By Echo Dawndancer
I read Mama Tao’s account of her birth rape yesterday, and I just knew I needed to share my story as well. My story is painful, but I hope that by telling it here, maybe I can save some unsuspecting pregnant woman from being so brutally violated during her birth like I was. My son is now two and a half. Up until he was about a year old, I loved sharing my birth experience with anyone who would listen. I had what I thought was an amazing, empowering birth. Baby boy was born in a freestanding birth center with a midwife. I did it all med-free because I knew that was the best thing I could do for him. I labored in the tub, moved around however I wished, and pushed him out in about 15 minutes with no one bossing me around. My body was made for birth and I was a birthing goddess. Baby nursed right away and we took him home a few hours later. Sounds great, right?
I didn’t realize until much later that by natural birth experience had been tainted and stolen from me by my attending “medwife”. As my son got older and we started spending time out of the house in playgroups with other moms, I started hearing about the natural births other women were having. I started thinking more about my birth, and remembered that when I was about 9cm dilated and 90% effaced, my medwife mentioned that she was going to break my water to help me get to 10cm and ready to push. At the time I didn’t think about it. I know now that this was an unnecessary intervention. She didn’t even give me a chance to say no, and I wasn’t in any state to say no even if I wanted to. I was so completely violated by my medwife for no reason at all, and I was devastated that it took me over a year to even realize that it had happened!
Breaking my water wasn’t needed and it wasn’t asked for. Everything would have been just fine if my medwife had only allowed me to continue birthing naturally. My baby probably would have been born in the caul. I’ve done a lot of research since discovering my birth rape, and I’ve learned that babies born in the caul typically hit their milestones earlier, have higher IQ, and are more confident and likable that their peers. They're usually clairvoyant as well. My medwife not only violated my body during my birth, but she may have cause permanent damage to my son by not allowing him to be born the way he was supposed to be. Now, every time he throws a tantrum or writes a letter backwards, I find myself wondering, “Is this happening as a result of my birth rape?”
My birth rape has had a profound effect on me. After coming to terms with the fact that my birth experience was not as wonderful as I had once thought, I became depressed and no longer felt as attached to my little boy. I apologize to my son every single day for what happened. I just wish someone would do the same for me. My chiropractor diagnosed me with Post Traumatic Birth Stress Disorder and has put me on a homeopathic remedy that has helped me to cope with my negative emotions. But my bond with my son will never be the same. My advice to pregnant women? Don’t let anyone come near you when you’re in labor. No one. Not even the baby’s daddy. You never know when they might try to take away your autonomy just because they can. And if they do, you may be dealing with the after-effects for the rest of your life.
*Name has been changed to protect victim