Birth Trauma is Real. As I sat the other day, scrolling through my Facebook Newsfeed, I came across this post from Yoni Love - Dana Laggett (pictured above). I was instantly glued. I clicked on Continue Reading, but then someone in the room was demanding my attention... but I didn't want to stop reading. Dana so succinctly put into words what so many women feel.
Her metaphor of birth trauma as like a tumor on her chest resonated with me.
Mama suddenly yelled “DON’T” or “NO” – I can’t remember which – and my heart started thumping quickly as I watched that disembodied glove continue its manipulation.
Suddenly all of the times that I had said no, and had it fall on deaf ears -all of the times that I had said “No” or “Don’t” rose from my chest to my throat and I choked on the words. My heart turned over with sickening thump.
Tears dripped onto the blanket that I clutched tightly around me as I waited for some sort of justice; surely it would be brought up in the recollection of this woman’s birth. This “birth assistant” would be spoken to, embarrassed; it would be acknowledged that both woman and infant had been violated – this would be part of the film.
But it wasn’t. And Mama felt good about her birth. There she was, a few weeks later, cheeks rosy and smile wide and honest. Her baby was bundled in her arms, perhaps breastfeeding, or simply being rocked and comforted. She told her birth story, but that word – “NO” – was left out somehow.
Her post about birth trauma is one of the reasons that I became a doula. I am pleased to say that personally I have never witnessed this happening at any birth that I have attended as a doula. It would be nice to think that I could keep my head in a bubble, and pretend that it wasn't happening in Western Australia but I know differently.
I know because sadly these events are still happening today (I hear new stories all the time - as women I talk to make a point of telling me), and yet we still don't feel like we can speak up about them in public.
I know because it happened to me. I will never forget my own birth screaming 'No' and being told
'That's right let it all out'.
Well I am speaking up! It is time that as women we reclaimed our rights. The right to birth where we feel safe! The right to be supported by safe (and qualified) caregivers! The right to have our sacred space protected (not invaded)! The right to be listened to (and heard)... The right to say No!
In the words of Dana:
'We need to stop closing our mouths and ears against these words and take back our births, for the sake of the memory of our bodies and those of our children and of their children and theirs.'
Please do take the time to read Dana's story, and if Birth Trauma is something that is affecting you - you can always call:
From the Heart WA's Helpline - 1300 726 306 (6:00am – 4:00pm WA time, Mon-Fri) or
Lifeline - 131 114 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week),
"HELD" Supporting Families after their birth experiences http://www.birthtraumaaustralia.com/
or you can read more on Sheila Kitzinger's website or the Solace For Mothers website.
Prevention And Treatment Of Traumatic Childbirth: http://pattch.org/resource-guide/traumatic-births-and-ptsd-definition-and-statistics/
If you are planning a child or pregnant, please consider having a doula present at your birth, please contact me.