Mother to Mother
Compleat Mother issue #88
I googled Was Barack
Obama breastfed? and got 285,000 hits.
When I googled Was John McCain breastfed? I got only (!) 118,000 hits.
I don’t know what this means, but if I loved my computer that much, I
surely would find out.
Dear Friends, Rabble Rousers, Ring
Leaders and Malcontents,
My husband received a call from a political field office and
was asked if he would be voting for Senator Barack Obama for president. My
husband told them that was personal and said “goodbye.”
The next evening I got the call and was asked the
same question. I said I wasn’t sure, I had some questions. “What
“Why does Senator Obama talk about health care
reform when we do not have a health care system?” “What do you mean?”
Thirty minutes later the 22 year old woman said all
these ideas were very interesting, I asked her if she would take my name,
address, phone number and email address and run the information up the chain
of command. I said if I didn’t hear from anyone, I would know it was of no
Lo and behold, the next morning I got a call from
Andrew, Deputy Political Director for the Barack Obama campaign in North
Dakota (also in his early 20’s). He invited me to submit my interesting
ideas to campaign headquarters, which I did (see below).
I also asked him if he could find out if Senator
Barack was breastfed. Barack was born in 1961, his family didn’t have much
money and there was no WIC program yet to give away free artificial baby
milk to poor moms. (WIC, a federal nutrition program for Women Infants and
Children was lobbied through congress by formula manufacturers in the early
1970’s.) So... maybe this presidential candidate WAS breastfed. Andrew
knew our last president that was breastfed was Jimmy Carter, so he
understood why this information was important to my voting decision. I also
want to know if Barack’s daughters were nursed, but first things first.
Thank you for taking the time to speak with me. I am sending you a copy of
my email to the Obama “Suggest Your Own Policy” site.
Let me know when you find out if Senator Obama was breastfed. Were his
daughters? It seems like an odd question, I am sure, but it makes all the
difference in the world when I am talking to people about these issues.
Thank you in advance for reading my ideas. Any comments or suggestions will,
of course, be welcomed.Most Sincerely,
Although I did not hear back
from the Obama Campaign Office, I have it on good authority that Senator
Obama’s daughters were nursed, but I still don’t know about their dad.
What follows is my submission to the Obama Campaign “Suggest Your Own
Policy” website— .
I was pleased to read Senator Obama’s “Plan for a Healthy America:
Lowering health care costs and ensuring affordable, high-quality health care
I would like to offer Senator Obama an idea that
would separate him from all the pundits campaigning for their respective
elections and elevate this part of his campaign to a higher level.
Replace rhetoric about ‘health care reform’ to
meaningful MEDICAL CARE REFORM discussion. Starting with a new title for his
PLAN— “Barack Obama’s Plan for a Healthy America: Lowering MEDICAL
care costs and ensuring affordable, high-quality MEDICAL AND health care for
all.”All the other political candidates will be talking about
‘healthcare’ reform, affordable ‘health insurance’ and the ‘health
care’ crisis... we have all been hearing this spin for years and we know
it means business as usual.
I have been tracking these issues for three decades.
This is what I have observed: Our local facility was called Trinity
HOSPITAL, later re-named Trinity MEDICAL CENTER, and now it is Trinity
In the late 70’s and early 80’s the discussions
centered around the MEDICAL crisis, MEDICAL reform, MEDICAL insurance and
MEDICAL care cost containment.
MEDICAL insurance morphed into HEALTH CARE
insurance. MEDICAL reform morphed into HEALTHCARE reform.
This is a difference with a
Health care includes clean air and safe water,
enough good food to eat, exercise, rest, shelter and a safe environment as
well as healing arts and the availability of and appropriate utilization of
medical care services.
Medical care is surgery, pharmaceuticals, invasive
tests and procedures. Malpractice tort reform is on the agenda too but no
one is talking about reducing the incidence of malpractice, or alleviating
the malpractice crisis by improving outcomes.
Senator Obama’s PLAN uses the word “health” approximately 100 times
when the word “medical” would be far more accurate.
If Senator Obama starts to talk about MEDICAL
reform, the distinction will be significant. Those of us who have been
around for decades, watching everything get worse, will be heartened to know
Senator Obama knows the difference between MEDICAL care, which is in
desperate need of reform and a HEALTH CARE mandate which must be developed.
Anyone who has been tracking these issues knows the United States does not
have a HEALTH CARE system to reform. In addition, it is my belief that we
have about the right amount of medical care, the problem is
mal-distribution. Unnecessary surgeries and over-treatment are common... so
are denials of medical treatment for those who truly need it.
Where do we start?
The foundation of this entire structure is maternity care
reform. I know what is wrong in maternity care and I know what must be
corrected. I know the medical and health care providers who can turn this
around once the barriers to achieving good outcomes are overcome. The most
significant impediment to these changes is the payment system. Poor
outcomes generate more billable services than good outcomes.
When I started my research, the cesarean section
rate was under 5%. Now cesarean rates of 30% are not unusual and the costs
have increased exponentially. (see “The Farmer and the Obstetrician”
by Michel Odent, MD and “Expecting Trouble” by Thomas H. Strong
MD, obstetrician and neonatologist and the film “Birth As We Know It”
and if you can bare the sight of strong women voting with their feet, see
“The Big Stretch”.)
Prenatal care has been re-named Prenatal Scare
because of the high levels of stressful anxiety generated by obstetrical
maternity care. To find the solution, look at other countries that have
better maternity statistics. The film “Midwives, Lullabies and Mother
Earth” is a good place to start.
The prematurity rate is going up in the US. Our
Infant Mortality rate is the worst in the developed world. Our Maternal
Mortality Rate is increasing.
If this happened to a farmer, he would go broke. To
remain financially viable, he would need to make sure his animals were
getting enough to eat, had clean water, space to exercise, shelter, safety
and freedom of movement and privacy for birth. Babies would not be routinely
separated from their mothers and nothing would be allowed to interfere with
successful lactation. Colonization of the baby’s system with the organisms
from the environment in which the baby will be living and the full
immunological inventory from the mother’s milk is guaranteed.
When human mothers and babies have poor outcomes,
obstetrical experts claim that no one really knows what causes premature
birth or low weight gain. They do not know which medical practices lead to
lactation failure or the development of poor “mothering-up” skills.
Nutrition in pregnancy is not even in the curriculum of our state medical
school— I was told “It does not matter what women eat, it has no bearing
on the outcome.” I grew up on a farm. I know what you feed your animals is
of critical importance if your goal is healthy babies and mothers who will
nurse them, care for them and protect them from harm. Farmers also have
tricks to get a sluggish new mom to “Mother-Up.” A vigilant mother is
vital if the farmer’s year-long investment is to pay off.
State of the art maternity care programs developed
with a solid understanding of the normal physiology of gestation, birth and
lactation will prove their value within one short year with measurable
indicators that will rank our programs favorably by improved outcomes
including lactation success and lower costs. Successful lactation is the
single most important indicator of future health resulting in a further
reduction in medical costs, (see “Impact of Birthing Practices on
Breastfeeding” by Mary Kroeger with Linda J. Smith and the film “Birth
and Parenting for the 21st Century”). Please let me know if you have
any comments or questions. Thank you for your time and attention.
PO Box 209 Minot, North Dakota 58702-0209
phone: 701 852-2822
Full disclosure: Jody McLaughlin is the publisher
of Compleat Mother, the Magazine of Pregnancy,
Birth and Breastfeeding web: CompleatMother.com
and supports protecting the Genital Integrity of all,
especially children— www.BoysToo.com
I have not heard back from anyone, so maybe this
too, fell on deaf ears. Anyway, always look for people with the four “I”s:
Intelligence, Integrity, Interest and a willingness to make an Investment.
If they do not have all four qualities, chances are, they will not be able
to understand what we are saying.
When the Deputy Political Director of the North
Dakota Campaign for Change says... It was wonderful talking to you and
thank you so much for your time and input. Your passion for Maternal care is
exuberant and contagious. I hope these resources help to allow you to take
more ownership over this campaign. Please provide us feedback on our plan!
it is just so much smoke and mirrors. And my husband had it right from the
-- Jody McLaughlin, Compleat Mother Magazine, Publisher
I’m asking you to believe. Not just in
ability to bring about real change in Washington...
I’m asking you to believe in yours.
Dear Mother Dear
Joy, & Raspberry Leaves
-a new video compiled by Catherine and Amanda Young
of The Compleat Mother
for more information on the waterbirth video!
Click here to read:
The Farmer and the Obstetrician
here for the Home Sweet Homebirth (Video)