[WARNING: descriptions of obstetric rape and PTSD]
At Jezebel, Jessica writes: Is Having A Baby A Traumatic Event?
A new survey says that 9% of postpartum women suffer from post traumatic stress disorder. You know, the same disorder that Iraq vets and plane crash survivors get. Something does not compute here,[…]
Have we become so precious and hyper-conscious that something women have been doing for time immemorial is now ranked alongside war as a painful event?[…]
Certainly, having a bowling ball of a baby shooting out your vag isn’t a picnic for anyone, but the hysteria surrounding something so matter-of-fact is troubling.
“Hysteria”. Yes, “hysteria”. She went there. She used the prime misogynist slam against women, blaming wandering uteruses. Unbefuckingllievable.
I’m only surprised there wasn’t a “princess” or a “delicate flower” thrown in there too. Or maybe a few accusations of insurance fraud, hm? That would just put the icing on the hateful cake.
Get back to me when you’ve been stripped, dehumanised, isolated, forcibly starved, and strapped to a table for 12 or more hours during the hardest work of your life. Get back to me when you’ve been subjected to a series of non-emergency procedures on your body with neither consent nor medical justification. Get back to me when you’ve been imprisoned in hospital.
Get back to me when you’ve been held down by two or three people while someone – or more than one someone – pushes their fingers into your vagina while you say “No”. Get back to me when you’ve been screaming “NOOOO! STOP!!!” and been ignored while someone cuts your body open and shoves metal forceps into you. Get back to me when you’ve been strapped to a table and operated on and had your protestations about the anaesthetic not working being ignored. Get back to me when you’re left bleeding and vomiting on a table, without access to help, wondering if you’re bleeding to death, and you’ve had your newborn baby taken away from you without explanation or good reason except an over-the-shoulder “we don’t have enough staff right now”.
Get back to me when you’ve spent months of your life – the months you thought would be a joyful, perhaps sleep-deprived, milky daze – having violent flashbacks and nightmares. Shambling through the day barely able to function, unable to bond with your newborn. Bursting into tears and panic attacks many times a day. Avoiding public places lest you suddenly start sobbing and need to run. Not able to have anyone touch you.
Get back to me when you’re hunched in a corner, unable to work, unable to care for yourself, unable to speak, and all anyone can say to you is “All that matters is a live baby”.
I hope you never experience these things. Because they can be horrifying, life-changing, deeply traumatic events. The only promise I can make you is that I won’t call you “precious” or “hysterical” if you’re ever in this terrible position.
Medical assault is assault. Obstetric rape is rape. Trauma is trauma. Some people who have experienced these things get PTSD.
And it’s not up to you, or anyone else, to instruct them that they haven’t – especially in explicitly woman-hating terms.
You don’t get to judge.
No, no, no, no, no.