Autismum

By day: mum of an autistic tot. By night: mum of an autistic tot.

Guggie, You Make Me Gaggie.

Guest post by Vaximom*

The opinions of guest bloggers are their own but ones I share. In the case of this post, however, I must go further. As a mother who had an elective c-section, vaccinates and breastfed  I dearly wish I’d written what follows so, here goes:

Guggie has done it again!
The sanctimony is woeful. Moreover, the supercilious manner in which she projects her “empowering information”, touted as though she is the authority on the subject would be laughable if it weren’t so frightening.The idea that Ms Daly has 624 followers on her blog, and 5000-odd on her Facebook page compels me, and other members of the community of well adjusted, reasonable people who do not thrive on hyperbole and dramatics, to BRING HER DOWN.

So, in the last year, Guggie (let’s call her Gaggie for comedy purposes) has thought herself qualified to commentate on the following subject matter:

Caesarean birth
Vaccination
Circumcision
Breastfeeding
…amongst others.

Unfortunately, she lacks the credentials, and the critical thinking skills to adequately (let alone expertly, as she would have us believe) impart information on these issues. These topics are contentious among parents of young children. When an outspoken, judgemental, haughty woman-child stands up on her soapbox with the intent, firstly, of swaying parents to her cult-like way of thinking, and, secondly, consolidating the beliefs of parents already entrenched in the extremist attachment parenting movement, we enter a danger zone.
Not only are some of the parenting ideas that she promotes physically dangerous to our own children and the children of people around us (think homebirth and eschewing vaccines)…the over-confidence that she exudes can very well lead to (unnecessary) feelings of failure and deficiency in a woman who comes by her blog, and hasn’t subscribed to the holy grail of parenting that Gaggie deems acceptable.

Let’s begin with the wonder that is the “about me” box: Gaggie “started this blog to provide a fresh, evidence-based perspective for today’s parents on a variety of early-childhood topics.” Isn’t “evidence-based perspective” an oxymoron? Evidence is that which tends to prove or disprove something. Perspective is a mental view or outlook, usually pertaining to the personal. The two together make no sense. So, even the most basic aspect of her blog: her introduction to herself…is intellectually erroneous. The fact that Gaggie even has the gall to use the word “evidence” in her blog is laughable…unless she defines “evidence” as “cherry picking” data, inductive fallacies and a special talent for strawman arguments in the comments.

She uses dramatic effect to appeal to the reader, and extensive, (although incorrect at times) vocabulary to make herself appear knowledgeable and an authority on her chosen subject matter. Fortunately for her, her readers seem to be the biggest followers around; which is ironic, given that Gaggie wants everyone to do their research. This involves reading and believing The Guggie Daily without question. Her followers take her word as gospel, praise her and idolise her. The rest of us, those who can critically appraise sources, argue objectively and rationally have a responsibility to get up all in that…and make sure that people know what a crock of bull Gaggie writes.

I would like to know who else thinks caesarean birth and the crucifixion of Christ are comparable experiences. Unless, of course, you harbour a well developed martyr complex. Gaggie does. She pities, shames and admonishes c-section mothers, saving her accolades and joyous congratulations for her home-birthing counterparts. In one photo, a baby wears a t-shirt stating “I am special. I was born at home.” Well, fiddle-dee-dee! To all you poor, surgically extracted babies: YOU ARE NOT SPECIAL. Just so’s you know.

Her preoccupation with circumcision warrants a special mention. I don’t think I’ve read a blog with so many posts about penises. I don’t know about Gaggie, but I was taught to respect people and their bodies, however they appear…that includes not broadcasting to the interwebs whether my sons have foreskins or not. She thinks she’s doing the future male generation a favour from her laptop. Aren’t they lucky, all those dudes? Imagine her boys, as teenagers, having to deal with the fallout of their mother’s blogging…the entire internet community knowing whether your pecker was intact or not. Respect starts with privacy. Just sayin’.

Pwd’s 1st sip of formula – he still has just  one head

Formula feeding? While I agree that breast milk is the way to go and am a huge advocate for breastfeeding, I don’t share Gaggie’s hobby of foisting guilt onto women who either choose not to breastfeed or who can’t, for whatever reason. I’m not sure how inducing inadequacy, while sitting on your own little Mountain of Smug, is throwing one out there for the sisterhood. While breast is often best, in the words of my NICU midwife: “We gave him a little formula, because we don’t like to starve babies.” Word.

When she talks about vaccines, she just… Makes. Stuff. Up. Her ability to manipulate vocabulary gives a semblance of the idea that she knows what she’s talking about. Quoted directly from The Guggie Daily:

“Well, you know what? Thanks a lot, all you people who vaccinated the hell outta your kids. Now we have super strains. Now we have interrupted transmission, shifting demographics, weakened immune systems, and epigenetic curses.”

She was kind enough to post an update, thoughtfully hyper-linking all the impressive immunological language for all of us plebeians out there. Unfortunately, the hyper-links direct you to either previous posts of her own, (bias, anyone?) or to dubious sensationalist medical news sites.

It’s dangerous. As much as I hate to admit it, she has charisma. Unfortunately, her charisma, coupled with her fanatical views make her seem like something of a car-wreck on the internet. You want to look away…but you just can’t. You are drawn to ogling the damage like a rubbernecker extraordinaire. The problem begins when you get young, new, impressionable mothers who are blinded by this charisma and begin following the dogma…reinforcing Gaggie’s self-opinion that she is their Leader.

She is a natural mother, yo. The rest of us will never be able to live up to her piety. She has to save us from ourselves! We need Gaggie to show us the way!
She, herself, states:

 “And thanks a lot, really, for passing on a cycle of shame, terror, impaired intrapersonal and interpersonal development, narcissism and the general inability to empathize, to accurately assess emotions or to resolve conflict in a relationship with your punitive parenting.”

The lack of introspection here is very salient. She truly, truly thinks that we “punitive parents” are harming our children, and hers. Furthermore, we earn the label “punitive” because we vaccinate or may circumcise…and we might not homebirth or breastfeed. Her insinuation is that unless you follow the Gaggie Doctrine of Attachment Parenting, your children will turn out just like the description above in italics. Impaired. Broken.
The main gripe I think we all have about Gaggie is her righteousness and self proclaimed virtue. Oh, and the fact that her blog’s heading bar looks like an advertisement for some kind of vitamin…or dermatology clinic. Take your pick.
That and the fact that her information is biased and incorrect. Now, there’s a dangerous combination. Self righteousness, over-confidence coupled with incorrect information?
Let’s get the word out there that Gaggie is clueless. One foreskin at a time.

*Vaximom is  is a mother to two beautiful boys who has taught countless other beautiful children the value of critical thinking and the scientific method. She spends her free time debunking sloppy thought and scientific denialism in order to make the world a safer, smarter place.

For much more on the dangers of home birth visit Hurt by Home birth and the Skeptical OB

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44 comments on “Guggie, You Make Me Gaggie.

  1. KM
    9 July, 2012

    Thanks for a great post. Guggie is dangerous. Too many people take her scary, offensive, and harmful advice too seriously and it’s disturbing how many of her posts end up going viral.

    • Autismum
      9 July, 2012

      I can’t speak for Vaximom but I get offended by the constant religious references. I’m sure I would be more offended still if I was religious myself.

      • KoryO
        9 July, 2012

        I consider myself sorta religious, and you’re right, Autismum. She offends the living hell out of me with her “theology”.

  2. darwynnia
    9 July, 2012

    Quite simply, she’s a blithering idiot.

    She’s immature, irresponsible and completely ignorant of evidence based science or medicine. It’s a dangerous mix when someone develops a “God” complex simply because she popped her kid out at home.

    Big deal.

    Motherhood does not make you omnipotent or educated. It means you’ve passed along your genetics to the next generation.

    It doesn’t make you qualified to lecture others or advise others about vaccinations. It doesn’t make you qualified to lecture and belittle others for their birth choices or whether or not their child has a foreskin.

  3. Snoozie
    9 July, 2012

    Almost everything Guggie says is offensive. She promotes lies and misinformation and does so with an air of superiority.

    And what is this new victimhood she has found? She’s upset that I vaccinate my children or had a c-section? She lives in a fantasy world where unicorns piss is collected by fairies and delivered to us on pixie dust to cure all that ails us.

    Vaximom, I love you! Thank you for this great post!

  4. melissa moore
    9 July, 2012

    My son was born by c-section (after trying and failing to get him out the natural way for 20 hours), I didn’t breastfeed him (INCREDIBLY sore breasts – don’t ask), and he never missed a shot. Guess I’ve hit the damnation trifecta, haven’t I? Here in Australia, we call women like Gaggie ‘Mummy Judgers.’ I’ve even had people like her try to tell me my boy has Aspergers Syndrome because I chose to vaccinate him. I’m a blogger, but I blog about dating past thirty, not about parenting. Want to know why? Because I’m NOT an authority on it, and would never dream of telling any parent that my way is the best way, because there IS no best way – every mum, and every kid, is different.

    • Autismum
      9 July, 2012

      Absolutely. I’ve been told many times that my son’s autism is my fault for vaccinating. I always ask people who say that if their mothers made them ignorant.

  5. Kate
    9 July, 2012

    Thank you for writing this post! Guggie is offensive in so many ways. Her smugness makes me want to vomit. Guess what, chick? I think all babies are special, no matter how they are birthed.

  6. Heart mom
    9 July, 2012

    “And thanks a lot, really, for passing on a cycle of shame, terror, impaired intrapersonal and interpersonal development, narcissism and the general inability to empathize, to accurately assess emotions or to resolve conflict in a relationship with your punitive parenting.”

    I think this is my favorite part. Really?!?! REALLY, Gaggie!? I will have you know my hospital born (with a CNM) breastfed, co sleeping fully vaxed (except my son, he will be soon for medical reasons) kids are quite awesome! And in fact my 4 and a half year old is reading at a 1st grade level and my 3 year old is on her way there. My 8 month old is also doing quite awesome and no, they have no shame or terror or impaired skills. Love how she just generalizes the worst possible scenario to anyone who doesn’t conform to her ideals.

  7. AniMommy
    9 July, 2012

    Great post!!

  8. PediatricRN
    9 July, 2012

    I was first introduced to Guggie with her car seat advocacy which I admired and shared with friends and family. Within time I was exposed to her pseudoscience and aversion to modern medicine and I could no longer promote her blog in fear that I would be spreading misinformation. The scariest post of hers included a statement on tetanus claiming that it is “difficult to contract and easy to cure. No vaccine required.” When someone is shouting to the public that tentauns is difficult to contract and the vaccine isn’t worth it, they have an agenda they’re trying to sell. The fact is that without treatment, one out of four infected people die and the death rate for newborns with untreated tetanus is even higher. A child may not always confide in their parents about every cut and bruise, and the time between infection and the first sign of symptoms is typically 7 to 21 days meaning a child may not even remember getting a source of infection. With an immunization, one doesn’t have to run to the ER to receive an IVIG to treat a possible tentanus infection because the body is protected.
    Blogs like Guggies are dangerous and she needs to stop the promotion of misinformation and conspiracy.

    • Heart mom
      9 July, 2012

      Very true Pediatric RN. It’s so sad when someone does have a few good ideas but the majority of their ideas are bad and that outweighs any possible good they could do .And speaking of tetanus, I cut my hand on our disgusting metal plug for our sink today. At first, I asked my husband “Oh crap, it’s metal and really gross, should I go to the Urgent care and get a tetanus shot?” But, then I remembered, I just got a Tdap 3 months ago. So, I should be safe from tetanus. And I had read the same statistic, 1 in 4 people die from tetanus. That doesn’t seem like it’s easy to cure. Gaggie really needs to do some ACTUAL research. And not from natural news or whale.to or the refusers. Some place legitimate like the CDC, or NIH or WHO.

      • Darwy
        9 July, 2012

        The trouble is, she’s dug in so deep in the conspiracy barrel that it’s nigh to impossible for her to get herself out – because ‘Big Pharma’ has bought out the CDC, NIH, WHO, SSI and any ‘governmental’ source of information.

  9. Heart mom
    9 July, 2012

    The government bought out SSI too? Aw man! But seriously, I do NOT get how that theory goes. I mean, when I go in or take my kids in for a sick visit, we have to pay a copay. Well visits or vaccine visits, we pay nothing. So, gaggie, tell me how big pharma is making all this money off of vaccines? And no, my pediatrician does NOT want my kids to be sick. Quite the contrary, I credit him with having the foresight to send us to the ER where the dr’s and nurses there saved my son’s life. Heck, if big pharma is making money off of anyone, it’s him. And guess what? He WAS on 16 meds when he came home and is now only on 7 and possibly will be losing another one soon. So, tell me again how big pharma wants to keep him sick and how the dr’s want him sick. If that was true, I’d think they’d want to keep him ON the meds, nit take him off more and more. The conspiracy theories are out of this world. I always think of how much effort it has to take to wake up and keep up with these conspiracy theories evrry single day. It must be exhausting!

  10. Alet
    9 July, 2012

    And she replies, her sanctimonious answers can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/ModestMoms/posts/444870845543466. I’m sure there are more to come.

    • Autismum
      10 July, 2012

      That thread has now disappeared. Just for the record (because these were the implications) I breastfed my son. I do not think spanking children is acceptable, I was not spanked as a child and nor was I vaccinated as an infant. I’ve heard many a tale of how my mother heroically nursed me and my sister through whooping cough because she was as credulous as Guggie and credulous enough to believe the Guggie’s of her day that the vaccine could cause brain damage. I remember the darkened room misery of measles, the swollen glands of mumps and have a scar or two from chicken pox. Circumcision is not routine here and I am not of a faith that recommends it.

      Of course, I cannot speak for Vaximom but coming from where I’m coming from, I totally agree with each and every one of her sentiments.

  11. Samm
    9 July, 2012

    Gaggie it at it on my FB page Modest Moms, help shutting her up would be appreciated!!!!

  12. Allison
    9 July, 2012

    Bra.Vo. Rarely have I seen such self-congratulatory, self-masturbatory smug arrogance as Guggie, and when you combine the smug with the lack of insight, the lack of accurate information, the Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt, and the “I’m better than you are you ignorant backwards mothers who actually use medicine rather than make stuff up,” you get something dangerous.

    Parenting is hard enough without this judging of others for their decisions.

  13. Caroline
    9 July, 2012

    As a geneticist, I take extreme offense at Gaggie’s misuse of the term “epigenetic”. Woeful. Especially when wikipedia has a perfectly adequate explanation for the layperson. I think Gaggie is just using “scientific words” to promote her supposed “expertise”.

  14. Jess
    9 July, 2012

    She has such a huge cult following. It blows my mind. I guess it’s so much easier to blindly believe pseudoscience and demagoguery than it is to take the time to educate yourself thoroughly and form your opinions based on your own research, rather than your own emotional reactions.

    The Feminist Breeder is like Gaggie to me — she uses a lot of ALL CAPS and emotional manipulation to get her arguments across rather than supporting any of her points with science. And the cycle continues — people believe these arguments because they don’t have to think about them too analytically; they can just rely on their immediate emotional reaction instead.

    I find too that extreme homebirth/anti-vax/etc. advocates use a lot of mommy-shaming and guilt, because they know that mothers are so vulnerable to that.

  15. lilady
    9 July, 2012

    Possibly the dumbest blog I ever read. Guggie/Gaggie is so wrapped up in her own self importance and her own spectacular (lack of) knowledge about science, that feeds her boundless ego. Time to take her down for her pseudoscience and her biased blogging.

    Thanks for blogging about her…she needs to be revealed as the simpleton she is.

    • Autismum
      9 July, 2012

      Vaximom has done a fine job in my opinion.

  16. ElisaM
    9 July, 2012

    She may be wrong about a lot of things, but she is a real person too, and we need to remember that. This is just judging on top of judging. Oh and I do vaccinate, I am not one of her “minions”, I just don’t see this post as being constructive any more than hers are.

    • Autismum
      9 July, 2012

      I think she’s right about some things too. I agree with her that smacking a child is wrong and agree with her that breast is best. What the post is doing is providing a counter opinion to Guggie’s. If you want to call that judgmental, fine, parts of it are but her nonsense and judging huge swathes of women while not even trying to understand why they may make choice’s different to Guggie’s has gone unchallenged for too long.

    • Allison
      10 July, 2012

      I disagree. When someone passes on dangerous misinformation and judgmental attitude as fact in order to guilt people into doing things that might not be in their best interests, it behooves the readers of that misinformation and attitude to call both out.

      Guggie passes off her mythologizing as scientific fact. She advertises her blog as “evidence-based,” when then only evidence she uses is her own twisted preconceived notions. She rejects scientific evidence and substitutes Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt, in an attempt to emotionally manipulate her readers.

      I can and will judge someone for that.

  17. lilady
    9 July, 2012

    @ ElisaM. I’m not about to give her a *pass* …not when she links to her Facebook page on her blog…

    http://www.facebook.com/standagainstvax

    and this…

    http://www.facebook.com/insidevaccines

    So what…if she got a few things *right*….when she displays unbridled hubris with her spectacular ignorance of science?

  18. Vaximom
    10 July, 2012

    See, Guggie believes she has taken the high road here. She has stated:
    “Aw, don’t go get anyone! ♥ ♥ They have a long, hard path, no need to make it harder.”
    The thing is, perhaps taking the high road involves NOT marginalising mothers in the first place? She preaches love and acceptance and understanding…but only if you subscribe to her fanatical views. She has no problem posting an inflammatory article about how we are all damaging her kids with our heinous vaccinations and formula feeding…but when someone steps up to call her out, she uses the defense mechanism of “being the bigger person.”
    Well, I call BS on that!
    Her minions use the Psych 101 response: the party line, if you will…to gaslight anyone who dares confront Guggie…implying that anyone who has an issue with Guggie only *has* that issue because they are uncomfortable with their choices. That they are projecting their own guilt. It’s no more than a strategy, and a tool to deflect from Guggie actually having to accept responsibility for being offensive. It also smacks of the inabiltity to think any deeper than what Guggie tells you to think.
    One particularly vehement commenter says: “If I was a circ’ing, ff, spanking, pro-vax mom who read what Guggie wrote, the only way I would have gotten all butthurt is if she made me question my circ’ing, ff, spanking, pro-vax ways. So that’s what is REALLY going on here.”
    Uh, no. There are serious flaws with this remark. Firstly, the assumption that if you subscribe to one aspect of attachment parenting, you must subscribe to all of them. Had a c-section? You must make your baby cry it out! With a bottle of formula! After the circumcision! For the record, I’ve had a c-section and a VBAC. I dont spank, ever. I vaccinate. I breastfeed into toddlerhood. I’m not a fan of circumcision, but I am happy to leave that particular decision to individual parents (read: IT’S NONE OF MY DAMN BUSINESS WHAT YOU DO WITH YOUR SON’S FORESKIN!)

    In Guggie’s world, it’s all or nothing. I dont like it. So I said something. Not because I have some deep seated guilt for my parenting choices. Not because I’m a lesbian stalker (another awesome claim!). But because I have a responsibility to my mother comrades and their babies to plug up Guggie’s verbal diarreah.

    Guggie, how about putting a mirror next to your bed before going to sleep at night? So you can wake up to yourself.

    • Autismum
      10 July, 2012

      Amen and thank you from this elective c-section, breast feeding, non spanking (or spanked), pro-vax mammy.

    • Darwy
      10 July, 2012

      I’m sorry, but I find Guggie and her minions pathetic.

      • Autismum
        10 July, 2012

        No need to apologise ;)

  19. Kris
    10 July, 2012

    I hate the debate between these lifestyles. Make your decisions on what you feel is best for your children. Don’t mock or criticize people for their choices. There’s so many out there on both sides where it’s their way, or you’re an idiot. I have decided to stop vaccinating and am still breastfeeding my toddler. But that doesn’t mean I snub those with opposite decisions. I just wish people were grown up enough to respect the choices others make for their families. I don’t think my child is better then a vaccinated formula-fed baby. The only people that irritate me are those that have a planned baby and as soon as the baby is here, they just throw the baby off on friends and family. You wanted a baby, so grow up and take care of it instead of winning about how you couldn’t read your book because they wanted mom. Done with that rant haha.

    • Autismum
      11 July, 2012

      Thanks for your comment. Sorry it took so long to approve I can’t figure out why but it went to spam.

  20. SGH
    11 July, 2012

    Sorry but this isn’t a ‘debate’ between lifestyles. As Autismum pointed out a lot of mums who are pro-vaccine, pro-medical intervention in labour, supportive of feeding choices, etc, ALSO breastfeed, use slings, do baby-led weaning etc – I am one of them. Characterising this as a lifestyle ideology – the crunchies versus the straights if you like – is wrong. What we are seeking to do as parents is, wherever we have the ability, make evidence based decisions. And to ensure that parents get the right information – not poisonous and biased propoganda that pits one type of mum against another.

    Parenting is not a lifestyle. Children are not their parents belongings or ‘lifestyle’ accessories. Parents who make choices based on misinformation may risk their own children’s well-being and that of the community. Spreading misinformation and propaganda about vaccines, birth methods etc and claiming it as ‘evidence-based’ is dangerous. To say this is just a ‘choice’ (a lovely consumerist word there) is disingenuous. I would consider someone who doesn’t vaccinate for non-medical reasons in the same light as someone who puts their kid in a car without the right car seat.

    • Autismum
      11 July, 2012

      Great analogy. Thank you for your comment. As much as antivaxers derride a “one size first all” vaccine schedule, some are happy to promote dogmatic parenting. What suitable one child may not suit another even within the same family yet we mothers are beingt told we must choose a “style ” and not deviate from it. Ludicrous!

    • informedvaxer
      12 July, 2012

      I agree. Altho I am pro home birth for low risk women and had one with my second, love midwives. But I am fairly crunchy in all other things, except vaccines, and do not like guggie and her sanctimonious, pompous, idiotically naive attitude. Great post!

    • SGH
      17 July, 2012

      Thanks for acknowledging Austimum. Please keep up the good work – it would be good to see a take-down of some of the ‘natural’ parenting sites, organisations and media in the UK. I know that the hardcore crunchies (antivaccine, CAM-using, radical freebirth advocacy) are a minority but their strong share of voice online and in parenting magazines / antenatal classes really poisons the well and sews doubt in new parents’ minds. By positioning parenting as a ‘style’ and the natural way as the ideal (versus the ‘toxic’ child-rearing of modern times), any deviation is seen as falling short or less than ideal.

  21. CanadianNurse
    14 July, 2012

    Martine:

    Miss you guys! How’s it going? Email me at ************

    Meagan Cran

    • Autismum
      14 July, 2012

      We miss you too xx

    • Snoozie
      14 July, 2012

      I miss you three!

    • Autismum
      14 July, 2012

      I’ve redacted your email address and posted it in a group, meagan xx

  22. Pingback: One « Autismum

  23. Pingback: Guggie and her Gaggle « Autismum

  24. Pingback: Vaximom « Autismum

  25. Pingback: “You can’t possibly know…” « Autismum

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This entry was posted on 9 July, 2012 by in Autism.

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