First of all, I want to shout out to all the providers who believe in the body of a woman and its incredible ability to give birth. And shout out to all the providers who support the women in their choices and give them evidence based options, not orders.
Okay, now down to business.
You guys. I’m so angry. And my heart hurts so much every day when I get on facebook and read another story of a mother who is struggling in her post-partum because of her birth experience.
I am so angry with our culture, How it makes women feel broken or not good enough in so many different areas of womanhood. But what really lights my fire and starts an inferno inside me are the straight up lies women are told while they are pregnant and when they are in labor all in the name of convenience or distrust in the AMAZING body God gave women.
God also blessed us with so much knowledge and technology. the medical community and medicine can save lives BUT we have got to use it when it IS medically necessary. We use it for convenience too often and to subdue fear of what “could happen” no matter how low the risk of a true emergency.
Labor is unpredictable for every woman, for every pregnancy. Sometimes I wonder if the unpredictability of the event scares doctors and that’s why they reach for their drugs so often unnecessarily. Like it’s a crutch. Does it help them feel some sort of control? Or is it just engrained in their heads through medical school that it’s just what you do, you use drugs to obtain the desired result? I don’t know. I know most believe they’re just trying to do the best for their patients, but I just don’t understand the push so much.
I’ll make it clear that I’m not bashing all doctors, what I am bashing is the disregard of women to be given CHOICE and the push of unnecessary drugs to augment a normal labor. Our culture has also conditioned us to believe that the medical professionals know what’s best for us and we should always listen to them. If we question them, we can be labeled as an uncooperative patient or not given any alternatives other than do as I say or do as I say. In extreme cases, disagreement or failing to follow doctor’s orders are deemed “medical neglect.” Insurance can make getting a second opinion or switching providers a huge challenge, too. This is a topic for another day, but it’s just another issue we face as pregnant women that we shouldn’t have to.
You hear, once a Caesarian always a Caesarian from many doctors. They will not accept vbac patients. Why? Are they scared? Yes. They say the risk is too great. I’ve heard numerous women say their doctor told them point blank, they would die or their baby would die of they even attempted a vbac. This disgusts me. It’s just simply not true. Women vbac or vba2c or vba3c every day and they don’t die. Each woman, each labor is different. What happened before may not happen again, to jump to major surgery is a cop-out. The risk vs benefit is not weighed, it’s just assumed that something bad would happen. If a vbac were dangerous across the board for everyone no matter the medical history, then every vbac would have a complication. This isn’t true. MANY women vbac without ANY complications every day, some at home, even unassisted!
The difference is an educated, supportive provider and a provider is respectful of your choice.
I share this picture because it’s an example of a supportive provider. My midwife, sitting on the bed with me, present, waiting, and encouraging me during transition, aka: the worst part of labor.
I wish I could be a fly on the wall in college class for those who deliver babies. What ARE they taught? Because as an outsider it seems like all I see are bullies and unnecessary intervention pushers. Do they even know what an unaltered labor looks like? It seems like they know how to handle when something truly is going wrong, but don’t know how to handle when something is going right. It’s like they are waiting for something bad to happen. But let me tell you, giving birth is not an emergency for every laboring mother. Unfortunately, it seems as though it is treated as such. We use these interventions to prevent a life threatening event that may not have even happened in the first place. And may not have happened had interventions not come into play in the first place.
I get so angry at these stories, I get disgusted by them and I get so sad at how many moms don’t know their options or don’t know that they even have options! This has become something that I’m passionate about over the years and my passion grows with each story I read. I feel helpless sometimes, I just want to help every pregnant mom, tell her everything I have learned so she doesn’t have to heal from a traumatic birth.
When I have friends or family who are expecting, I just want to take them under my wing and share it all! Then, when those same people go into labor and are on their way to the hospital, I want to be there to be their advocate. I don’t want the people I care most about to fall victim to the unnecessary interventions they didn’t want because they were given incorrect/inaccurate information.
I get angry when I hear a mom say she wasn’t allowed xyz. When that happens I just want to say, “Tell him, ‘You’re not allowed to not allow me!’” Guide me in my decisions for my care, don’t order me. I get angry when I hear a woman says she had to have a c-section or be induced for a reason that is totally not a reason to have a c-section or be induced! I want to empower women to KNOW more about their bodies and its abilities. Ladies, your body is so badass!
The journey to motherhood is vulnerable and the laboring mother is the epitome of vulnerability. We need a rock to cling to while we ride the waves of contractions and someone to be our voice for our choices when we are distracted—because labor is distracting!
I am angry that doctors use fear tactics to get their way, when their claims are totally false.
I am angry that we are not respected for our choices.
I am angry that women are afraid to give birth because our culture has distorted it.
I am angry that when a woman says no, she gets treated badly.
I am angry that women are not given evidence based options for their unique situation.
I am angry that women have hands forced into their vagina without their consent.
I am angry that everyday women are lied to at their appointments.
I am angry that women leave their prenatal appointments crying because their wishes are ignored.
I am angry that our culture and medical community doubt our bodies so much.
I am angry that women don’t know that they can say no to something that happens to them.
I am angry that the ones who are supposed to help us and be on our team turn out to be our enemy.
I am angry that women have to fight to get the prenatal care and birth they want.
I am angry that so many women feel broken and incapable and disempowered.
I am angry that women get taken advantage of during their most vulnerable time of their life.
I am angry that medical professionals taint or ruin what should be the most beautiful day of a new mom’s life.
I am angry that women get bullied and scolded as if they were misbehaving toddlers for saying no or questioning the necessity of an intervention.
I am angry that this is even an issue that needs to be discussed!!
So my message to providers is this.
Stop scaring us. Stop doubting us. Stop making us feel broken and incapable. Stop treating my body as something that can and will fail. Give us options, show us the evidence, don’t just tell us empty things you claim to be truths. We have the right to know the truth and we have the right to evidence based care—NOT fear mongering care or profit making care. Be gentle with your words because it’s a day we won’t forget, and we will remember everything you do or don’t do, say or don’t say. Listen to us and the concerns we have, don’t blow us off. Treat us as an adult; respect us and our choice even if you don’t agree with our decision. Respect our wishes and respect us as women. Respect my yes and respect my no. Support me and watch me rock my birth.
My message to pregnant moms
Don’t doubt yourself. Don’t doubt your body. Trust your body. Trust your baby. Trust God’s design. Learn ALL you can about the labor process, learn ALL you can about common interventions and their risks and benefits and necessity. Listen to the stories of other moms. Trust your intuition. You can say no to something. You can question everything. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. You don’t have to get your cervix checked. You have the right to evidence based care, not fear-mongering, profit making care. This is your day. You are a laboring goddess who deserves to be treated like the queen you are. You CAN give birth, your body is incredibly designed by an awesome creator who loves you and is with you. You CAN do it! You HAVE options. You CAN say yes and you CAN say no. Don’t be scared and watch yourself rock your birth.
Please check out my other blog for some more information about the necessity of “routine” procedures.
Check out my birth story for a positive hospital experience for a first time mom.