28 Apr 50 Ways to Scare a Mother
I came across this video on YouTube. I encourage all expectant moms to take 3 minutes and 3 seconds out of their day to watch it.
What I think is really scary about this video is how much truth is revealed about the practices of birth in our society. The video demonstrates the many ways a mother is pressured and frightened into accepting a variety of different interventions that may or may not be necessary, but have become commonplace in today’s births. The message seems to be clear: If the mother doesn’t accept these interventions, she is doing something wrong and it will hurt her baby. I have heard, on occasion, nurses and doctors saying, “We need to have full-time external fetal monitoring to make sure your baby is ok.” When in fact, there is evidence supporting the contrary, that full time EFM can lead to unnecessary cesarean birth. Or statements like “If you don’t take your epidural now, you may not be able to get it later.” Or “You can’t push your baby out, there is not enough room, your baby is too big”. All of these statements – that were probably not made with malicious intent – diminish a woman’s confidence that she is capable of birthing her own child without a cascade of interventions.
More importantly, how can we as a society, especially mothers, step away from the fear that our bodies are broken and not allow this mindset to be passed on to our daughters? In the past 10 years the U.S. national cesarean rate has increased 37%.. Twenty five years ago, cesarean births made up 17.8% of births. Today, we will find that about one mother in three is now giving birth by c-section, a record level for the United States. What will the situation be like in 25 years for the mothers who are being born now?
Hopefully at some point this trend will change, and birth will become an opportunity for a woman to feel supported and empowered by her choices – not scared.