The dirty secrets of birth rape
Medical professionals are allegedly covering up gross trauma against birthing mothers.
By Scott Dunlop
Article originally in Parent24
Rape. We’re well aware of the emotional weight carried by
that powerful word, but how much more powerful is it when used in conjunction
with the word “birth”? Well, it’s not hard to conjure up images of birthing mothers cowering under the shadows of balaclava-wearing men, but the reality is
that the people responsible for birth rapes are medical professionals wearing surgical
masks rather than balaclavas.
Birth rape is described as happening when a medical
professional uses forced or unnecessary procedures in order to facilitate a
birth, without the mother’s consent (or even in direct contradiction of her
wishes). It could be the insertion of forceps into the woman’s birth canal, or,
as shocking as it sounds- as bad as the experience of a mom who was drugged
with general anaesthetic and given a C-Section without even being aware that it
was being done.
The trauma of birth rape
Lack of consent. Violence against women. Even if it is
happening in an operating theatre, it is just as traumatic as other forms of
physical and emotional abuse. What’s
shocking, however, is that the emotional abuse and trauma endured by women who
have experienced birth rape often produces the symptoms of Post-Traumatic
Stress Disorder, PTSD, according to Kalina Christoff of Vancouver Birth Trauma.
This is where the alleged complicity of medical
professionals comes in: The PTSD is often misdiagnosed as post-partum
depression rather than traumatic stress, and is treated incorrectly. Despite
mothers who have endured birth rape voicing their complaints, these complaints
are dismissed as coming from someone who is suffering from post-partum
depression, or merely struggling to adjust to having a new baby.
A medical professional has the upper-hand in a surgical
environment. Very often his or her authority is never challenged, and, to a
vulnerable woman who is giving birth, that medical professional is in control.
When a woman has made considered choices about the way in which she’d like to
give birth, and there is no reason why her decisions shouldn’t be respected, it
still happens that medical professionals bully birthing mothers into giving
birth via procedures they either don’t want, don’t need or aren’t aware of.
The common response from the medical community is that they
are merely acting in the best interests of the mother- but this does not excuse
procedures being performed without permission, especially when the mother is
perfectly capable of providing her consent (or refusing it).
I understand that no one wants to inflict deliberate injury
against a birthing mom, but it’s time that trauma as a result of birth is
recognised as valid as trauma as a result of any other assault, emotional or
physical, and that, wherever possible, a birthing mother’s wishes are respected
during the birth process, even if it is not “convenient” for the medical
professional to respect those wishes.
Do you think that surgeons and doctors sometimes abuse their positions of authority during the birth process?
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Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.