Because we need a voice too.
Recently iVillage Australia wrote a post telling Midwives to back-off.
The post focussed on a story from The Courier Mail about a mum who was forced to breastfeed for four months. The pressure to breastfeed became so bad that it caused Post Natal Depression.
The article said that her husband had told The Courier Mail, “The pressure she put on herself to feed and the pressure everyone else put on her — the Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA), staff at the hospital, other mothers — it just exacerbated her PND.”
That part of the article was fine, and fair to be outraged at. But then the writer went on to say that she was outraged by midwives, because apparently they are the ones to blame. Apparently midwives are the ones who grab mums boobs without their permission (basically man handling them) and shove their tit in their babies mouth, creating a distressing experience for the mum.
And this is where I began fuming (I think steam may have come out of my ears). How, how could anyone accuse midwives of being the bad guy in a woman's immediate postnatal state? We are in fact the opposite.
I am a midwife and I know a lot of other midwives and that article hurt - it dug in to the bone. Not because it was mean, but because it was utterly untrue. I spoke to my midwife friends about the article and our conversation quickly turned the topic on its head. What about us? What about the mums we have to deal with? Let me tell you guys a few of our own 'horror' stories.
Firstly, there were many stories where I (and my friends) have been bitten, slapped and sworn at while women are in labour - yes physical abuse because the women can't handle the pain.
One friend told me of a time she had delivered a baby to a very overweight woman. It took three midwives to get the baby out - one woman on each leg to hold up the leg fat and one to hold up the stomach fat to assist the doctor was even be able to deliver the baby.
Another woman piped up, "80 per cent of women poo during birth. Fact. I have been pooed on, vomited on and had many waters break all over me."
Then another started with her story. She said, "I had a woman 'hypnobirthing', which is when they go 'in to the zone' or 'hypnosis' and don't communicate with anyone while they're contracting. Sounds like bliss, BUT often it leaves their husbands to do all the communication and women don't like noise during this time so I had a woman sush me for four hours straight. I couldn't do anything, any time I tried to find out what I needed to do, I got a big loud SUSH."