Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Don't you know you're supposed to be traumatized?

Jan Tritten, the editor of midwifery today, can always be counted upon to write something inane and histrionic. This month is no exception. Tritten writes:
According to the Listening to Mothers II survey conducted in 2005, four in 10 women had their labors induced and 47% were augmented with Pitocin. Women are given epidurals, they are catheterized, they are forced to birth on their backs and nearly 30% have their babies cut out of them.

Let's personify this crime: Who are the traumatic birth statistics? They could be you, your mother, sister, wife, friend or best friend. How much damage is done to these women, their babies, the rest of their families and our society? We will never know. Contained within those numbers on paper or on a computer screen are the God-created, incredibly important women we all know and love. These women—beautiful, needed and meaningful to those who love them—are struck down, incapacitated and forever damaged at the time they should be experiencing their greatest creation, their greatest miracle.

Thinking in terms of statistics is easy, but when we personalize birth injury it is a completely different herstory, and I really mean her story. Almost one in three having their babies cut out of their beautiful bellies instead of experiencing their highest calling to motherhood is an abomination. (my emphasis)
Crime? Trauma? Abomination?

There's just one problem, the very same Listening to Mothers II survey shows that women are extremely satisfied with their obstetric care and don't feel traumatized in the least:
Mothers generally gave high ratings to the quality of the United States health care system and even higher ratings to the quality of maternity care in the U.S...
Most women felt that they had been fully counseled and had given informed consent:
Most mothers stated that they had fully understood that they had a right to full and complete information ... and to accept or refuse any offered care... just a small proportion (10%) had refused anything
Indeed 89% of women perceived no pressure to have an induction, 91% perceived no pressure to have a C-section, and 93% perceived no pressure to have an epidural.

So what is this woman talking about? She's certainly not "listening to mothers". She is self-righteously substituting HER values for the actual values of other women. It doesn't matter to her what women REALLY feel. It only matters to her what she feels. If other women don't feel that way, we should just ignore them.

The article, in typical homebirth advocacy fashion, is a carnival of falsehoods and lies:

"Up to 98% of US women and/or babies receive iatrogenic injuries."

"The aftermath of birth injury [includes] autism ..."

"...[H]er chances of being damaged or traumatized in birth are probably near 99%."

"Even getting prenatal "care" can be dangerous, with ultrasounds, unnecessary testing and other procedures that can poison the prenatal environment."

If you ever wonder why homebirth is a fringe movement, this is why. Here is the editor of Midwifery Today, the leading trade paper for homebirth advocacy, writing an article that is utterly out of touch with reality. It is factually false, histrionic, and irresponsible. It is demeaning to the vast majority of women because it simply, unapologetically, ignores them.

Not traumatized by childbirth? Well, you should be; Jan Tritten says so and who are you to disagree?


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