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Practicing What I Preach

A couple of days ago, I had the opportunity to work with a woman, someone I didn't know, and while she had her own great birth plan (that the nurses actually respected), there were several times when my still emerging awareness of birth abuse and how to avoid traumatizing a woman was called into action.

- Whenever someone walked into the room, I asked who they were and introduced them to the mom and dad.

- Whenever someone was going to touch the mom, I would quickly let her know (warn her, if you will) before they did. Once I even got in an "Is it okay if she touches you now?" I have more work to do in that area.

- Whenever someone talked over mom like she wasn't there, I re-said the comment directly to her.

- When the stranger-doctor dashed in, jammed a hand and then flippantly said mom's pelvis was too small to have a baby that size, I re-phrased it to "the baby's position (persistent, acynclitic OP) is keeping her from coming out vaginally despite the enormous pushes you're doing."

- When the same stranger-doctor blamed mom's innards for being "extremely odd-shaped and sized" and that was why she had a three-hour repair of said innards after the cesarean, I let mom know the doctor was covering, not only her ass, but her ego and emotions. Mom followed up with, "So if they were so different, why didn't she take extra care with them?"

I'm not writing this to rah rah rah me, but to illustrate my own awareness due to the discussions here after my Birth Abuse post. It's not like I've not had any awareness... I certainly have for a long time... but hearing the nuances of what women have shared here, I think, really made an impact on me.

I hope it's doing the same for others.

Reader Comments (6)

Thank you for sharing this.

April 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRachel

Oh, that poor mother! She's going to want to go back over and over this birth by the sounds of it, just to process everything that happened. I'm glad she had you there.

April 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterT

Woah. I did hear from my midwife that my pelvis might be what causes OP...as I've had 4 of 7 OP in labor up to the last moments. But she was kind about it, just saying the shape might cause babies to tend that way, it's no one's fault, not my body's fault, and babies CAN and do turn if the situation allows.

I am glad you were there to talk mom through. Hopefully, she won't feel too damaged, but if she does, she has your comments to know that an abusive provider was just an abusive provider and she didn't DESERVE the treatment. This means the problem is with the OB and not with her.


April 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDawn

I love the things you said to this mom. I esp. love the last one about covering ones butt. Too many times moms are blamed for a simple lack of knowledge on our part. Sure there are many c-sectiions that are needed, but 1 in 3? No, I can't believe one in three women need c-sections. I just think that, in at least a number of these instances, we have lost the knowledge of how to get a baby out safely AND vaginally. You humanized this for your client, and I think that is an amazing thing you can do for a new mom. I will strive to follow your good example.

April 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCrowbabies

As a homebirth friendly physician, I don't know exactly what was said or what happened in the C-section - but your tone certainly would turn me off from working with a midwife or having one around. Do you do sections? Do you know what possible anatomical and technical complications could come up?

I'm just saying, you are alienating people who are potentially on your side.

April 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersara

Hmmm... I doubt you would be "on my side" anyway since you, without hesitation, asked me if I was a surgeon. That comment alone gives the natural-oriented folks among us puh-LENTY of information about you right there.

Instead of defending the OB, how about HEARING *how* the whole thing went down. This piece... this topic... is much more about emotions and a whole lot less about "anatomical and technical complications."

If I'm alienating some folks, you can bet those same people are doing exactly the same.

April 22, 2011 | Registered CommenterNavelgazing Midwife

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