In honor of Turkey Day today, I decided to create the First Annual Turkey Awards, given in "honor" of fat-phobic healthcare provider "turkeys" everywhere.
A Turkey Award to Fat-Phobic OBs and Midwives, who harassed and humiliated and deserted clients of size this year. [And believe me, these are just a few of the more recent stories I've heard; I could fill a book with all the stories I've heard over the years.]
There's the doctor who told the supersized woman she was basically committing suicide by being pregnant at her size, and scared her to death with a long list of complications that was "going" to happen to her. Puhleeze. Distorting risk does not serve anyone. Discuss instead how to be proactive and lessen risks, not try to shame and scare someone out of procreating.
There's the doctor who met a fat woman at the beginning of pregnancy and insisted she give permission for a cesarean section before he would even agree to take her on as a client. There's no way you can tell who is going to "need" a cesarean at the beginning of pregnancy. He's already made the decision to slice and dice her, simply because of her size. That's bias, pure and simple. Most fat women can give birth vaginally....and if you look at the research, did so in the past, before the obesity hysteridemic made cesareans a foregone conclusion for women of size with many doctors.
There's the doctor who is denying the option for Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC) to a woman of size simply because of her weight. (More posts on this coming soon.) Rest assured, fat women CAN and DO have VBACs, including this well-rounded mama! However, it often means you have to step outside of the traditional medical model because the bias against fat women is so incredibly entrenched in obstetrics today.
But sometimes not even midwifery is safe either. I got an email just yesterday about a midwife who bailed on a VBAC mama at 36 weeks of pregnancy because of the woman's size and her past history of big babies (born vaginally, mind, with no shoulder dystocia). Now this mama with two prior VBACs is left with very few options, and is finding other midwives turning her down out of fear too. If that midwife had qualms about serving this woman because of her size, she should have brought them forth long ago. Dumping her at 36 weeks because of the political climate around women of size and around VBACs is simply unconscionable.
A Gigantic Turkey Award to Dr. Raul Artal and his colleagues, who are insisting that fat women starve themselves and LOSE weight in pregnancy, despite all the associated risks this can entail, and who are lobbying hard through an insidious media campaign for the weight gain guidelines to be drastically lowered for women of size. They are basically advocating that babies be put on diets before they are even born.
When you look at the studies they base their media blitz on, their conclusions don't hold water at all. Too bad the news media and the obstetric community are so gullible they don't examine the actual evidence with any kind of a discerning eye at all.
And finally, a Party-Pooper Turkey Award to the News Media Food Fascists, who just can't let us enjoy a Thanksgiving meal without guilt.
Yesterday's paper was filled with news about how there are more ER visits after the holiday, how we all should avoid overeating during the holidays, how we should all get up and take a walk after that turkey dinner, and in general lots of neurosis about just enjoying your food and your holiday.
For God's sake, people, it's just one meal, one day. I agree that a walk is a good idea, I agree that really stuffing yourself isn't a great idea, yadda yadda, but come on! If we didn't have such a restrictive, fearful approach to food on a daily basis, people wouldn't overindulge so excessively on a holiday!
Can't we hear a voice for moderation anywhere? Can't we just eat for once without having to "make up for it" with exercise afterwards? Can't we just enjoy good food without the media pushing us to feel guilty about it?
A little sanity and a little common sense, please. It's one day, one meal.
Enjoy yourself without having to stuff yourself, and let yourself savor your food without having to feel guilty.