Profile for Avital Norman Nathman

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Mommie Dearest: Pregnant Women In The U.S. Deserve Access To Midwives

Mommie Dearest: Pregnant Women In The U.S. Deserve Access To Midwives

Earlier this month, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), a U.K. organization that provides national health care advice and guidance, released a report on the care of healthy women and their babies during childbirth. The report stated that low-risk women would actually be safer delivering with a midwife — either at a birth center or at home — than with a physician at a hospital.

Ever since the report came out, there has been a lot of discussion as to how it might impact birth here in the United States. In fact, this week, The New York Times published a statement from their Editorial board, asking “Are Midwives Safer Than Doctors?”, and suggesting that many women would benefit from midwifery care. Like the Times, I too hope that NICE’s report will have an impact on the care received by those who are pregnant. I should note that I have a double stake in this issue. I’m currently working on my second book, this one delving into the concept of the “Perfect Birth.” I’m curious about the way we think about, talk about, and experience birth. I’ve teamed up with Deborah Wage, a Certified Nurse Midwife currently practicing at a university hospital. Together we’re looking at the research and data already out there on birth in this country as well as gathering our own, along with the stories of those giving birth to see how it all weaves together. The stories I have heard so far that span the spectrum of birth experiences is overwhelming. The way we treat women in this country is only magnified during the birth experience, where any semblance of control and autonomy is ignored, and marginalized women are treated poorly, resulting in poor birth outcomes for themselves and their babies. Just look at the basic facts and you can’t help but understand we have a problem. The U.S. spends the most when it comes to birth in the world, despite the fact that we’re the only developed nation whose maternal mortality rates continue to rise. Clearly, there is a systemic issue that needs to change.

But my interest in this is also personal. Keep reading »

Mommie Dearest: Sister Wife-ing It Up

Mommie Dearest: Sister Wife-ing It Up

I used to watch TLC’s “Sister Wives” — a reality show about a Mormon household with one husband, four wives, and a combined 17 children =- with a mix of shame, incredulity, and, dare I say it, jealousy. While I couldn’t imagine sharing my husband like that, there was something appealing about the way the Brown family came together to support each other, living out the concept of “it takes a village,” and redefining what family means. Push aside the inherently sexist concept of religious male-centric polygamy for a second, and there is something really beautiful about a group of adults coming together to help raise a family. Keep reading »

Mommie Dearest: Why Are Kids’ Toys So Crappy?

Mommie Dearest: Why Are Kids' Toys So Crappy?

One of the coolest parts of childhood is definitely all the toys. But as a parent today — especially a feminist one — toys can be one of the more frustrating aspects of raising a child. Marketing and branding has increased tenfold, and even kids who don’t regularly watch TV are aware of all the new toys, many of which are — at best, creatively limiting — and at worst, fairly sexist or even hypersexualizing. And with the holiday season upon us, the problem with kids’ toys is only brought further into the spotlight. Keep reading »

Mommie Dearest: No, Feminism Is Not About Stripping Boys Of Their Masculinity

Mommie Dearest: No, Feminism Is Not About Stripping Boys Of Their Masculinity

Recently, Tara Kennedy-Kline, a mother of two boys, took to the internet to proudly declare that she cannot (and will not) support feminism. If the title of the piece didn’t send up a bevy of red flags, the fact that it appeared on Thought Catalog should have clued me in to the fact that it was most likely suspect. And suspect it was. In fact, the piece was so completely obtuse, it almost feels as if it’s pure linkbait from one of Thought Catalog’s resident trolls. Yet, even if it’s 100 percent trolling, the sad fact remains that there are actually still people out there who think like this “mom.” Keep reading »

Mommie Dearest: Seriously, Stop Policing Mothers’ Bodies

Mommie Dearest: Seriously, Stop Policing Mothers' Bodies

Kim Kardashian recently posed naked for Paper magazine, and despite the prediction, she did not actually break the internet. Instead, she got a whole lot of people talking. While many people are naturally talking about her shiny posterior, others are rightfully discussing the racial implications of the photoshoot. Along with the thoughtful critique, there’s also a hefty dose of personal opinion, like “Glee” actress Naya Rivera who left a snarky comment on Kardashian’s Instagram, reminding the reality star that she is — gasp! — someone’s mother! And Rivera isn’t the only one. Tons of internet commenters brought up the fact that Kardashian is a mother, as if mothers all of a sudden stop being sexy or sexual after they have sex that one time to reproduce. I have no clue what Rivera’s plans are for her own uterus, but I wonder if she’ll stop participating in scantily clad photo shoots once she gives birth? Keep reading »

Are Women The New Face Of Marijuana Use?

Are Women The New Face Of Marijuana Use?

What comes to mind when you picture someone who uses marijuana? For many it’s the stereotypical image of a lazy, spacey, and possibly dirty stoner who listens to The Grateful Dead, prefers hemp as their jewelry of choice, and is always good for a laugh or two. Recently, however, mainstream publications like Vogue, Elle and The New York Times are doing their best to challenge these tired assumptions as they introduce readers to the “new” wave of pot enthusiasts. And if Elle.com’s foray into the wild world of weed is any indication, it’s all about women. Keep reading »

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