Birth trauma haunts parents, prompting calls for a new system of midwifery care | ABC News


I think the basis of the previous
birth, having all that support has made going into this one, not be something
I’m afraid of. When I chose to go with a midwife over an obstetrician, it almost
felt like I was maybe doing something quite different or alternative. They keep
you informed and they keep you supported and they always yeah, acting in your
best interest I suppose, that was probably a big part of it. Terrifying. Yeah that’s probably the best word when
I think back to it. Oh I was nervous but I’m one of five so I figured if my mum
could do five I could definitely do one. We were quite naive going into it and
didn’t think that anything could actually go wrong. I think that it’s a huge, huge issue. Most
women experience some sort of challenge in their birth when they’re having their
first baby. Now whether that turns into a traumatic experience or not is dependent
upon who’s caring for them and where they’re being cared for. Birth trauma
might be different things to different people. For some people it may be that
they’ve had a fourth-degree tear right into their rectum but for other people
they can feel quite traumatised if their delivery didn’t go the way they planned
even though there were no external appearances of what people traditionally
call trauma it can be psychological trauma as well. There is very much a
disrespectful culture in birth that women are coerced, they’re bullied, we
hear of women being yelled at, forced into procedures they don’t really want,
there is lack of informed consent. This is what should be considered like sacred
time and these women are being treated really disrespectfully, So I had a really long labour, I think it
was like 36 hours all up and she was also back on back, so my back pain was
just like unbelievably bad. And so it was after I’d had her I was bleeding behind
my placenta so it didn’t seem that bad like once I had her up until the couple
of minutes it takes for the placenta to be delivered and then there was the rush
and the panic. When you know that doctors and nurses know what they’re doing and
you sort of see them panic I think that’s the scary part of it. My uterus
had, just it was exhausted, it had just given up and it wasn’t contracting back
down by itself so they did have to manually do that. When she got rushed
away, I like had a split second decision to stay
with Harper or go with Jess. Bub was healthy, everything was fine, it was going
with Jess was the hard part. Once the theater room’s door shut yeah, that was pretty well it, yeah. I remember when a midwife was pushing on my stomach to contract my uterus back down, I had said it hurt and she was
hurting me and she’d told me that I’d die if she didn’t do it.
So things like that are yeah things that just will probably stick with me forever. I think Australia can stand proud in the
international community and say things like our maternal mortality rates are
amongst the world’s best, we can say that our perinatal mortality rates for babies
are amongst the world’s best, we do great work with very, very small babies with
premature babies with early babies and we’re quite proud of those statistics.
But I think there’s always room for improvement because a birth, someone’s
delivery is one of the most important days in their lives and it’s certainly a
huge day in the life of mothers and fathers everywhere in the world. I think the thing is that women now are
actually realising that their experience matters that it’s not just the women
that have experienced something that has been highly horrific, it’s actually their
own feelings in their birth, that if they identify it personally as being
traumatic then it’s traumatic. It’s really hard to put into words some of
the stuff that I have read from women from not being able to bond with their
baby to marriage breakdowns, women having to give up their jobs because it is so
debilitating, when they’ve got PTSD or PND from a combination of things but
birth trauma is a contributing factor. We need to consider not just the emotional
and physical impacts on mum but the economic impacts for us as a society. I
think it is a huge contributing factor in things like depression and mental
health problems. After birth women often feel upset that they don’t feel the same
attachment to their baby as they expect that they should, they feel very guilty
about their feelings around their birth and that leads them to have extreme
difficulty and mothering their babies. And look that is, I think our
biggest problem because really the early mothering period is the period where we
lay down everything for the mother’s well-being and for the babies well-being. I guess the love of your kids will make
you go back. Dan really wanted a second one. He said to me we’re such good
parents that we should have more and even though it was a terrifying decision
to make it was the best decisions, so yeah. Well I think we did it well as a
team, we discussed it, it wasn’t a split-second decision to go back again.
My anxiety was a lot higher the second time around which is why I was suggested, to you know see someone and have more support around. We know that more and
more women are seeking out a continuity midwifery carer, we know that has
higher satisfactions. If we were to make this about women, that’s what women want, like having that known Midwife. It floors me so much that we can see 20
different care providers and still think that that’s an OK way to treat women. We
would never see it in other areas. Making sure that a woman sees the same Midwife throughout the whole of her labour is expensive. For people in the public
system where they may see a different person at each visit to try to allocate
so that they only see the same person becomes very expensive and the question
is how do we as a community decide we are going to afford that. Unfortunately
you know I get that government sort of see that they’ve only got a finite
bucket of money. So we need funding reform quite desperately to look at the
whole episode of care really and to see women through from beginning of
pregnancy right through to that six-week period after birth. The difference between both births, there
was a lot more communication in the second birth to the first, so I was a lot
less panicked. As much as it’s all about the birth and the delivery, I think how you are cared for leading up to it and then after is really important as well because it gets even more challenging after you have the baby. you