Terrible Mom-Related Terminology That Needs to Die NOW
what man came up with “incompetent cervix”?
by: elyse o’dwyer
There are terms associated with motherhood that feel like a prank. Sometimes they’re outdated or they’re the product of medical science without any regard for the negative connotations. Like most unpleasant attitudes toward motherhood, we settle for the bombardment of unsavory phrases because there’s no alternative. That is, until now!
Another effort to make moms feel bad about themselves in case social media, advertising and judgmental family members and strangers alike haven’t done so enough. It’s a medical term referring to a cervix that has trouble carrying a pregnancy to term, so logically medicine is moving towards the term “cervical weakness” which is better (I GUESS) but still sucks. I would also suggest anyone dealing with this issue simply be referred to as “in need of kindness and care.”
Vernix is the substance covering a baby when born. It’s derived from the Latin words for varnish and cheesy, and somehow the result is even grosser sounding. Vernix seems to do a lot of good, such as temperature regulation, anti-infective and moisturizing properties, but the name could use some work. My suggestions: baby protectant, baby force field or baby body wrap.
Failure to Thrive
Hearing your baby isn’t in perfect health is an extremely stressful reality for many mothers—and that’s without some doctor throwing around the word failure. The term describes an infant losing weight or not exhibiting a healthy amount of weight gain. It’s unclear where the term originates, but my guess is a new mom didn’t come up with it. Maybe referring to these babies as “underweight” was too obvious for medical science, but I think it offers the same information without inflicting moms with blame.
Baby blues is a cute way to refer to the hormone drop, lack of sleep and overwhelming stress levels associated with new motherhood that can sometimes lead to depression. The term first appeared in the Nicholas J. Eastman book Expectant Motherhood published in 1940, and it would seem attitudes toward depressed post-partum mothers haven’t evolved much since then. The term baby blues works to minimize the difficulty new moms might experience adjusting to their new normal. I think if we’re doing an update, let’s use “baby blues” for baby’s eyes only and call postpartum struggle what it really is: depression. I would also accept postpartum warriors.
 Gurcharan Singh and G Archana (2008) Unraveling the Mystery of Vernix Caseosa. Retrieved from The Indian Journal of Dermatology: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2763724/
When Cluster Feeding Newborns Suck Your Will to Live, Here Are 8 Things You Can Do remember: you are still human by: elyse o'dwyer When I had my baby, nothing could have prepared me for the nightmare imprisonment of a non-stop eater attached to my boob, only...
Need a Frikkin’ Break? How to Entertain Your Baby With Non-Activity Activities sit back and relaaaax by: kelsey cadger It was 9 a.m. My daughter and I just hit our sixth nursing session since midnight. I put my stage-five clinger on her activity mat and sat down with...
Online shopping is imperfect (have you ever tried buying pants on Asos.com???). But imagine buying baby items—before you’ve ever had contact with a newborn, before you’ve met your actual baby, before having any idea what daily life with a tiny human is really like....
Sign up for our Newsletter
Support, solidarity and self-care for new mamas. If that’s you, get on the list!
Feel Like Losing Weight? Know This About These 9 Trendy Health Foods it's all about balance, people by: team Food needs to feed your soul as much as it feeds your stomach. If that weren’t true, we’d all be eating raw vegetables and lentils all day and glowing like...
11 Not-As-Obvious Skin Habits That Are Bad for Your Complexion if pretty skin is your goal, read this by: team Unless you have been living under a rock, you know that smoking, not wearing sunscreen and going to bed with your makeup on hardly produces the coveted look...
Fussy Baby? Here Are All the Possible Things That Could Be Happening it's not always teething, grandma by: ggm team Whenever your baby is fed, changed, warm, rested and doesn’t have hair wrapped around her finger, it can be confusing (if not frightening) when she...