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Misogyny and birth - Page 3

post #41 of 113
Cigilteach I'm so sorry. I just now was able to finish reading your story.

MumofNic I'm so sorry. I still haven't been able to finish reading your story.

I keep having to stop reading and calm down, I just want to hurt everyone who hurt you.
post #42 of 113
Mum0f3, your story just about broke my heart. I used to work with young girls in foster care and would encounter that attitude and disrespect when I'd accompany them for their OB visits and labor. I was banned from one hospital here because they hollered at the girl for screaming in pain. I let the whole staff have it, and they told me I wouldn't be welcome at another birth. Of course, that's complete nonsense. These girls were in state custody and they couldn't keep me, as their social worker away from them. I simply can't comprehend the inhumanity of treating anyone, especially a young frightened girl this way. The stereotyping that goes on is horrendous. I know that if my insurance card said Medicaid instead of Blue Cross Blue Shield my standard of care would be horribly different. That makes me so very angry.
post #43 of 113
Oh my gosh this thread is making me cry so much! I still have yet to process the trauma and abuse I suffered from my first birth at the hands of my OB....I hope to be able to do that someday and maybe contribute here.

The fact that so many of these stories exist here is making me wonder how much this is considered normal standard practice for mainstream America?
post #44 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by roslyn View Post
Mum0f3, your story just about broke my heart. I used to work with young girls in foster care and would encounter that attitude and disrespect when I'd accompany them for their OB visits and labor. I was banned from one hospital here because they hollered at the girl for screaming in pain. I let the whole staff have it, and they told me I wouldn't be welcome at another birth. Of course, that's complete nonsense. These girls were in state custody and they couldn't keep me, as their social worker away from them. I simply can't comprehend the inhumanity of treating anyone, especially a young frightened girl this way. The stereotyping that goes on is horrendous. I know that if my insurance card said Medicaid instead of Blue Cross Blue Shield my standard of care would be horribly different. That makes me so very angry.
This is something I have fought with inside of myself for quite some time. But for years I have felt it was my "calling" (so to say) to be there for those young mama's that are/were in the same situation I was. I hate that all teen mothers are lumped into one category and it is never a good one. People assumed because I was 15 that I would leave him with whoever and not be a mother. While my grandmother was super supportive and very helpful he was still MY responsibility and I took him with me just about everywhere.

I was still on state aid with ds2 but went to an actual doctor's with him the standard of care was better but still different. With ds3 same doctor but I had medical insurance at that point. They wanted to run this test and that with him and I actual got into a verbal argument with one of the doctors because I wouldn't do the MMS screening (is that the right one?). She asked me my reasons why and I having just read up on it in one of my books told her because at my age there wasa higher risk of false positives and there was truly no reasoning for it. I had 2 healthy babies before and she was appalled. She made me feel like a horrible person because I didn't want to know. That makes me think that on one hand you aren't given the option of that many tests when you are on medicaid but if you have insurance all the doctors see is $$$$.
post #45 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2crazykids View Post
Oh my gosh this thread is making me cry so much! I still have yet to process the trauma and abuse I suffered from my first birth at the hands of my OB....I hope to be able to do that someday and maybe contribute here.

The fact that so many of these stories exist here is making me wonder how much this is considered normal standard practice for mainstream America?
It is the normal standard practice. We are kept uninformed and undereducated about birth and our bodies and that causes things like this to happen. I even felt that I was far more educated with my last there was lots of things I refused with him but that didn't change much in the end. It is sad.. and I wish it would change unfortunately most of our views on birthing and our bodies are not looked upon as kindly. Things are changing but not fast enough in my opinion.
post #46 of 113
sapphire_chan: you are super sweet. Thankyou for the hugs and you know sometimes when I really think about it I wish I could go back and hurt them too but 2 wrongs don't make a right. Reading other women's birth stories and getting mine out like this is/was super healing.. if it could help someone else to know then that is the best I can do.
post #47 of 113
Wow, I want to give all of the mamas here great big 's!! I've never had to experience anything so awful, and it infuriates me that women are treated this way. Sorry if I sound so naive, but I really had no idea how bad it really is for some women.

I feel sick to my stomach now. I'm crying for you mamas, and I hope you can all get through this and heal. More 's!!!
post #48 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by roslyn View Post
When I told one woman in my mommy group that all the women in my family had homebirths, she looked disgusted and asked, 'Where were y'all born, Africa? Why would anybody in a civilized country choose homebirth?'
So, she thinks having someone's fingers rammed up your vagina, being cut (be it a section or an episiotomy) unnecessarily (and, yes - I do know that sections are sometimes necessary), stuck with IV's, loaded with medications, and told when and what you can eat or drink (ie. NOTHING) is a hallmark of civilization and status? She thinks being treated this way is somehow superior? I think the fact that women actually believe this bunk is a definite indicator of the misogyny lurking in the obstetrical world and our birth culture.
post #49 of 113
Yes yes yes to it all. I see it all the time and I define it as misogyny. What else is it?! Women in the western world are abused and disenfranchised in most of our lives so it's hardly surprising that it happens to us in birth as well. The internalised misogyny we carry with us is the most effective patriarchal tool yet so even when we could say no or scream out or punch our rapist-in-a-hospital-gown, we don't because we fear rocking the boat or making people uncomfortable. I'm a really feisty feminist who had a birthrape in a hospy partly because I tried to work with the surgeons and thought that by meeting them half way they would also meet me. How naive can I be?! It's not about men CPs versus women CPs because I see plenty of MWs behave in similar ways, both large and small. It's how our entire society runs, based on a hatred for women and the control of our minds and bodies. There is no kudos in saying women's bodies work or for women to embrace how our bodies work. I get far more abuse for saying to women that their bodies work than surgeons get for telling them lies about how their bodies are defective. So then when you add in the aspect of commerce and how society profits in a strictly monetary sense from carving our bodies up and deadening us and our babies with drugs it's not surprising that a lot of people have a lot invested in maintaining that status quo.

In a patriarchy women are a slave class who are Not-Men; we are defective because we're not men. So surgeons protect us, and society, from our dangerous unruly female bodies by operating on us and stopping us from putting our bodies to powerful and effective use. How many women are told that birthing their babies vaginally will damage them? But like I said, there isn't much approval in standing up to it and speaking out against it so many of us choose to collude in our own oppression rather than risk the abuse attached to speaking out. How many of us have our partners' fears being the deciding factor in where and how we birth? How many of us would speak up mighty fast if that partner tried to stop us breastfeeding but are going to knuckle under if they want us to birth in the hospy even though we're terrified - and with good reason. Activism around breastfeeding is much stronger in NP/AP communities and I believe it's because bf is perceived as about babies so we can go to town for what we know is true and safest for them. Birth is (ironically enough knowing how babies suffer in hospitals) perceived as about women so we don't take a stand and demand appropriately evidenced care or that our partners and families support us in our desire to birth without unnecessary intervention. When we say we want to birth at home because it's well evidenced and demonstrably safer we're told we're selfish and putting our experience ahead of our babies'.

No shortage of thought on this subject here
post #50 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
So, she thinks having someone's fingers rammed up your vagina, being cut (be it a section or an episiotomy) unnecessarily (and, yes - I do know that sections are sometimes necessary), stuck with IV's, loaded with medications, and told when and what you can eat or drink (ie. NOTHING) is a hallmark of civilization and status? She thinks being treated this way is somehow superior? I think the fact that women actually believe this bunk is a definite indicator of the misogyny lurking in the obstetrical world and our birth culture.
Its pretty scary when you think about it. It a status symbol. The more interventions you have the more important you are. They sit around and talk about these horrific births as if they're designer handbags or something. They try to one-up each other the same way. Someday I've got to write a book about it. Its absolutely mind-boggling.

I referred one of my dh's friends wife to my OB because he's so cool and non-interventionist. She didn't like him because he 'kept asking her what she thought. A doctor should tell her what to do.' I'm still agog at this one! That's what I like about my doctor, he listens to me and gives me options, but ultimately the decision is MINE.
post #51 of 113
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post #52 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by fourlittlebirds View Post

My other experience that is worth noting doesn't have to do with birth but women's care. I had gone to see a nurse practitioner to... I guess to have a pap, and that evolved into the whole exam including a breast exam. She was very abrupt and sort of snorted when she found I'd had my babies at home. She mauled my breasts (so that I ended up with an infection) then asked what birth control we were using which I was kind of taken aback by, because really, if I wanted to talk to her about it wouldn't I bring it up? It felt kind of intrusive and condescending, like she needed to cover all the bases for my sake, it's her job to make sure I'm thinking about these things, you know. I should have just said that I had no concerns or needs regarding that but she was really into the "I am the expert you are the patient" mentality and I was too cowed to assert myself. So I simply answered, said we were using condoms. She said, in this very condescending tone, "well you can't do that forever. You're going to be fertile for a long time and you need to think about more reliable methods of contraception." !!! Here I am, an adult woman, and she's lecturing me! I wouldn't set foot in her office again if she were the last pap smearer left on earth. But I should have written a letter. Not that it would have done any good, probably, but I still should have.
I know you're wanting to talk about birth specifically, but this brought up something that happened to me when I first moved to the state where live now.

I needed my annual pap and used the GYN recommended by the primary care physician we had picked. I was young, 22 maybe. So, I go into the office, fill out all the paperwork and then the nurse comes to get me. She weighs me in the public hallway and then starts discussing my answers with me there also. She gets to the part of the questionnaire that asked about BC. I had put none b/c altho we were doing NFP, we weren't completely on board with it yet and it just wasn't worth getting into; I knew that much. So, in the public hallway, she says really loudly, "So, you don't use any BC?" in that accusatory, condescending voice. And I say, "No, I'm in a committed relationship and we are actually thinking about starting a family soon." She says in the most horrified voice ever, "Well, committed or not, that's no guarantee you won't catch something from him and we really need to get you on some BC pills. I'll make sure to tell the Dr. to give you a scrip for them." I guess it doesn't sound so bad now in retrospect, but I was humiliated. It was done in a public hallway with people walking by and then she doesn't even know me, this was the first time I'd been to that office, nor did she know my partner/DH. And how dare she make any judgements about how we're handling starting a family. I never went back and when I changed the name with my insurance, I gave them an earful. I should have written a letter to the office tho and now I wish I had.

Also, something that I always think about WRT women's healthcare. My grandmother fell ill several years ago (I was pg with DS at the time) and spent nearly a year in and out of various hospitals. At one point, I was the only family member staying with her and boy, did the drs treat us like we were lower than scum. First off, you're stuck in a hospital all day with no access to any kind of medical information; you only get what the drs tell you. And I'm not stupid; I know I'm only getting what they want me to know. Even when I would ask questions, they'd treat me with a "how dare she question me" attitude. Then, I was pg and I look young anyway, so they wrote me off as a hysterical, non-thinking pregnant girl, like I lost my brain when sperm met egg. Then, this dr wanted to do a spinal tap on my 80 year old grandmother, who looked absolutely terrified at the prospect. He says to her, "Dear, it's not so bad. Thousands of women choose this route over the pain of childbirth every day. Wouldn't you have wanted that option when you gave birth to your sons?" Well first off, I was fully informed as to the risks of spinal procedures (having done my research on epidurals already) and my grandmother never gave birth - my dad and uncle are adopted. So, it was just wrong on so many levels. Anyway, I told him we weren't going to agree to that procedure yet, that I needed to research it, and he tells me he's going to schedule it anyway b/c he's sure that I'll come to my senses or something like that. I go to my hotel, do some research, realize he's a complete a$$ and go in the next day and cancel the procedure. He comes in in all his glory and tells me that unless we agree to this particular procedure (which he wanted to do for his research grant purposes, NOT for my grandmother's health) he will drop us as patients. That time, I had my voice and told him he'd better fill out the forms for a transfer because I was moving my grandmother that day. He was stunned. And then it turned into this whole other thing, but the point of that big long story is that we were bullied, treated like idiots and then threatened. When my dad and uncle showed up, that dr was completely kind and patient with them and very apologetic that we hadn't agreed to the procedure or he wouldn't have had to file those transfer forms. :

That experience solidified my resolve never to have my babies in the hospital.
post #53 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by anniej View Post
"Well, committed or not, that's no guarantee you won't catch something from him and we really need to get you on some BC pills. I'll make sure to tell the Dr. to give you a scrip for them."
To make it even worse, the only thing BC pills keep you from "catching" is pregnancy.
post #54 of 113
Somebody explain to me again why the role of doulas changed?

JanetF, while some women don't scream and punch because they don't want to make other people uncomfortable, some women don't scream because they hope that they will be hurt less if they cooperate, if they are "good patients", some women don't punch because they don't want to be arrested in the middle of labor, and then there are the women who are simply so shocked that they *can't* do anything.

As shown by AnnieJ's story misogyny in healthcare isn't limited to birth. One of the reasons heart disease is the top killer of women is that the symptoms are ignored in women (particularly minority women).

And then there's the tendency to assign all problems below the waist to the uterus.
post #55 of 113
I agree, there's a whole gamut of responses for a heap of different reasons. I sometimes suspect a form of Stockholm Syndrome to be at play.
post #56 of 113
I was just screwed from the start when I went into the hospital to give birth to my second child.

I was 19 years old and putting the baby up for adoption. My water had broken at home, so I was admitted as soon as I showed up at the hospital.

I labored for several hours, repeatedly asking for an epidural or some kind of pain medication...I was flatly refused any meds because, and I'm quoting here, my doctor said, "You got yourself into this mess, you need to feel every bit of it before you just give this baby away."

That is only a smidgen of the heartless things the doctor said to me, but I can't remember most of them.

At the time I was actively pushing, there were no less than 10 medical personel in the room...most of them, students.

I was already shamed and embarassed to be having a baby that I couldn't keep...I didn't have the backbone to insist on anything. I never saw the baby. I wasn't given the opportunity to see her. I had to ask--repeatedly--to be told what sex she was.

No, this wasn't 1955...it was 1995.

My other two childrens' births were very fast and easy, and I can't say I have any complaints about my treatment per se...except for the fact that no one believed me when I said I was in active labor with my daughter...but that's a different story.

I did, however write a letter of complaint to the chief of staff regarding my 2nd child's delivery. Of course, I never got a response...but at least I wrote it.
post #57 of 113

cjanelles...

deleted
post #58 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by cjanelles View Post
I labored for several hours, repeatedly asking for an epidural or some kind of pain medication...I was flatly refused any meds because, and I'm quoting here, my doctor said, "You got yourself into this mess, you need to feel every bit of it before you just give this baby away."
I just read somewhere about this happening to a young woman recently. The doctor is being sued. I am so sorry this happened to you. This kind of thing makes me sick to my stomach.
post #59 of 113
A couple of my experiences with OB/GYNs may be relevant to this topic.

The first isn't about birth though. When I was in my mid twenties I went to this one GYN for a while, who, everytime he was about to give me a pap smear would have forgotten something he needed (swabs, gloves, etc.) and would have to go walkabout to find it. Mind you, he would only realize this when I was naked from the waist down, on my back with my feet in the plastic stirrups and a big metal clamp (whatever that's called) holding my vagina open. He would be gone for over 5 minutes (a couple of times I heard him having conversations with colleagues in the corridor while I was lying there) which seems like a heck of a long time when you're lying with a metal clamp in your vagina and can't go anywhere. As far as I can remember this happened every time I went to him for a smear. When I moved away from the area (which is why I stopped going to him, apparently the old-me didn't see anything wrong with the way I was being treated) my new GYN had heard of him and said he was very well respected in the profession.

My 2nd experience was with this new OB/GYN and is the all-too-familiar story of the routine episiotomy. Even though I had told him at several appointments that I didn't want to be cut - and he patted my hand paternally and reassured me that he would never do that unless absolutely necessary - when I was dilated to 10 but had not yet pushed even once he cut me a huge episiotomy. Sex hurt for 2 years afterwards. :-(

Why does hardly anyone complain? Why didn't I complain or even think there was anything wrong with these experiences until years later when my awareness had been raised by sites like this one? I'm a strong woman, confident, assertive in my career, able to identify misogyny in every other aspect of my life. I have never taken any crap from male colleagues or my husband. Yet the old-me (a typical woman of my generation) took this treatment without complaint.

There has to be some consciousness-raising with regard to this topic. I'm glad it's being discussed here, but it needs to be heard by everyday women (am avoiding using the word mainstream, which I hate) who wouldn't normally frequent sites like this. Most women (including, alarmingly, female OB/GYNs) have internalised this crap for far too long and now it has become accepted.

I have a book recommendation for the OP. "Reclaiming Our Health" by John Robbins. Parts one and two are about patriarchal medicine. He gives some outrageous accounts of misogyny in Gynaecology, it's worth a read!
post #60 of 113
wanna see Misogyny?

Go to

http://www.ob-gyn.net

Read the forum archives and have a bucket handy...you'll need it to puke in
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