a.My theory (very briefly) is that whilst a technocratic birth culture is undoubtedly a major culprit, there is something deeper underlying the problem. Like many women, when I became pregnant, I read everything I could get my hands to prepare for birth. I was particularly seduced by the "natural" birth rhetoric which convinced me that I was "designed" to give birth, that I should trust birth, trust my body, and distrust the doctors who simply wanted to interfere and take control of my experience. I believed that as a fit healthy young woman who had educated myself about birth I would be able to be in control, and have the "natural" birth I wanted. I would be (as one home birth advocate put it) a "birthing goddess" 7 years on I look back at my two c-sections and one miscarriage and wonder if this rhetoric isn't doing some harm. I do not doubt that too many women experience a cascade of interventions that are entirely unnecessary and that these interventions can often be blamed for the subsequent trauma, but the fact is, that for a small number of women, interventions ARE necessary, and that these women end up feeling inadequate. Birth has failed them, their bodies have failed them, and if they were not "designed" to give birth then what kind of mother (what kind of woman) does that make them? When we place such a high value on "birthing goddesses" who sail through their ecstatic water births without so much as an asprin, what message are we sending to those whose experience of birth is very different? So basically I'm wondering if this is merely my own experience, or whether feelings of failure and inadequacy are common in those suffering from birth trauma. I'm also keen to get my hands on any statistics that are available. Is birth trauma on the rise? Are these usually highly medicalised births? Do women's initial expectations of birth have some role to play, is there a particular demographic of woman who are more or less susceptible to birth trauma. Any input or suggestions of reading material would be very much appreciated! Thanks!"
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"I ended up with a section (I dilated less than 4 cm in 50 hours). She was back to back, and apparently with her head twisted in such a way that she couldn't descend. In the end I just caved in - I was exhausted and in agony (the epidural stopped having any effect). I cried all the way to theatre. I couldn't blame it on the medical staff who were actually incredibly supportive, so instead I blamed myself. I felt that my body had betrayed me. I think I saw birth as a kind of competition or marathon or a performance - one that if I trained hard enough for - I would walk away with the trophy to a round of applause. (I used to be a dancer so perhaps this explains it). I just couldn't believe that had failed at it. This is why I wondered if feelings of failure are commonly associated with birth trauma, and why it is that women (perhaps just western women used to having a degree of control over their lives), feel the need to assign blame when things go wrong. That's not to say that there isn't someone to blame (as there often is), just that I think that perhaps we find it difficult to accept the idea that sometimes, certain things are beyond our control."