My mind cannot stop the thinking about the birthrape issue and NO ONE in my life, not even my partner, wants to hear one thing about it. A childbirth educator friend said she would talk and we could process, but she is a client of mine, albeit my hypno-therapist, but I have horrid feelings of guilt I have begun exploring about HER birth. She has told me she loved her birth, even when I sobbed speaking about how I hated what I did to her at her birth (retrospectively; after my hands-off birth). It doesn't make my heart rest any easier... well, maybe a little.
I can't stop diarrhea-ing.
I think the insanity and birthrape guilt are separate and together. Maybe I am paying for my past now instead of later.
Just dig in.
As I learned to be a midwife, I did horrible things to women in the name of education. I have held women's legs open ("to get the baby out"). I have pulled placentas out ("to learn how to get one out that needs help or if the mom is bleeding"). I have squished a woman's belly until I could nearly feel her spine, which is, actually, the wording used by the teachers (plural): Push until you find her spine ("to keep her from hemorrhaging and expel clots"). I have pulled placentas until cords have fallen off. I have grabbed women's nipples and shoved them into their babies' mouths. I have done vaginal exams on women who were screaming NO! I have coerced women to allow me into their vaginas for exams. I have done "finger forceps" [a misnomer] (using my fingers to press the ischial spines open wider for a baby to come through faster). I have ruptured membranes because I needed to learn how. I have manually dilated cervices that did not need to be touched because I needed (or thought I needed) to learn how to do it in an emergency. I have manually dilated a cervix on a woman having a waterbirth (and I wasn't wearing gloves) and got her cervical flesh under my fingernails.
As a doula and student, I stood by and watched as women screamed to be left alone. I watched midwives with 3 inch fingernails shove cervices from 3-10 in a few minutes. I watched as women had cytotec inserted into their vaginas secretly. I watched as women unknowingly drank cytotec from Gatorade bottles. I witnessed pitocin being secretly injected into the vaginal vault to projectile a baby in second stage arrest. I witnessed pitocin being put on gauze and put in women's vaginas without their knowledge. I watched as the gauze was put in their rectums without their knowledge. I have seen women sutured who might not otherwise need it simply because someone needed training. I have seen OBs cut an episiotomy because they are in a hurry. I have heard evil things coming from OB's mouths towards clients and stood by and said nothing. I have heard even more evil things come from midwives and stood by and said nothing. I have seen and heard women be screamed at to shut up, grow up, that she asked for it by opening her legs 9 months ago, that she gets what she deserves. I have seen a woman slapped by a midwife. I have seen a midwife, on more than one occasion, hang a baby upside down and slap the baby up and down the back to revive him/her. I have seen, on more than one occasion, midwives take a fainted woman's nipples and twist them nearly off to revive the woman.
I have seen many illegal maneuvers that have saved women trips to the hospital and have learned amazing amounts of information that I would never use unless a woman or baby were dying in my arms. I have NOT done other equally unethical acts... have not ever cut an episiotomy because I needed to practice... have not sutured because I needed to practice... have not ever used forceps or vacuum extractor. I have learned how to birth a baby in the caul. I have learned how to sit and wait from long second and third stages. But it doesn't remove one iota of the pain I feel. There is no catharsis.
I am the enemy of many women. I am their pain. I embody it. I created it. I am more filled with shame than there are words to describe.
Does it make any difference that I have grown to not do these things? Did I have to walk that path to get where I am? Why did I love the learning I experienced? Why did I get high from all the energy and the uncertainty? Do I really believe I wouldn't be the midwife I am today if I didn't know all I know? Am I better able to speak the language of the enemy because I am the enemy? Do I have any right speaking to the women whose hearts bleed and whose bodies are mutilated?