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Apr 24 2012

My “Controversial” Book is Still Pissing People Off

By at 11:17 am

mayim bialik nursing on nyc subwayHoo-boy. My book, Beyond the Sling, came out a few months ago. It went well. I was on The View, Nightline, and GMA. Big magazines interviewed me and the reviews were really positive overall. I didn’t make the NY Times bestseller list (seems you have to be a horribly mean/strict/abusive mama to really capture the interest of Americans!), but I was really pleased with the overall outcome of the book release: we went into a third printing the week it came out, Kveller threw me an awesome party at kosher/vegan Cafe Blossom, and seven of the Maccabeats came to the party (but who’s counting?). I mean, come on: in my world it does not get much better than that.

Imagine my surprise that I and my book have become something of a mini-sensation again in the past two weeks! First, Howard Stern (who I both am repulsed by and find utterly fascinating) mentioned he’d love to talk to me about how I “don’t believe in diapers” (his quote, not mine; we practiced Elimination Communication (EC) but used cloth diapers until we had the system down at about 15 months and much as I “believe” in hamburgers but don’t partake in them, I do “believe” in diapers).

Then, I am mentioned in two separate articles by well-listened-to conventional conservative pediatricians about: 1. My “controversial” stance on EC (as distinct from potty-training, mind you) and 2. My “controversial” stance on breastfeeding (the issue being that I do indeed breastfeed my toddler but never anywhere have ever said that I think anyone should unless it is mutually desirable).

Then The Today Show mentioned me and showed a picture of my book in a discussion about me breastfeeding Fred, discussing a picture taken of me breastfeeding him on the New York subway when he was 3 that was originally published right here on Kveller! (I was interviewed about that picture last week and the interviewer assumed it was some paparazzi shot; I laughed and said, “My husband took that!”)

I don’t always believe any publicity is good publicity, but in this case, it is! It hurts to see headlines such as “You Think Alicia Silverstone is Bad? Listen to What Mayim Bialik Does!” but it’s good to get people talking about things that are NOT wrong or bad or medically and legitimately contraindicated, despite people trying to make them such. There’s big money in the formula and diaper industry. I’m just saying.

I specifically wrote a book about my experience. I did not write a parenting book. I’m going to say that again because I have heard a ton of criticism from defensive attachment parenting haters who claim I should shut up and stop telling them what to do. I repeat: I did not write a parenting book! I wrote a book about what our home looks like. I wrote about the good, the bad, and the ugly of natural birth, breastfeeding, sleeping with our kids, babywearing, the challenges and benefits of NOT doing cry-it-out or any modified version of nightweaning, and why and how we practiced EC with our boys. I discuss the way we treat sicknesses in our house, the way we discipline our kids without hitting or time-outs or threats, and I discuss how we limit consumerism and just say no to early academic and social pressure. That’s the book.

I know people may not do everything I do and they don’t have to. I wanted to share my life with readers to increase tolerance for this style of parenting, to open up a discussion about the science of our bodies that modern obstetrics thinks we don’t need to know about, and to show that people who parent like I do are not mindless, bored martyrs, or wealthy, entitled celebrities who have nannies in secret but pretend to be perfect.

I am thrilled Howard Stern and The Today Show and all of these uptight doctors who clearly missed out on one or another class on breastfeeding or oxytocin or anthropology are talking about me, because I am not a freak. I am not a controversial anomaly. I am not a trend. I am a mama who didn’t want to believe what “The Man” was telling me so I found out for myself how I wanted to carry my baby, birth it, nurture it, and raise it. And lo and behold! It fits with the normal developmental physiology and psychology of all primates.

I love when a plan comes together. Read on, America–and be empowered!


Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on Kveller are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

About Mayim

Mayim Bialik is the grandchild of immigrants from Eastern Europe and the mother of two young boys. She is best known for her lead role in the 1990s NBC sitcom Blossom, as well as her current role as Amy Farrah Fowler on CBS' The Big Bang Theory.

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