“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou
I’ve shared this before when I was circulated last year but sharing again as I’ve seen this on a few shares recently. Extract:
“Care provider actions and interactions can influence women’s experience of trauma during birth. It is necessary to address interpersonal birth trauma on both a macro and micro level. Maternity service development and provision needs to be underpinned by a paradigm and framework that prioritises both the physical and emotional needs of women. Care providers require training and support to minimise interpersonal birth trauma.”
Birth trauma is real and often the ‘trauma’ part of it can be reduced through the compassionate care of the maternity staff (as per the research linked above from the brilliant Rachel Reed).
Now, having seen how much work and care the staff do put in, it’s not an accusation directly at them… it’s a reflection of a very pressurised system and often what is followed is not because the staff believe it’s the right course of action, it’s due to, what I call – THE FEAR.
The FEAR comes up about all the things that could go wrong and the fear of litigation and added into that, our own fears of birth. Rather than discussion what happens, offering choices, trusting the process, believing that mums can physically give birth (given the numbers of people on this planet – I think it’s a high probability), empowering and informing families, what happens is that there’s a conveyor belt of interventions and a set procedure. Many call it, the cascade of interventions.
Interventions DO SAVE LIVES – acknowledged.
Often, however, it’s the railroading of interventions and the lack of continuity of care that can lead to the trauma due to the fear. Specifically, induction for post-dates (often dates are incorrect), induction for twins, induction for PROM, induction for big baby… there’s a theme here…. can you see it?
Yet, we know with birth trauma (much of which would be avoidable with better care and more flexible systems with better informed consent), it can have a MASSIVE affect on Maternal Mental Health. Bearing in mind suicide is the number one cause of death in the first year postpartum – much of which I believe is stemmed from the birth and how the birth has affected mum and baby, then you can see why this is VITAL that this is changed.
This is added to the recent developments with the Nursing and Midwifery Council, this last week, announcing that the indemnity arrangements for independent midwives is not appropriate. Yet another way that choice for women is taken away and that the FEAR is in charge of birth.
“Half of women in childbirth are being put in danger, with many saying they are made to feel like “cattle” in understaffed maternity wards, a major report warns.”
That’s a shocking figure. And only helps to further make us even more scared and terrified of birth.
Yet we know, birth doesn’t need to be like that. It can be a great experience. We know that as doulas, because we see it and hear about it EVERY day.
How do we change things? Well we can’t… not me, not an army of doulas and midwives, not your health care provider….
WOMEN change birth – FACT – they get informed, they get positive, they own it. They can change the system. They can question the care that they receive. They can make their own choices. They can start to trust the process and remove the fear.
Much love, Tricia