What’s a Woman to Do? {Choices Ripped Away}

by Mrs. BWF on May 8, 2013

Supporting all women in their birthing choices and being inclusive does not mean there are not issues within maternal and infant care, especially in the U.S. We can not deny that the care most women get in our country is sub-par. Women are still railroaded everyday, backed into corners, strapped down onto tables and told by their care providers they have to do what they say…’for the safety of their child’.

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Let me give you a few scenarios that I have recently encountered.

Scenario 1

Mom is pregnant and learns baby is breech. So she goes to a chiropractor to receive adjustments and Webster technique. She waits out her whole pregnancy and baby is still breech. She is supported and told baby can turn up to the last minute. Her doctor on the other hand does not have that faith or patience. The doctor schedules mom for a cesarean at 39 weeks. Mom doesn’t really care one way or the other.

Mom goes in for the planned cesarean and the doctor does NOT CHECK if baby is still breech. Mom is prepped and surgery begins. Surprise!!! Baby is head down. Oops. Not only did mom have an early cesarean due to breech birth (which does not have to be cesarean), but baby had turned head down in preparation for his/her birthday that was now chosen for him/her. That is negligent care. That is NOT OK.

Scenario 2

Mom plans a natural hospital birth with the support of her doctor. Mom goes into labor on her own and goes into the hospital when the staff tells her to. She is in very early labor (and now regrets going in too soon). Why? As soon as she gets there all of her preparation and wishes for a natural birth were ignored. She is told she has to be monitored and lying down. Mom wanted to try to labor in different positions that felt comfortable to her. She is told no. She feels confused, sad, lost, angry and doesn’t know what to do.

Labor is painful as mom is restricted and come to find out baby is in posterior position. Instead of moving around to help change and optimize baby’s position, mom is told she needs an epidural. Confusion, vulnerability, alone, angry. But mom is told for the safety of her baby she must do these things. Mother is lied to, bullied and disrespected. “You have one hour and if no baby, we will need to do a cesarean.” Mom prays her heart out that she will not be cut open. One hour passes, “We need to do a cesarean.” Every tells her it’s fine. Mom does not feel fine.

Cesarean birth, no support, traumatized. Now what? There is no VBAC support for her. No one understands her pain. This is NOT OK.

Scenario 3

I need to schedule your induction at 39 weeks, because my family has a vacation to Disnyworld planned the next week.

What?!

But the number one thing said about this doctor…she has great bed side manner.

What is a mother to do when she lives by a hospital with doctors ONLY like this? How does she fight for her rights when NO ONE LISTENS. She is told she is unreasonable? We need to support women in being courageous enough to say, “NO! This is not OK. My body, my baby, my birth!”

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We need to search out care providers who have enough decency to respect a woman (pregnant or not) and her choices for her own body and birth. Share your wonderful midwives and doctors with other women. Listen to mothers when they tell you that no, they were treated badly, they did not birth how they knew they could and to stay away from a midwife or doctor who is incompetent or disrespectful. Women need to demand to know their options and push to have evidenced based care from their doctors.

Only we can be the change. It won’t happen externally. It needs to come from us. From birthing women.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”  {Margaret Mead}

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Thank you to those that shared their pictures for this post!

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