Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Forgotten History of Hospital Birth

Taking a look back at the history of birth in hospitals, is not a pleasant picture for many, but it is something little people in our society know about today, because when looking for information, pictures, and research during this disgustingly abusive time in history, it seems as though most of it has been erased, hid, or destroyed. There are very few pictures of what was actually done to women from twilight sleep, to restraining women, all the way to the twilight sleep cribs that laboring mothers would be put in. I look back at his as a modern, empowered, mother and feminist, and I wonder how any women, especially the feminists of this time would allow these type of mistreatment of women. Many connected the pain of labor to the sins of Eve during this period of time, so many of the feminists basically said, anything that could take away the pain of birth is what I need, not knowing that the drugs that would be used would also take away their self control, and memory of the event.
While the births of my two children were not the most wonderful experiences, considering they were both major abdominal surgery I had no desire to have, I still as a mother want the memory of their joining out family.

I just cannot see how anyone in the medical community can look back at these pictures, and the way Obstetrics has practiced over the past century and say much positive about it. These pictures are a huge piece of evidence that there were mass amounts of not only abuse but misogynist activity taking place. But it is still happening today, just in a slightly more humane way. So we don't blindfold women, tie them to beds, or let them lay in their own poop and pee for long amounts of time, we just "treat" them with unnecessary medical intervention after medical intervention until all the interventions add up and they land in the operating room for the biggest medical intervention at all.
Choices in Childbirth released the cesarean section rates for some of the New York City hospitals recently, and MORE than a few have c-section rates that reach, and exceed 50%. When we know HALF of the 31.8% of cesarean section births taking place in our country are completely unnecessary.
I am sure there is a huge link between lack of access to VBAC in this area also, and the common misconceptions and flat out lies women are being told about VBAC which discourages them from even considering it as an option, when in reality it is the safest option.

I seem to have got a little off topic, but back to my point. How can we say that hospitals are these shining safe places which all women should be birthing in, when they have such a dark and abusive past?

1 comment:

Janice said...

I would definately agree that lack of VBAC options is a HUGE problem. I was not allowed one unless my baby was under 8lbs (how would they know for sure?) but also having had two previous babies just under and just above 9 lbs and being not well informed, I ended up c section the rest of my pregnancies(5 csections total). Now, due to how high risk it would be for me to get pregnant, we opted to get my tubes tied, nothing that I wanted in my heart. But what choice did I really have? I wasnt going to play russian roulette and perhaps leave my husband to raise our children alone. I get so angry when I hear stories of women getting stuck with the c sections, I hated it and wanted to have a "normal" delivery. We opted c section for our second child due to it being better for him due to a birth defect, that a vaginal delivery would have complicated. Then got stuck with it, UGH!