancy. They were not informed of the possible side effects ranging from nausea to possible death - three women died during the birth control pill trials. Women who reported side effects had their concerns dismissed by researchers.
Native American Women
Native American women who used the Indian Health Services were subject to numerous violations of their rights, particularly their reproductive rights. Some women who underwent procedures such as appendectomies would also have hysterectomies performed on them without their consent. At least 25 percent (and as high as 50 percent) of Native American women of reproductive age who used Indian Health Services were sterilized without their consent or after coercion. Largely white male doctors would use Native American women as “practice” for performing gynecological procedures on white women.
Tuskegee Experiment and Guatemala STD Experiment
In 1932, the Tuskegee Institute worked with the United States government to perform a study on a group of Black men with syphillis. The men were recruited to the study with promises of free meals, transportation to the clinic, medical exams and even treatment for minor medical concerns. The study lasted 40 years and involved the participation of over 600 Black men. This sounded like a good arrangement in theory, but researchers did not hold up their end of the bargain. By 1947, penicillin was widely used as treatment for syphillis. The researchers neglected to inform the men involved in the study in addition to refusing to treat the men.
As a result of the Tuskegee Experiment, nearly a hundred men died, and hundreds of partners and children were infected with the disease as well. Not only was this a breach of research ethics, as the participants did not give informed consent and were not treated for their ailment. The men and their families won a $9 million class action lawsuit in 1973, but this of course was not enough to make up for the damage that was done.
Similarly, the same researcher who uncovered the Tuskegee Syphillis experiment, Susan Reverby, discovered that a similar situation occured in Guatemala. The US Public Health Service and Pan American Sanitary Bureau worked with the Guatemalan government to do research on 1300 Guatemalans that involved intentionally exposing them to STDs.
The experiment involved many who are considered disposable in society - sex workers, mental patients, prisoners, and soldiers. Only 700 of these people were treated, and during the study 83 people died. Some of the most disturbing incidents during the study involved injecting epilepsy patients in the back of the head with syphillis, as well as the infection of a terminal illness patient with gonnorhea (she died six months later). The Guatemalans in the study also did not give informed consent.
Henrietta Lacks (1920 - 1951) was a Black woman who went to Johns Hopkins Hospital to be examined for serious medical concerns. After a biopsy was performed, she was diagnosed with and subsequently treated for cancer. While she was being treated, healthy and cancerous cells were removed from her cervix without her consent. She died in 1951, but the cells stolen from her body continued to be used. Though she died poor and was buried without a gravestone, her cells were used for many medical tests. From routine tests for human sensitivity to substances to the development of the Polio vaccine, her cells were used for medical advances. Her family only learned about the removal of her cells in the 1970s, and she is largely unknown despite the contributions to science she had made.
Current medical racism
Distrust of medical health professionals, along with racist attitudes probably contribute to medical health disparities. Racially linked anxiety disorders have been linked to racism at the hands of white people. A significant number of Black women report racism and sexism contributing to their stress and to stress-linked overeating.
Stressful life circumstances are reasons for hypertension and many mental health ailments. Working and middle class Black women who report multiple forms of discrimination are more likely to have high blood pressure than those who report fewer incidents. Black Americans who are more confrontational about racism are less likely to have elevated blood pressure than those who stay silent, which can be attributed to the effects of suppressed hostility.
Today, doctors still exhibit subconscious racist attitudes. A study in the American Journal of Public Health (March 2012) showed that a full two-thirds of the doctors in the sample were racially biased. White and Asian health professionals showed anti-Black bias, but Black health professionals showed no bias.
Doctors are more likely to speak more slowly to Black patients, extend their visits, and to lecture and talk down to them. This shows that the doctors are paternalistic and don’t care about respecting their patients or asking for their input
Additionally, white doctors are prone to giving worse care to patients of color, regardless of their income. People of color are less likely to get the diagnoses and treatment that they need, for everything ranging from heart disease medication, HIV treatment, and dialysis. Black women are the least likely to receive the pain medication that they need. Mental health professionals are less likely to diagnose people of color with an appropriate diagnosis because of their race.
Thin privilege is feeling comfortable eating your fill in front of other people because you haven’t been conditioned by society and/or member(s) of your own family to believe that you’re only allowed to have a certain amount of food or you’re being a slob and a pig.
Thin privilege is not spending…
In a move that’s been anticipated since this summer, the American Psychiatric Association has officially approved a revision to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) declassifying “gender identity disorder” as a mental illness.
The implications of this change: transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals’ identities are no longer considered mental illnesses. It’s astounding that it’s taken until now for this to happen. Homosexuality was declassified as a mental illness in 1973, and that was already pretty late in the game.
Instead, people who may have been previously diagnosed with “gender identity disorder,” a label often used to discriminate against trans people, will be diagnosed with gender dysphoria to describe “the emotional distress that can result from ‘a marked incongruence between one’s experienced/expressed gender and assigned gender.’”
This will allow for affirmative treatment and transition care without the stigma of disorder. Earlier this year, the APA also released new health guidelines for transgender patients, as well as a position statement affirming transgender care and civil rights. Both documents align with a new standard for respecting trans people in the medical community.
Huge, huge news. Trans followers, what say you?
I was doing a research paper on EDs for a class and came across a CNN article, from 2012, about eating disorders’ rising rates. I was so disgusted when I looked in the comments section and saw that it was mostly fat shaming…people were blaming parents for just not having their kids exercise enough…
OKAY WAIT BEFORE YOU GO FOR THIS!- someone who knows more than me about this- does this method work?
My only experience is with Queen anne’s lace- but this looks more accessible and easier to prepare/obtain. I’ve heard of Vitamin C being used before, but don’t know anyone who has used it.
I know the parsley trick does work- most of the time. Sometimes it doesn’t. Its kind of a gamble. I don’t know the rates that it fails, but anecdotal evidence points to it being low.
Rad. Keeping this here for reference.
Gonna ask Herbalist Mommy about this.
[Content notes/potential warnings: Discussion of cissexism, induced miscarriage/abortion, medical scary stuff in the “just in case” risk section, mentions of blood and tissue, mentions of vomiting, mentions of alcohol, mentions of abuse]
Reblogging this for the super important info, but not for the potentially-misgendering and definitely cissexist stuff about “femanons” and “GFs”. Major disapproval on that shit, discussed more here. (Also, um, please don’t assume it’s a boyfriend who’s getting someone pregnant, for a wide variety of reasons, including but not limited to trans* people exist, and also the possibility of sexual violence.)
Note also I don’t have an image description for the inducing-miscarriage instructions above, but the instructions are very important in addition to what I have to say below. If someone needs an image description, I’ll try to find some time to type one out.
To respond to the question, though— in my understanding, Queen Anne’s Lace is more dangerous, but I have no experience with it.
Anyway, YES the info in this image is real.
YES, the parsley and vitamin C work.
YES, I have personally tried this combo once before, successfully.
However, the longer you wait, the less effective it’ll be, and the more risky it’ll be to do it this way if it does work.
OKAY THE BELOW STUFF IS SOMEWHAT HORRIFYING AND GRAPHIC, SO I JUST WANT TO POINT OUT IN ALL CAPS THAT MOST PEOPLE’S EXPERIENCES ARE USUALLY SAFER THAN MY EXPERIENCE. But I don’t want to withhold info just because nasty anti-choicers exploit people’s experiences. So in the interest of full disclosure, for people who feel they need to know, who promise to keep my experience in context, feel free to continue.
Technique/risk/warning stuff if you do the things listed:
- Afterwards, I’d suggest watching out for super intense bleeding that’s way, way, way heavier than normal (though it will be much heavier than normal, and note that you’ll be passing a lot more cells/tissue/clots/clumps than normal, for obvious reasons). I think the recommendation is to get to an E.R. if you can if you’re soaking through more than one pad an hour, or if your pain is unbearably severe, etc.
- Basically the risk with vitamin C + parsley is that your cervix doesn’t necessarily dilate. Rather, your uterus will start sloughing off shit and cramping, but your cervix might remain the same. Unlike with the pharmaceutical drugs you’d get for an early abortion that will safely dilate it. So for this, you can get an infection or other sorts of nasty things you might expect might be a risk by trying to pass tissue that’s clumpier than normal through an undilated cervix. This is not necessarily the case, of course, especially if you’re only a few days late. The earlier the better.
- It’s not a good idea to use tampons during this time, by the way. Ideally not until your next normal cycle.
- Personally, I was really risky about this, partially because I had to be. Although the sex I recently had was consensual, I was in an abusive home environment where I didn’t have access to a clinic for testing/abortion/etc, and basically I was stuck and tried this, later than I really should have, and luckily nobody caught on to my sudden surge of interest in parsley and vitamin C. Nobody connected it to my subsequent nasty “menstrual cycle”.
- I don’t remember dosages but I was popping non-bioflavinoid vitamin C chewable tablets a lot, and I was making parsley infusions and drinking them regularly for about three days before I started bleeding. I used both fresh and dried parsley. I did not insert anything. (Dosages in image are probably fine.)
- I did use pressure points and self-massage, basically anything I could find online that stimulated the uterus, induced cramps, and/or was not recommended for people who are pregnant, because I figured if it was “risky” for pregnancies, it was something I wanted. I don’t know much about this. I don’t know if it helped, but I did it. Especially pressure points by my foot/ankle. Like by my Achilles’ heel?
- Here’s where it could have gotten extra bad— I drank alcohol the day before I started the herbal process. I almost never drink, so the fact that I got drunk means I didn’t “objectively” have a lot of alcohol, but definitely more than my body was used to. It is NOT a good idea to mix alcohol with medical or herbal procedures. Note that even several sessions of binge drinking does NOT usually cause miscarriages (though it can cause other detrimental effects), so I really don’t recommend trying to drink alcohol in order to induce. In my opinion it only makes it more risky for you, without any added benefit of being much more likely to induce miscarriage. This is likely what contributed to my negative side effects. However, note that I was not intoxicated nor hung over when the bleeding started, so my side effects (i.e. nausea) can’t be directly explained by the alcohol.
- When the cramping/bleeding started, it was very bad for me. I usually have a very high pain tolerance, but was vomiting repeatedly because of how bad the pain/cramping was (this is extreme, unusual, and I should have gone to the E.R. for this, but I don’t blame myself for not doing so, because I wasn’t safe to do so in my abusive home).
- I was also bleeding far more intensely than I should have been, to the degree that I was camped out on the toilet. That way I wouldn’t use up all the pads in the house (this could have been hemorrhaging, and I should have gone to the E.R. for this, but see above).
- I was extremely weak and light-headed (I should have gone to the E.R. for this, but see above).
But, well, I survived! And wasn’t pregnant afterwards! And I’m extremely happy/pleased I did it, and pretty damn proud of myself for being clever and doing everything on my own in my horrible situation. Though if something happened in the future and I had access to a clinic, I would probably do that instead, personally.
- Pain meds unless your bleeding is dubiously heavy, in which case try your best to hold off because pain meds thin the blood.
- Friends who are awesome.
- Microwavable heating pads for your abdomen (i.e. the sock or fabric ones filled with rice).
- If you can, try eating as often as you can. It’ll help immensely with pain, and with pain-related nausea.
- Water if you’re eating, or water with a small pinch of salt or electrolyte sports drinks or Pedialyte if you’re unable to eat, to hydrate, especially because you may get diarrhea from all the vitamin C and/or from all the cramping going down in your abdominal cavity.
Feel free to ask questions in my inbox or via reblog! Disclaimer (as I’m sure you already know): I’m not a medical practitioner, this isn’t official medical advice, blah blah.
September 26th is World Contraception Day. Yay! We love contraception THIS MUCH. We love the potential ability for everyone to always be able to decide if and when they’re going to become or be part of a pregnancy; if and when they do or don’t create a family, if and when reproduction is going to…
The Center for Reproductive Rights and the American Civil Liberties Union have filed a lawsuit against Arizona’s 20-week gestation (18-weeks post fertilization) ban on abortions, calling the law “flatly unconstitutional.”
“We have taken action today to stop a law whose hostility toward women’s health and fundamental rights is so extreme that it will risk their very lives,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO at the Center for Reproductive Rights via statement.
Women, especially young childless undecided women voters, are talking about jobs, not abortion rights, right? What women really care about is not contraception, not access to family planning resources, not social issues like gay marriage, abstinence-only sex “ed” or Mitt Romney’s 50 year old bullying. Nope – it’s the economy. Women, “like everyone else,”– that would the norm – men, just want to be able to go to work, earn a fair wage and support their families. These “social” things are a “distraction” leading Americans to avert their gaze from what’s really important: the economy. Polls are clear: jobs and the economy are their number one concerns.
This oft-repeated juxtaposition, superficial and irresponsible, between The Economy and Social Issues (especially, in polls, “jobs” and “contraception”) is like a political media Greek chorus. People believe it, especially women who are disinclined to think about themselves as discriminated against by virtue of their sex. Young women answer these questions and pollsters ask them the way they do based on the assumption that women, armed with education and “girl power,” have equal access to newly created jobs and will be paid fairly for their work. Those are false assumptions that women, especially young childless ones, need to consider before they vote, because this year’s elections, both state and presidential, will affect their ability to do both for years to come.
We’re engaged in a mass delusion that misleadingly pits The Economy against what are at their core, Reproductive Rights. Don’t be fooled when considering who to vote for – women can’t participate equally in the first until they have the second. The very phrasing of the questions and the reporting of the answers hide the complex and interdependent relationship between the two. Contraception, reproductive rights, gay marriage (defined as it is by conservatives as a threat to male/female hierarchies) – all have critical implications for women’s economic well-being and for the economy at large.
Insistence on splitting these two concerns is particularly useful to Republicans, because it allows them toblame women’s economic woes on their “choices,” a specific irony. If a woman gets paid less or doesn’t have a “seat at the table” it’s because she chose a lower paying job, or because she chose to have children and works part-time, or she chose to not complete her education. If women make “bad choices” it’s their own fault, their decisions and they have to pay the consequences. Which gets us to the second half of this equation. Simultaneously, for the “less important” Social Issues, the word “choice” is completely anathema to Republican legislators and presidential hopefuls. Girls and women cannot possibly be trusted with “choices” when it comes to their own bodies, sex ed, birth control, health care, sexuality, domestic violence and marriage.
Most importantly, however, in terms of the economy, is that what all of these secondary-in-importance social issues boil down to is that women especially cannot be allowed to “choose” for themselves when to become mothers – arguably the single most important contributing factor to their, and our economies, long-term well-being.
What single factor arguably has the greatest impact on a woman’s work life? In other words, what enables women to participate in the economy and become productive workers and engines of economic growth and expansion?
That would be motherhood.
So, even single, childless, undecided women who may one day get pregnant, should consider what happens to a woman when she gives birth:
- She is 44% less likely to be hired
- She makes 11% less than her non-mother female counterpart (who is already just making 78cents to the male dollar)
- She is less likely to go to school or complete her education.
- She works part-time with more frequency, so that she can provide child care for which she is uncompensated and can derive no benefits as child care is invisible labor.
- She is less able to work overtime.
- She is unable to get maternal health care coverage as part of a basic insurance policy. Already discriminated against by gender rating in insurance prices, she is now doubly financially harmed by the fact of her parenthood.
- She is more likely to have to limit herself to lower paying job sectors where she thinks she will have more “flexibility” even though this has been proven not to be the case.
- She is more likely to be impoverished and become state dependent.
And, what is motherhood? In it’s simplest terms, it is reproduction.
Control of reproduction is an economic issue. This isn’t an academic abstraction, it is a practical reality for any human endowed with a uterus.
This is why instead of The Economy and Social Issues being unrelated as people keep suggesting, they are integrally related. The very nexus of The Economy and Social Issues then, from a policy perspective, is the question “Do you believe women should work, for (fair) pay and outside of the home?” Republicans do not. That’s why their dedication to controlling female sex and reproduction is an economic policy choice – it affects women’s abilities to pursue education, get hired, be paid, stay in the workforce.
If you believe yes women should be able to work and be paid fairly outside of the home, then you do everything possible to create family friendly work structures, fair pay regulations, health care access, planned parenting provisions, that enable women to do just that. If no, then you don’t. You do the opposite. You create a disabling “social issue” legislative scaffold on which to build a “it’s your own fault” Temple to Patriarchy. This is precisely what the Republic party is doing. If you are an undecided woman voter you should pause to consider the impact of these intersections on your own life and the lives of other, often far less privileged, women.
As it is now, even for a woman who has access to birth control, health care, safe and legal abortion, becoming a mother in this country, planned or unplanned, is the single worst economic decision a woman can make. She is still cobbled by inadequate health care, higher gender-rated insurance premiums, discriminatory pay, poor return on her educational investment, greater responsibility for child care and an inability to save effectively for security in her old age.
Republicans have shown repeatedly and without remorse that they want to keep women vulnerable, dependent and at home:
- Lilly Ledbetter? What’s that? “Money is more important for men.” I finally support it, but (wink, wink) my surrogates will make sure it never happens. Fair Pay in Wisconsin? Don’t want to force employers to prove they are paying women fairly. Definitely don’t want to “clog up the legal system” unless, of course, it’s to send black boys and men to jail.
- Domestic Violence? Let’s make sure the Abuser Lobby is happy, given the mail order bride business and more, and ensure that women most vulnerable to violent abuse are isolated and left even more at the mercy of mostly men who will rape and beat them without recourse to the law.
- Reproductive Freedom? Let’s pursue husbandry-informed blunt force trauma legislation ensuring that women’s bodies and reproduction stay in the control of men. Eliminating Planned Parenthood, making it hard to find birth control and abortion services, mandating transvaginal ultrasounds that women themselves have to pay for, requiring waiting periods that require expensive travel – all of these things impede women’s freedom and ability to compete fairly in the job market.
- Health Care: What, you mean the stuff that keeps people healthy and able to go to work? Hell, no. We’ll not only fight against affordable health care (the opposite of which is unaffordable health care) but we will also stop federal funding for Planned Parenthood, even including monies dedicated to non-abortion services like…family planning – often the only services that poor women have access to. Title IX? The only federal program devoted to family planning, you almost cannot make this up it’s so ridiculous: Romney will eliminate it entirely, to save money for The Economy.
- And yes, even Mitt Romney’s 50 year old bullying of a gay boy. Why? Because the exact same attitudes that informed that incident inform his support of abstinence-only education, gendered societal roles, fair pay provisions, reproductive freedom – namely, there are rules, boxes which people are supposed to fit into – and when they don’t conform to his world view they should be punished and forced to. The roots of his high-school bullying escapades and his “Social Issue” policies both reside in an inability to empathize with people who don’t look like and sound like him. It’s why he saw nothing wrong in explaining that Ann Romney was responsible for translating females. Empathizing with women is just not a possibility if you’re a man.
All of these issues profoundly affect women’s ABILITY TO ENGAGE FULLY AND EQUALLY IN THE ECONOMY WITHOUT PENALIZATION. If Republicans were serious about their commitment to women’s unimpeded equality in the workplace, then they would not insist that “social” policies are unrelated to “the economy” and they would not be pursuing broad legislation that affirmatively harms women’s ability to participate in the economy on multiple levels. Basic control over her own body, that would be reproductive freedom and health care that is affordable, non-discriminatorily priced, and relevant to her body and not men’s, affects whether a woman can seek and complete her education. The type of job she can get. How many hours she can work. If she can afford to start a business. Whether or not she can work full time or has to work part time. Whether she can afford childcare and health care, if she works. Whether she can safely leave an abusive spouse without fear for her children and seek work to support herself.
That’s why Social Issues, like contraception, are ABOUT The Economy not separate from it.
All of this, yes.
Here are some highlighted passages from the article:
"I do not support the goals of Planned Parenthood because I believe in life," she said. "They believe in choice. So let’s just cut right through the fat and tell it like it is."
"I guess it’s imposing what I believe in," she said. "We can still put responsible limitations on those kinds of issues. And that’s what we’ve attempted to do."
The governor said there is nothing wrong with government getting involved in issues of morality.
"We are a moral country," she said. "We are a moral society."
When it comes to matters of health and family planning, do we really want a governor imposing her own beliefs on others?
If there is any more important time to donate to the local Planned Parenthood and support pro-choice candidates to office, now would be the time. As a matter of fact, there’s even a political action committee in Arizona dedicated to electing pro-choice women to office for 8 years called Arizona List.
Jan Brewer seems relentless on cutting off health services to low-income and uninsured folks that need it. Yeah, that seems economically wise. How is it even “pro-life” of Brewer to cut off access to health services to low-income folks that try to get out of poverty in order to obtain a better life for themselves? How is it even “pro-life” when Brewer finds it perfectly ok to diminish someone’s ability to decide for themselves when to have a family? Not only that, but her lack of respect for the separation of church and state truly shows when she says that there’s nothing wrong with government getting involved in issues of morality.
If there was anything I would want people outside of Arizona to know, it’s this: there is a pro-choice presence. It’s always been here and it won’t go away.