"This is what I want to tell new mums. In defence of midwives everywhere."

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.”

Apparently midwives are the bad guys.

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.

Women are distressed when they're in labour. They want our help.

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."


And my story. I've had a woman come into the hospital and give birth as she walked in to the ward. I didn't have time to put gloves on or do anything. She was standing up, and out it came so I just had to dive and catch it. Another woman came in screaming (I'm talking deafening screeches) because she was in labour. On inspection I found she was only 1 cm dilated and then I had a long way ahead of me actually getting her in to labour.

My friend added that it's not just the women we have to deal with, "There are also some very controlling husbands - some husbands will demand all kinds of attention for themselves, not only the women in labour."

We deal with dads too.

On the note of breastfeeding. I have never, NEVER forced a woman to breastfeed. I have also never just shoved her boob in to the babies mouth without her consent. Many women I deal with ask, as soon as the baby's born if they can breastfeed the baby - even before their stitches are in or the placenta is delivered.

And, although we do encourage breastfeeding, sometimes I get women who - although they don't have a good milk supply or their baby isn't feeding effectively - refuse to listen to the midwives advice. It's the baby that suffers in the end, because they don't gain weight like they should. There needs to be a give and take for both the women and the midwife.

Because ultimately, we all want the same thing in the end - a healthy and happy mum and baby.

Have you had a good experience with a midwife? Share the love.

Want more? Try:

"Words of wisdom from Bec Judd's baby guru."

"It's a midwife horror story. But real."

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When you become a parent, you don't leave your brain in the delivery suite. That's why mothers with kids of all ages come to; because they're still interested in news about entertainment, health, current affairs and food along with an inspiring and useful stream of parenting advice and support.

Most importantly, they come because they want to hear personal stories of parenting directly from other mothers, without fear of judgement.


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