Sunday, August 17, 2014

Mother trauma

Minor vent ahead:

I think that if there's anything in my life more exhausting than being a mom it's thinking about and researching mothering and postpartum care in our culture. Once you look under the bows and parties you'll find a whole world of hurt, angry, and confused women. There's the senseless, sin cursed tragedies of stillbirths, nursing troubles, medical disorders, and postpartum mental illness. That's horrible and painful enough, but then you find out about the willful trauma perpetuated by care providers for no reason at all. There are survivors of abuse, who already find the prospect of intimate care frightening, who find themselves triggered by callous and power hungry birth attendants. I've read countless stories of women who were cut against their will and without their consent for no medically necessary reason whatsoever. Women have been bullied and lied to and pushed around to suit someone else's convenience. Even worse, some moms have been explicitly punished for not immediately surrendering to their doctor's dictates and then have it put on their medical records that they themselves were abusive or requested certain actions. I've heard of so many repeat caesarian moms who, after being pushed into a CBAC, were told later that they declined a trial of labor.

There is enough pain and trouble with childbearing and mothering without people adding to it. I don't care if you're a doctor, nurse, midwife, or doula. I've heard stories about them all, and they are almost all equally pointless and stupid - like a doctor refusing a mother anesthetic while repairing a tear because she refused an epidural during labor. That's the sort of senseless misconduct that weighs on me when I'm reading and hearing about birth and mothering today.

I want to help people and encourage moms, but it just drains me to see how tragedy gets compounded by medical assault and malpractice. Again - I'm not talking about the grey areas. I'm not talking about trigger happy lawyers and fine lines. I'm talking about the people who act like a woman in labor doesn't even have to right to common decency.

It's hard to be a woman and to gear up and fight for life and children and family in a world that doesn't value these things. It's exhausting. Sometimes it's almost as exhausting as my clusterfeeding clingy baby who is at this moment hollering at his father because I moved more than three feet away from him. But hopefully tomorrow will be better, and maybe eventually we can stop fighting the stupid, petty battles about mothering and birth and put more of that energy into actually being good mothers.

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