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1001 Days Project about Pregnancy and Childhood(14 Posts)
I am researching the opinions of mothers (and others, too) about the process of nurturing children from conception to the age of two.
There is a project called 1001 Days which was started by the Government to highlight the need to respect the childbirth and child rearing process, including the desire for more natural births with more power for women and less medicalisation.
Many of the people involved in the project think that women should not be afraid of the process but embrace it and should be given more support as the child's first 1001 days of life are so formative.
What do mums think about how they are treated from the minute they tell people they are pregnant until their child reaches two?
Have you been patronised, felt unsupported, afraid? Or did you manage to sail through and feel you were doing the right things all along?
Any opinions are valid so please feel free to voice any thoughts on this matter.
From the moment I got pregnant there has been a constant (and unwanted) stream of comments along the lines of
"including the desire for more natural births with more power for women and less medicalisation".
Even when going through IVF it was highlighted to me that this was not a natural process. No sh*t Sherlock.
Enough. Keep your political ideologies for yourself (and please take your hypnobirthing friends along with you). Ta.
I found the opposite. My labour was referred to as a confinement, I was told I might "have to" do various things, they might "let me" have a home birth. Until I got to see the home birth MW who was fab.
Under consultant care for 2nd pg and it couldn't be more paternalistic. I have a leaflet which talks about all the dangers of natural birth and not being induced but mentions no dangers of epidurals. It says they may decide to have up to a dozen people in the room when I give birth. Apparently I don't get a choice. Oh and in bold writing, "ALL TWINS DELIVERED BY 38 WEEKS" and it's induction or CS if you haven't gone by then naturally. Again, no choice.
I have felt I was treated like an idiot in regards to the true risks to my body during childbirth. I had he 'dream birth'- 12 hours from first niggling contractions to my daughter being born, drug free water birth (not even gas and air, just two paracetamol). All calm and lovely. I have significant injuries to my pelvic floor (most of my pelvic floor was torn off my pelvis during delivery) and it has a significant effect on my life now, and will continue to do so in the future. I've found out from my hospital since that they know full well the risks of this sort of injury is around 30%, to some degree, but they don't tell us in the birth classes because they don't want to scare women. We are read the riot act about the complications of c-sections, but vaginal deliveries are hugely traumatic for a women's body, and the medical profession need to inform women off all of the risks.
Pregnancy was a bit shit, mostly because I was pregnant, but I also had a bad experience with a midwife being very rude, but complained and response from the NHS was great.
Birth was great - midwives were wonderful, doctors were on hand but respectful and not at all pushy. All went well despite a couple of hairy moments.
After the birth, however, I went from being a highly-paid professional to being a stay at home mother and boy did I notice the difference in how I was treated and spoken to. “Mum” isn’t my name and I may not help myself by being worried and upset therefore no doubt confirming all sorts of prejudices, but medical people please don’t treat women like they are idiots. Ignored, patronised, badly advised - the problem my first DC has has necessitated a full scale battle for recognition and decent treatment, won only when I started taking (male) DP to appointments. Disgraceful.
I know quite a few women with DC who have had medical problems and they ALL have the same misogynistic treatment by medical professionals.
I have been in permanent pain for years now following the birth of my child. I have to take pain killers to sleep. There is very little support for getting mums back into health.
I gave birth abroad and the attitudes were massively paternalistic (Middle East, though I know many people who also gave birth in this country and had much better experiences than me) to the point where I was told 'there is no pain!', had an obstetrician roll his eyes at me while he was sat between my legs pulling my baby out of my body, and had nurses try to avoid bringing me formula milk when I asked for it because they were hoping I would breastfeed while I was waiting (I didn't). It was half an hour before I got to hold my perfectly healthy baby, who was whisked off for no reason at all.
However, I think all this 'natural birth' bullshit is just as paternalistic. What do I want from childbirth? I want it to be quick and as painless as possible and for it not to fuck up my body afterwards. Also, I think it's perfectly rational to be afraid of a process that carries such risks. I know there are women out there who embrace childbirth - good for them. I will never do that.
*From the moment I got pregnant there has been a constant (and unwanted) stream of comments along the lines of
"including the desire for more natural births with more power for women and less medicalisation."*
As per the first poster's reply, while I appreciate the sentiment, statements like that do nothing towards supporting women; it's once again the attitude that a mother should sacrifice anything at any cost to her own well being, for the sake of being seen as "natural".
I had an epidural, and it took me from feeling incredibly out of control and at the mercy of those around me to feeling like a human being again - it may not be "natural" but the alternative was certainly not empowering. I'm not saying pain relief free childbirth is not empowering, but I strongly feel that what is empowering is the choice.
Similar to the breastfeeding "Vs" formula feeding debate. Why does it have to be a vs? How does that empower women and support them? It just makes me so sad to see women posting about particularly childbirth and the first year saying things like they feel they have "failed" because they had pain relief, or intervention, or didn't breastfeed.
I think there are 2 main underlying factors for this attitude towards new mothers; one being the politics these days of breastfeeding/natural birth the "pinnacle" that all mothers should aim for - so it has become something to be competitive about, and the other being the extreme lack of balanced mainstream information about both processes. Organisations like the NCT push "natural" child birth at the detriment at any form of pain relief or intervention, when the reality is there is 1) nothing bloody wrong with pain relief! and 2) plenty of situations where intervention free childbirth is not safe.
On the flipside of this, I would love to see women being empowered by honest but positive and above all accurate information, as well as realistic expectations. I feel like a lot of women feel let down with themselves and their birth experiences because they build up in their head the importance of it going a certain way, when really the best option is to absolutely have a plan/expectations but to go in knowing that their are a variety of possible outcomes.
I've worded this so badly as I'm so tired but I hope it makes a little bit of sense.....
Cherry you make perfect sense
I wanted and got a drugfree home birth. This was not because I am driven by some weirdo ideology but because after considering the risks, that felt right and safe to me. It made me feel in control.
My closest friend is a very controlled, rational person and hates labour pain as it makes her feel not herself. She also has a history of difficult births. She wanted an epidural on admission and an elcs if possible.
Neither of us is "right". We are just different. But a commonality we both faced was the difficulty of getting unbiassed information even from doctors and not having our voices heard. She had to"agree" to a trial of vbac she didn't want. I am being pressured to conform to a "high risk care pathway" that I think is unsafe.
That is the problem on ALL sides - paternalism, railroading, misinformation. There is no 'vs' here as the needs of all women are the same: clear impartial information and respect for our eventual choices.
Thank you for all of these comments.
(I am just researching so anyone thinking I have political ideologies or 'hypnobirthing friends' might not have read my initial request for feedback properly?)
The research is for a documentary to go with the 1001 Days cross party manifesto and also part of the Zero2 expo.
Would anybody on this thread be interested in being filmed about their views and/or taking part in the research?
The aim is to have a broad discussion crossing all thoughts and opinions so we can help decision makers make better choices moving forward.
Where is the info about this 1001 days? Can you include a link so people can get involved if they want to?
Personally I think the information women are given about birth and baby rearing is incredibly patronising and reflects intrinsic set ideologies that feed into the information that is given. It does not reflect the actual balance of evidence from the scientific studies available, rarely provides quantitative (risk) information which women actually need to make their choices and also rarely reflects the uncertainties in the evidence base. Rather many policies and pieces of information make sweeping generalisations which are not actually backed up by evidence. I.e., much of the info on breastfeeding says "virtually all women can breastfeed". There is no scientific study from a uk or uk like population that actually shows this. I could hide other examples. We need to be much more honest and not underestimate women's intelligence or be afraid that giving clear facts and expressions of uncertainty will "make women anxious" or lead them to make decisions that public health policy folks don't want us to make. Rant over.
I could SHOW sorry not hide. Auto type on phone
Currently suffering from pnd and pregnant with my second. I'm struggling but have been told that because I'm not suicidal and don't want to harm my baby then my needs aren't severe enough for support
I am just about to drop number 2. My personal view is that there is way too much emphasis on birth and not enough in supporting families through those first few weeks.
I planned to a 'natural' birth, but was strongly advised to have an induction a 40 weeks as I was over 40. I ended up in hospital for 5 days before giving birth, during a heatwave in packed, understaffed ward, with days ticking by and nothing happening as they were too busy to deal with me.
After various pessaries they finally managed to break my waters, and I ended up on the drip. Al was fine until it wasn't. The pain spiralled out of control, I felt really panicky, I was only 4cms dilated and told I had hours to go. I asked for an epidural, but no one available, so got some morphine, it did nothing. People were doing stuff to me left and right and I had no clue what was happening. There were so many medical staff my partner could barely get near me. It was my idea of absolute hell. With a bit of thought before hand I would have known this was a situation to be avoided for me, and I should have had the epi much earlier. As soon as the epidural went in I reverted back to myself and felt back in control. Got some much needed sleep and was woken up a few hours later to start pushing, even had my shit together enough to tell the Dr coming at me with the forceps to fuck off.
The only advice I ever give to other women now is to educate yourself about all the choices, think about yourself and how you tend to react when stressed, and give yourself complete permission to do whatever is right for you in that moment. Think about it like climbing a mountain. You don't decide what to wear 3 months in advance. You go prepared for all eventualities, and respond to the conditions as you find them. As long as you get up and down the mountain safely that is all that matters.
As for breast feeding I am all for supporting choices, but I came across so many women who just thought it was weird and icky and chose formula on this basis. There should be better education and support around bf, buy waaaaaay less judgement.
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