Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Traumatic birth is real

I've heard a lot of nonsense here and there about traumatic birth, about how it's a bunch of crap made up by sue-happy women who just want to find someone else to blame when their birthing experiences were not what they had originally planned for. I hear that women who claim a traumatic birth are drama queens, women who want money and nothing else, and that these women are almost single-handedly the reason that so many physicians and hospitals are so strict with their rules and regulations.

What I see from women who claim they have experienced a traumatic birth is a lot of pain, a lot of confusion, and a lot of anger that cannot be properly placed because of laws and signed papers stripping them of their rights to confront people who have knowingly and purposefully turned what should have been a positive experience into a terrifying, painful ordeal that has broken them emotionally and physically. I see parents who have been told how things would be, and who were given no warning when situations changed, who made specific but simple requests that went unhonored and ignored. I see people with PTSD related to previous experiences within hospitals or involving doctors or procedures who have requested that their caregivers do or say things a certain way so that they can continue being an easy, agreeable patient, and yet they are written off and their requests are ignored, leaving them to be labeled as "difficult". I see women who feel stripped of their dignity in a way that they should not feel, who are uncomfortable and discontent and want things to change but don't know who they should be blaming. They feel that the world blames them, that the world says their pains and emotions mean nothing and have no relevance, or aren't real in the first place, so they walk around with a fake smile proclaiming that all that matters is that they have a healthy baby, and their own feelings go unacknowledged. These are women that end up refusing to go near doctors or hospitals again, women who develop fears and phobias that shouldn't have to exist in the first place.

This isn't how life should be.

People who have never given birth, or whose expectations were met or exceeded, do not understand. I would venture to say that I certainly don't; while I've yet to experience what I believe is my optimal pregnancy and labor, I know I've not been severely traumatized by what I've experienced. But I have seen and heard the   desperate pleas from women who are not looking to sue anyone, who are not interested in financial compensation, but who want to get the attention of the health care professionals who have caused them the trauma that haunts them daily, and how better to get the attention of a doctor who is paid hundreds of thousands of dollars a year but to hit them and their hospital in the wallet? Sometimes, that's what it takes. Don't like it, well, never have a traumatic birth. Never have a bad experience and make sure that nobody else ever does, either.

But don't write off traumatic birth as being some impossible entity that's made up by women who just want pity and attention. It is real, it is painful, and it needs to be addressed and treated by those who are at fault for bringing it about.

Short post today; mostly a rant, I guess. An unfinished draft I never posted anything on. Apologies for the lack of links, as it's quite late! Job interview tomorrow and Friday, and hopefully something will come of one of them; both would be awesome but I can only hope for so much, hmm?

G's party was awesome. I got to see some people I don't often get to see! Hope everybody has a great night!

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