Childbirth is an experience that’s almost impossible to describe. The combination of exhilarating joy and agonizing pain that ultimately leads to the arrival of a brand new life is a reminder of the beauty of nature, so to speak (cue The Lion King soundtrack).
I have given birth twice, once a quickie three hour labor that was pretty much over before it began and the other a 19 ½ hour marathon that involved pitocin and epidurals. There were highs and lows in both, of course, but I will always equate childbirth first and foremost with the treasure that was placed into my hands rather than the (considerable) physical pain.
While there have been studies conducted on a connection between childbirth and conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder and postpartum depression (and discussions about whether or not dads should do their pacing right in the delivery room), a new exacerbation of the typical pain of labor and delivery with what is being known as “birth rape” is becoming more widely discussed.
From Australia’s The Age:
Examples of birth rape include internal vaginal examinations without consent, breaking membranes without consent and inserting of forceps and other instruments into the vagina against the mother’s wishes.
Some women who claim to have experienced birth rape describe incidents where doctors or midwives made belittling and degrading comments when they could not birth fast enough, stitching lacerations without anaesthetic and inserting catheters without warning.
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