Mumsnet has been accused of putting women off natural childbirth with a ‘Tsunami of horror stories’. According to Catriona Jones, who is a lecturer in midwifery at the University of Hull, the rise in Tocophobia (an extreme fear of pregnancy and childbirth) is in part the fault of women sharing their experiences of births that didn’t go to plan on social media.
To me this feels unfair and narrow-minded. To put the blame on women and make it seem as though they are working themselves into a state is sexist. There are many reasons that could explain this rise without resorting to the idea of hysterical women. For one thing women’s health is often neglected and under-researched. Their pain is not taken as seriously as men’s and they are often told their issues are all in their head. Why would this be any different when it comes to labour and childbirth? Rather than blaming women, more should be done to understand why they may feel such panic and fear.
Childbirth can leave women with injuries that are both physical and mental. For some, the trauma they have experienced can leave them feeling isolated, depressed and may even result in PTSD. Sites like Mumsnet give women a space in which they can be honest, open and find other people that can understand what they went through. To discourage women from sharing and supporting one another in this way is wrong. If women are too scared to talk they will end up more isolated and their fears left unaddressed.
The push on natural childbirth also does little to help. Recently the idea that the ‘ideal’ birth is one without medial intervention has become incredibly mainstream. The pressure for women to have a ‘natural’ birth with either minimal or no pain relief is huge. For some women giving birth this way is just not possible. It is crucial that they are not made to feel guilty if they have required help. There is no wrong way to give birth and no woman should ever feel as though they have failed because their experience has differed to that of someone else.
Pushing one method of childbirth can make women feel as though they have no choice. Nobody should be made to give birth in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable. No woman should be left feeling traumatised because they didn’t feel listened to or felt their choices …read more
Source:: The Huffington Post – UK Tec