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Academic wanting to find out about distressing experiences with doctors etc post birth

(11 Posts)
breaktime73 Thu 25-Aug-11 21:29:52

I am writing an academic book about the various forms of discipline which are exercised over mothers. My publisher has suggested that for the last chapter I focus on the often rather scary and distressing impact of medical advice and admonitions on women, particularly new mums.

I would be looking particularly for accounts (as long or short as liked) about encounters with doctors, medical professionals (e.g. health visitors) who caused worry about baby weight, feeding issues, breastfeeding, refusal of vaccinations, etc. etc. Also any words from mothers of older children or babies who have ended up entangled with social services etc over issues of the child's wellbeing.

The aim isn't to slag off the medical professions at all (I'll be including a massive caveat on that point as I know how hard a lot of these professionals work) but to demonstrate the very strong impact of medical authority on a lot of mothers and how it can feel akin to being disciplined and cause a lot of fear- particularly when rather vague indicators of wellbeing such as weight, feeding issues and vaccinations etc are the reasons for intervention and warnings.

Any information given to me would be used entirely in confidence and anonymously. The only payment I could offer would be a free copy when it's finally finished!!

Is it ok for me to ask for this without making a Media Request? As it's not a money-making enterprise I can assure you ;) and where would you advise I put the enquiry (under what topic??)

RedWelly Fri 26-Aug-11 15:11:10

I'd be happy to help - anything to improve stuff for new mums!

Sillybones Fri 26-Aug-11 15:20:41

Happy to help as well, just PM me. Worked in obs/gynae for a while too so can look at it from that perspective of 'knowing' stuff and also questioning whether I knew anything at all when it was my turn!

breaktime73 Fri 26-Aug-11 16:02:50

many thanks both. I will email.

breaktime73 Sun 28-Aug-11 18:56:46

bumping this in case there's any further interest. I'm now assured it doesn't need to be a media request.

greencolorpack Sun 28-Aug-11 19:04:25

When ds was born, I was breastfeeding in the night and worried about the vent thing in my hand getting knocked sideways. I put ds down in the middle of my hospital bed and was sitting next to him in the chair, and rang the alarm bell and the midwife came in and said "It's not safe to leave baby on the bed like that, I don't want to be calling Social Services about you."

I couldn't believe she said it, it was horrific, like this woman was threatening to have my baby removed cos I was such a bad mother. Anyway newborn babies can't roll over can they? And I was right there.

Health visitors made me watch a video about the evils of sugar, pictures of babies with teeth like rotting stumps, etc. So I religiously avoided buying my ds any cereal with any sugar content at all. Following week or so, got a row at his weighing appointment because I was not feeding him cereal. I said, all the cereal packets have sugar in them, and the health visitor mocked my ignorance and said "A small amount of sugar is okay."

On another occasion after horrific warnings about babies dying of salt intake, I asked a midwife how much salt is too much, (following the sugar debacle, I was trying to figure out what was acceptable.) She wouldn't answer me, just demanded to know if I had been feeding my ds salt. There was an atmosphere of giving dire, enormously over the top warnings followed by paranoia and an assumption you were feeding them bags of salt every day. I was just a new mum without much family help around and didn't know any better.

breaktime73 Sun 28-Aug-11 22:33:50

sadly green your story isn't unique. That's part of the reason I decided to write this chapter- there seems to be a minority of health professionals that are really abusing their position of trust/authority at a very vulnerable time for women.

Did you use the complaints procedure etc? (feel free to pm me any further details if you prefer)

greencolorpack Mon 29-Aug-11 11:32:12

I didn't do anything about it. The staff on the night shift were scary, the staff on the day shift were very warm, friendly women who said all the right things and I had a laugh with them and tried not to dwell on the bad stuff.

I wish the warnings given to mums about sugar/salt by health visitors were given with a bit more moderation and common sense. People need to have spelt out what "too much" actually means in practice.

timetoask Mon 29-Aug-11 11:42:46

Ds1 has special needs which I suspected from 4 months but only confirmed ar 12 months after having to go to my home country, in england I was told to wait and see, makes my blood boil just thinking about it now. He is 6 yes now.

However two specific things: when I was not producing enough breast milk and really wanted to continue with it, the health visitor told me "you need calories you have to eat something yummy everyday, do to the coffee shops", by the way already overweight. In my desperation I took her advice, put on do much weight which took me ages to loose. What stupid advice, you don't need to eat cake to get calories, you can get calories from healthy foods as well.

Another: when I told health visitor that I was concerned about ds at 7 months, she said "dont worry, the quiet ones are the ones the do better in school" I am angry just thinking about it

timetoask Mon 29-Aug-11 11:43:41

Sorry for all the typos! Hate using this iPad

breaktime73 Tue 30-Aug-11 21:01:47

hiya both. Anything you want to expand on or add to please PM or email me at servalan73 at gmail dot com. Many thanks.

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