To think censorship of birth stories should not be allowed?

(287 Posts)

MNHQ have commented on this thread.

NunntheWiser Wed 22-Mar-17 09:00:09

I love Standard Issue magazine, I really do. Earlier this week, Milli Hill was published in the Telegraph extolling the virtues of a natural birth and "imaginary pain" guff guff guff. All well and good.

The excellently sweary Cath Janes wrote an opinion piece about this - about how her own experiences of birth were very, very different to this, and whilst it's not right to scare women, it's unfair to expect them not to be honest about their birth experience.

Hill complained about this opinion piece and has forced Standard Issue to withdraw Janes' article, against the author's wishes. Now, I don't know if the fault lies with Standard Issue for not backing up their author, or if it's Hill threatening some legal recourse to the magazine but since when do women's opinions get censored?

In the meantime, Janes' sweary article can only be found using Google Cache:

OP’s posts: |
Trifleorbust Wed 22-Mar-17 09:09:42

'What a festering crock of meconium' - she puts it better than I would grin

Birth hurts. Bollocks to pretending it doesn't.

IamFriedSpam Wed 22-Mar-17 09:11:24

I don't understand on what grounds Milli Hill demanded the article be removed.

Heybebe Wed 22-Mar-17 09:21:14

It's a good article and I agree with Cath James. You can't pretend it doesn't hurt. I felt like an utter failure after my birth because I believed the 'think positive' nonsense.

wrapsuperstar Wed 22-Mar-17 09:26:07

I also don't understand why Hill had any leverage in removing this? Really odd.

Article is good. I'm a big believer in championing what women's bodies are capable of. I'm a total advocate for better maternity care at every step of the way. However, I also fully believe that the reality of childbirth can be a total fucking mess no matter how positive you are, or even if you are very well supported. I had a lovely birth partner with my first, went in well-read on natural birthing methods (thanks Ina Garten) and ready to trust my body to do what it was capable of. Only my DD was brow presenting AND it turns out I have an iffy-shaped pelvis so she never could have come out naturally and 'easily'. Instead we ended up with an emergency section, massive obstetric hemorrhage and plenty of birth trauma. No amount of positive thinking could have prepared me for that, and in fact all the doctrine I had internalised about how women's bodies can do ANYTHING left me feeling like a shellshocked failure for a long time.

ElisavetaFartsonira Wed 22-Mar-17 09:28:10

Milli Hill has form for being awful, so I'm not surprised.

ElBandito Wed 22-Mar-17 09:39:52

I agree with the Milli Hill article in part, once she gets into the second half

Many women ‘suffer’ in childbirth, and it’s because they’re not respected, or kindly treated, they don’t have the tools to cope, or they feel unloved, or alone. If a woman crosses the line from ‘pain’ into ‘suffering’ in childbirth, we’ve failed her.

I've seen plenty of women's stories on here where this is definitely the case.

But I don't like the idea that giving birth is one size fits all and everyone should be able to get through it with a little bit of puffing and a cheery smile. Milli didn't have complications, others do, and not just because they don't have a positive attitude.

Mind you I had to have an elective caesarean so I failed before I even started grin!


MoChan Wed 22-Mar-17 09:50:07

I think it's ridiculous that they have taken that article down.

corythatwas Wed 22-Mar-17 09:55:58

"Many women ‘suffer’ in childbirth, and it’s because they’re not respected, or kindly treated, they don’t have the tools to cope, or they feel unloved, or alone. If a woman crosses the line from ‘pain’ into ‘suffering’ in childbirth, we’ve failed her."

This may be true in many cases, but I don't like the way she is presenting it as a universal truth. Sometimes shit happens very quickly and I seems unfair to tell everybody around her who are trying to help that they have failed her.

Someone I once met had xompletely unforeseen eclamptic fits on the delivery table. The team who were looking after her did a brilliant job and both she and baby survived (and she went on to have more). But of course she bloody suffered!

Again, I think we had a MNer whose baby died from unforeseen complications during a homebirth which she had chosen and planned. Can't imagine any more horrible suffering than that- but how was it was anybody's fault?

Or wrapsuperstar's experience: would you say it was her dh or the midviwes who were responsible for the shape of her pelvis?

What Milli seems to be saying is "women can do everything- but when they can't it's somebody else's fault".

Lostwithinthehills Wed 22-Mar-17 10:01:51

and whilst it's not right to scare women, it's unfair to expect them not to be honest about their birth experience.

I agree with this. I planned to have a straight forward birth with the minimum intervention but lots of things conspired against me and I had to have a great deal of intervention. I happened to take it on the chin (not because I'm amazing but it's just how I was) but plenty of women would have been left feeling a failure (not a criticism) in similar circumstances. It is not fair to expectant or new mothers to teach them they can just breathe and smile through child birth.

Trifleorbust Wed 22-Mar-17 10:02:38

I 'suffered' during childbirth. I wanted a natural birth with minimal pain relief intervention (because it was important to me to be able to move round and go home quickly). As a result I suffered. But my care was outstanding. No-one failed me.

What the fuck is this imaginary distinction between 'pain' and 'suffering' anyway!? Is she trying to say it's not that big a deal? Tell that to my fanny.

lifeisazebracrossing Wed 22-Mar-17 10:04:30

I had dreams of a Hypnobirthing-esque positive birth but also kept an open mind, having heard all manner of stories over the years.

I had a 48-hour painful early labour before active labour (17hrs) began as my DD was back to back. I was exhausted by the time I began active labour so swiftly ordered my epidural (despite being dead against it) and it was heaven. I pushed really hard and felt no pain. Recovery was fine. I'd highly recommend it! Or have a natural birth if all is well. Who cares what other people do to cope? It's like comparing parenting. Get through both however you see fit.

MrsTwix Wed 22-Mar-17 10:12:21

I hate all the crap about natural birth as if anyone that goes to hospital or has pain meds is somehow not good enough. Yes, in the good old days everyone gave birth at home without making a fuss. The death rate for mothers and babies was much higher, but that's natural.

I would either be dead or very severely disabled if I had been a home birth. Lucky for me my mum was at the hospital and they got me out quick with an emergency c section. I had the cord round my neck. Not particularly unusual.

keeponkeeponkeepon Wed 22-Mar-17 10:24:04

After I had given birth once (a bit traumatically)and a friend had a sudden crash section I had a chat with her. She was oh with no2 and telling me about her hypnobirthing...and how "there was no physiological or anatomical reason for birth to hurt, we were just conditioned to think it would so created our own pain"

I stood there open mouthed whilst she waxed lyrical. And then tactlessly told her what a huge crock of irresponsible shit that was.

She didn't believe me.
After the birth I asked how it was. Her first words were "it really hurt"

keeponkeeponkeepon Wed 22-Mar-17 10:25:55

My second birth was fast and dramatic and really bloody hurt. But I really enjoyed it.
How weird is that?

PatMullins Wed 22-Mar-17 10:30:58

I'm with you on Cath's fb thread.

It's utterly ridiculous.

FittonTower Wed 22-Mar-17 10:33:11

My first labour ended in EMCS after it turned out my baby was breech - I was pretty positive about birth after a healthy and straightforward pregnancy but I'm not sure I could positive-think her the right way up.
Still, I went into my 2nd birth pretty hopeful for a calm and lovely vbac. I practised my breathing and planned to embrace the pain and all that bollocks. After a fast a furious labour he got well and truly stuck - nearly killed us both getting him out via another, much more bloody, section. Then I got sepsis and spent the first few weeks of my baby's life unconcious and fighting for my life.
It's awesome when a woman gets a lovely "natural" birth, but placing it as something to aspire too doesn't help anyone. People like me don't have drugs and surgery for shits and giggles, it saves our lives. I struggled with ptsd after my second child and I found the guilt of "failing" to have my lovely "natural" birth hard.
It's stupid. No one would write newspaper articles about how we should all aim to keep our appendix naturally and make people who need drugs and surgery feel like they ought to "breath through the pain of appendicitis". Obviously planning to have appendicitis isn't ideal but it happens and modern medicine saves your life if it does. Just like it did mine.
And Standard Issue are a small and wonderful magazine - they're gonna pull articles if they might get sued out of existence by some one unfortunately

corythatwas Wed 22-Mar-17 10:40:37

I have had a somewhat similar experience re breast-feeding: every time I mention dd's failure to thrive and subsequent hospitalisation, somebody is bound to pipe up with "oh if you had only had better support/oh if breastfeeding was only more normalised, it would have been totally different for you". I had every reason to believe I would be able to make a go of this:

*I come from the country with the highest breastfeeding rates in the world!

*Everybody I knew breastfed.

*I attended one of the most breast-feeding friendly hospitals in the country.

*As I was also in for ante-natal complications, I had multiple extra opportunities to access breastfeeding preparation- and I made the most of those.

*I went to an ante-natal group that was very supportive and positive about breast-feeding.

*When dd was born, I had a nurse sit by my bedside at every feed to help me latch on and get her to suckle.

*Dh loved the idea of my breast-feeding and did everything in his power to support it.

*Parents and ILs all supportive.

*When things started going pear-shaped, I had support from a specially trained breast-feeding counsellor, courtesy of the NHS.

And this is what women's bodies are supposed to be able to do, right?

Things went wrong because despite everybody being totally committed and supportive, dd was born with a hidden disability. Her body did not do what it was supposed to! Some bodies don't. (hers still doesn't always)

When people whaffle on about Nature and what Bodies Know, I always wonder if they've ever watched a wildlife programme in their lives. Nature is a bloody harsh place! Giraffes get stuck in the birth canal, little gorillas die from failure to thrive, lions suddenly turn on their cubs and eat them.

AliceByTheMoon Wed 22-Mar-17 10:42:42

I remember saying to my midwife after birth that the whole experience was pretty fucking awful and 'why does no one tell you that?' Her reply was 'If we did, no-one would actually go ahead and do it'.

ollieplimsoles Wed 22-Mar-17 10:44:01

I happened to take it on the chin (not because I'm amazing but it's just how I was)

No it was because you're amazing. We all are. Birth is absolutely not one size fits all. We have medical interventions for a reason, no one is 'better' for refusing pain relief, or avoiding a c section (as much as some huns think they are, ive seen it first hand).

I wanted a home birth, but ended up in hospital because dd was late, was induced and told i might end up on the dreaded drip and a 'cascade of interventions' might follow. This was despite me practising hypnobirthing every day since 20 weeks pregnant, using pregnancy yoga to supposedly position my baby well and all the rest of it.

I made peace with it, was excited to meet my baby and just went with the flow. It turns out I had a good birth, didn't suffer at all. Was I lucky? Yes. Was I amazing? Yes. Could it have gone very very differently? Yes. And would I still be amazing? Yes.

All women should be congratulated and feel proud if themselves after delivering a baby.

Foureyesarebetterthantwo Wed 22-Mar-17 10:46:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Foureyesarebetterthantwo Wed 22-Mar-17 10:48:30

I also don't like the idea of comments being censored on this book.

corythatwas Wed 22-Mar-17 10:53:59

Good article on gaslighting here:

SparkleTwinkleGoldGlitter Wed 22-Mar-17 11:12:12

I had my first baby last year and I was anxious prior to birth and I don't think a few friends with "scare" stories helped or articles telling me women "suffer" and aren't respected really helped with that. I still do not know what processes someone or tell a pregnant women there scare birth story, I'm not an idiot I know births don't always go well but I don't need in depth scare chats with people.

due to a few problems with dd and my blood pressure and me being classed as "older" (at 39) I had to be induced early and they did agree to let me try and have a vaginal birth and to me the contractions were nowhere near as bad as I had been lead to believe they would be by people. Yes they hurt but I didn't find them utterly unbearable. As it was I ended up with an emergency csection after about 6 hours due to complications. The doctor told me I'd had a guardian angel watching over me that day. Was my birth easy No, but I suffer absouletly not, was I respected and listened too absouletly yes

ThreeShiningStars Wed 22-Mar-17 11:13:06

Completely agree. I've recently given birth to my second, a 10lb baby who arrived within 5 minutes of my waters breaking at the start of active labour, after a relatively sedate and short first stage.

* My fast labour was bugger all to do with positive thinking and everything to do with luck of the draw
* Yes it still fucking hurt
* Yes I tore badly
* Yes my labour may have been classed as 'easy' (as lots of people keep telling me) with little medical intervention but I had a pretty nasty hemorrhage, lost a lot of blood after labour, and post birth lots of medical intervention that beat me up pretty badly.

The birth experience, in my opinion, doesn't end the second the baby is removed from your body. The aftermath of natural birth can fuck you up too.

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