A blog about the intersection of medicine and business, produced by the members of the Medical Consumerism seminar at the University of Minnesota.
I have to say, it seems like in the past 5-10 years having a baby has become an entire industry. As an occasional reader of popular women's health and lifestyle magazines, the amount of articles dedicated to anxiety around conceiving a baby, fertility treatments, the best way to feed a baby, what environmental toxins will kill a baby, etc. have just abounded. I don't even have a baby and the tone of the articles stresses me out. Of course, as in the NYT article, there are always plenty of professional services available to remedy your fears. Worried about fertility? Try egg-stimulating injections. Don't have the right partner yet, pay upwards of $15,000 to freeze eggs that have a very low rate of leading to conception once they have thawed. Worried about your baby's plastic bottle seeping toxins into their juice? You should be, and so there is a $40 specially lined baby bottle that will protect the infant from harm. While the NYT article focused on Freda's assisting new mothers, I think there is an ethical problem with promoting and then exploiting the panic of new or hopeful mothers. Part of the problem with Freda's service I think, is that the reason these women are paying her $200 for a consultation is so that they don't feel guilty for giving up on breastfeeding, which of course, knowing the benefits of breastfeeding would then make them a bad mother if they were to switch to formula. As a woman and consumer of media, I hope this frantic, panicked tone surrounding motherhood will ease up soon, though given the amount of money to be made on the industry of motherhood, I'm not sure that we will see that happen in the immediate future.
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