An article on Parent Central talks about traumatic birth experiences and quotes a review conducted by the Nursing and Midwifery at the University of Western Sydney in Australia.
One of the key findings of the review, appearently, was that ‘being denied the opportunity to make informed decisions about birth traumatizes women‘. Well, duh! This is a well-known sub-category of ‘Being treated like an idiot because you have a uterus really pisses you off.‘
The article – as so many other recently as we become more aware of the issue – describes the horrendous experiences some mothers have had giving birth and let’s not make a mistake – all this shit is battery, pure and simple. Having hands shoved up your vagina and your membranes deliberately ruptured making a C-section necessary is battery. And frankly, women should start sueing for it.
I had a different experience. Being birth phobic and finding myself pregnant made a planned C-section my only acceptable option. Make no mistake, I had to fight tooth and nail to get it the first time around, but being reasonably intelligent, a native-English speaker and a lawyer – which helps when it comes to making it clear that if they force a natural birth on you, and the teensiest thing goes wrong, you’ll start process before the baby’s got its foot out the door (so to speak), and all without ever needing to be so crude as to mention the word ‘sue’ – I got one. And was I happy with my birth experience? You bet. Despite being roundly villified by staring looks and rolled eyes and lectures about the importance of a ‘natural’ birth by every midwife I met (far too many), I was perfectly happy. And even despite the subsequent constant denigration by certain other mothers for choosing a C-section (but that’s another topic entirely), I’m still happy. Simply because I’d assessed my options, researched the risks of C-sections for both myself and my baby and was satisified that, given the baby had to come out somehow, it was the right choice for me. And I got what I wanted. Medical intervention that ceased to bear any relation to battery because I fully consented to it. Make no mistake, fighting for my birth choice, whilst hard, was actually easy-peasy because all the hard stuff took place before I was actually giving birth. I’ve no doubt that had I been in the full throws of birthing, the midwife could’ve said to me ‘The moon is rising in Venus today, so we’ll have to use forceps’, I would have accepted it entirely, especially if it was my first time doing it. Giving birth, however prepared and calm you are, is pretty scary when you’re actually doing it. Or so I’m told.
That’s why articles like this are so valuable. Knowledge is power. And the more first time mothers who understand that they still get to have body autonomy even whilst shoving a baby out, the better.