Wednesday, August 17, 2011

BIRTH RAPE - NOT A HAPPY BIRTHDAY




"By recognizing birth rape as institutionalized violence and a feminist issue worthy of address, we can work towards minimizing and then ending it..."

"Lynsey... tells of how her midwife rammed a hand up into her vagina to manually dilate her cervix... because she had been up all night and was "tired of how long this was taking". Even as Lynsey squirmed and screamed 'No! Get off of me!' while dealing with the excruciating pain of another monster contraction, she was laughed at and mocked for being a "bigger baby than the one she was trying to push out". Lynsey looked to her partner for support, but he just held her hand and whispered soothing words as the midwife continued to assault her genitals. Desperate for the attack to stop, she lashed out and tried to kick the woman away, only for another midwife to firmly hold her feet down. When the procedure didn't speed things up satisfactorily enough for the staff on shift that night, Lynsey's labor was declared as 'failure to progress' and she was rushed into theatre for what she feels was an unnecessary cesarean."

"Lynsey said of the experience: 'When the midwife ripped off her blood-stained glove after she had finished with me and threw it on the floor in disgust, I felt as if she had completely discarded my dignity as well. I went numb, unable to speak for the remainder of the labour, remembering the disgust in her eyes when my body and my behaviour didn't match her expectations. To then be cut open felt like punishment for not being a 'good girl' and complying'..."

"As a result of this trauma, Lynsey suffered from post traumatic stress disorder and tokophobia (fear of childbirth). She became deeply depressed, had nightmares and flashbacks, trouble bonding with her son, and her marriage nearly broke down because her husband couldn't acknowledge that she was raped by the midwife and he had stood by while it happened. He begged her to stop calling it rape and to let it go, get on with her life. As so many new mothers can attest, any anger, sadness or disappointment expressed about the birth is usually swept under the rug. Everyone says: "Yes, but it's all in the past now. You have a healthy baby and that's all that matters." As if the woman who endured the birthing experience was merely a passive observer, the emotionless vehicle through which the baby arrived..."

"So how in the world did we get to this point, where scores of women are being treated like slabs of meat on a butcher's table or cogs in the machinery of a conveyor belt? We believe that western medicine is so advanced and our technology so incredible that we rarely stop to think about the effects they have on biological processes and people themselves. Some things are not meant to be tampered with..."

To read the full article, follow this link:
Not a Happy Birthday
http://www.thefword.org.uk/features/2008/03/not_a_happy_bir