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AIBU thread about birth trauma

(16 Posts)
garlicagain Fri 26-Jul-13 14:36:20

I don't want to weaken the thread's power by starting a shadow copy here, but am aware lots of this board's members steer clear of AIBU. So here it is, with all its shocking revelations from women who've been assaulted by healthcare professionals during labour:

I can't help thinking this is feminism's undiluted 'point'. The one and only thing women do, which men can't; the time when a woman's very strength or essence renders her least capable of self-defence. The only matter that cannot be compared with "what about the menz", still shrouded by a social conspiracy of silence.

Coincidence? I don't think so.

grimbletart Fri 26-Jul-13 14:48:24

Indeed garlic. I saw that thread and because my DCs were born over 40 years ago thought I had nothing relevant to say so didn't...except I will say here, FFS nothing seems to have changed in the last four decades.

Bunnylion Fri 26-Jul-13 20:29:20

I'm almost 9 months pregnant with my first and, as a feminist, the process of preparing for the birth has been quite an eye opener.

I have never been in hospital and always presumed that medical professionals are always acting in your best interest. But the more research I did, the more stories I heard about pregnant women's rights being either totally ignored or the woman being heavily pressured into giving up her rights.

The deep fear so many women have of birth, based on the belief that our bodies are "badly evolved" or "ineffective" or "too weak" is also depressing. It's a cultural issue that has destroyed female confident and empowerment and led to the over medicalisation of birthing and so a higher number of traumatic births occurring.

The biggest reason I'm planning a homebirth is to keep those itchy fingers from trying to interfere with me as I birth my baby.

GoshAnneGorilla Sat 27-Jul-13 01:52:32

Bunnylion - I am familiar with your argument about overmedicalised births undermining women.

However, not every woman wants a natural birth, not every woman wants to go through labour pains. Why shouldn't we be able to use science to make things better for ourselves. No one considers pain during any other biological procedure to be beneficial, no one thinks that dental surgery without anaesthesia is better, so why should giving birth be any different?

I think we need a better response to demeaning maternity care then pushing the natural birth model. Especially bearing in mind that there are some decidedly unfeminist philosophies behind the idea that women should suffer in childbirth.

garlicagain Sat 27-Jul-13 02:07:58

100% agreement from me, Gosh. I'm wary of commenting on the details of birth, Bunnylion, never having done it myself, but I realise that you haven't done it yet either! I wish you a smooth & easy birth smile

garlicagain Sat 27-Jul-13 02:09:56

BTW, Bunny, are you on Some wise & experienced posters there, promoting birth as naturally as would be reasonable for each woman/baby.

skrumle Sat 27-Jul-13 07:18:55

i'm with goshann - while i support the home birth option for women and think it should be freely available that's not the answer for every woman and therefore doesn't deal with women who need or want to give birth in a hospital in order to receive medical support.

i'd love to have been the kind of woman who enjoyed giving birth, who didn't even need gas and air (was chatting to two of them yesterday) but for me it was not a pleasant experience and in both cases required significant medical intervention. i want to know that if i am in a hospital giving birth i will be treated with respect and my wishes followed.

Bunnylion Sat 27-Jul-13 12:31:15

I'm fully aware that it will probably be very painful and that many women do prefer a medicalised birth. I am in no way pushing a natural birth model - it's 100% down to personal choice.

Personally I would prefer to give birth naturally and keep some degree of control of what is happening because medical procedures scare me more than birth. If you read the thread the OP is talking about, many women mention that their waters were broken without their consent and they had examinations with out their consent. Whether you want a natural birth or not, the point is about a birthing woman rights on deciding how she wants to give birth.

I'm certainly not saying that we should all have natural births - it's down to the individual, I'm saying that none of us should have choices taken away from us by medical professionals who don't ask for consent when carrying out a non-emergency procedure.

If they ask you and you're fully informed and you want the procedure then that's just as positive an outcome in my mind.

MurderOfGoths Sat 27-Jul-13 13:34:29

I think that it's sad that there's this idea that you have two choices, and only two, either you go all natural and get to do what is best for you, or you go medicalised and give up all your rights to your own body.

It should be go all natural and retain rights to your body, or go medicalised and still retain rights to your body.

MurderOfGoths Sat 27-Jul-13 13:35:45

Also, here's something I noticed from the other thread, the onus seems to be on the woman to say she doesn't want something, not on the healthcare profession to ask! We shouldn't have to be told we can say no, it should be accepted that HCP's ask in the first place!

garlicagain Sat 27-Jul-13 15:27:14

Dame Lorna Muirhead, former RCM President and current NMC fitness-to-practice panelist, is reported to have said that:

‘If continuous monitoring is right for a woman, then we can’t give her the choice not to have it.’

If this is an accurate reflection of what Dame Muirhead said (and of course, it might not be), it reveals a serious misapprehension about the law on consent.


I'm not even personally affected by any of this, but have already donated to Birth Rights and will be watching for updates. I am very, very angry that a leading professional has said (or implied, if that turns out to be the case) women in labour shouldn't have rights!

skrumle Sat 27-Jul-13 15:32:19

"If they ask you and you're fully informed and you want the procedure then that's just as positive an outcome in my mind."

let's not overstate the case... i went to NCT ante-natal classes and was totally sold on the birthing pool and breathing through the pain and staying at home as long as possible. by the time i'd had my DD i'd vomited 40+ times, had gas and air, pethidine and an epidural. in the 6 hours following her birth i had a spinal block, a general anaesthetic and six pints of blood transfused. lots of women make choices they don't really want to make; the issue is ensuring that they feel as in control as possible and that above all they are respected by the medical professionals involved.

garlicagain Sat 27-Jul-13 15:50:11

Skrumle, presumably you were informed and consented? It makes a world of difference. Your martial arts teacher could kick the fuck out of you on the practise mat, and you'd go home sore but confident. If the same person jumped out at you from a bush in the park, and kicked the fuck out of you, it'd be a whole other thing.

garlicagain Sat 27-Jul-13 15:51:23

you were informed and consented ... from what you've said, informed and begging! Sorry to hear it was such a difficult birth.

PeaceAndHope Sun 28-Jul-13 05:21:14

I think that healthcare professionals who force procedures on women should be stripped off their licenses. I think women should have complete control over their bodies whether they are pregnant or not.

I support a woman's right to give birth however she wants- be it a home birth or a caesarian on request. Her body, her baby and her choice.

Stories of women being disrespected and mistreated in labour make me sick.

RubyThePirate Sun 28-Jul-13 19:47:14

I planned a homebirth but still got a sweep to which I hadn't consented after agreeing to a VE - sadly a homebirth is no guarantee of a birth free of assault.

In some ways, that this happened at home, in my own space, where I was least expecting my autonomy not to be respected, and where it would not be easy to get alternative help, made it worse.

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