The Geboortebeweging (the Dutch Birth Movement)’s social media campaign, #genoeggezwegen, to #breakthesilence about birth trauma has been touching me, both as a mother and a birth worker. Sadly enough, it does not surprise me because I have been there, too. I have shed tears, for myself, for the birthing woman, for all women who have to go through interventions which they did not wish for and which damage their physical and emotional integrity. This blog is my way of breaking the silence, of coming out and of trying to make sense of birth trauma.

When I look at these testimonials, I recognize the common pain that lies in the heart of birth trauma, the pain that comes from:


Powerlessness

I was prepared. I had a home birth. I was in my space, in my power. My favorite midwife was there; my trusted doula was there; my beloved husband was there. Everything was going well, up until the moment I asked my midwife to help me during a tough pushing phase. I did not know that this would mean I would lie on the bed, and that she would ‘take over’. I asked her to help me, not to take my power away. There I was, lying there, hopelessly trying to push in pain. I felt powerless. I shouted that I felt powerless.


Silence

Nobody heard. They heard me; I was shouting. But nobody said anything. Nobody helped. Nobody gave me a hand to stand up and to go back to my place of power.


Loneliness

I was so alone – me & my baby. I knew he was ok; I knew he was strong. But I guess they did not believe me. Otherwise, why was there such a rush?


Lack of consent

It took me more than a year to realize that the fact that I trusted my midwife did not mean I gave her the permission to do everything. It took me conversations with other brave women to realize that my midwife did not ask if she may cut me. And for that lack of consent, I felt, feel, and will feel mutilated.


Lack of recognition

No, I was not silent. I talked about my birth, with those who were at my birth. It hurt, every time I felt that my story was not recognized. That there was fear, concerns, hurry in their stories. I wasn’t afraid; I wasn’t concerned; I wasn’t in a hurry. This was my birth and my birth story.


Break the silence.

Your story,

every women’s birthing story,

needs to be

told,

heard, and

healed from within.