Monday, August 19, 2013

Thoughts on Maternity Care

I am completely disappointed in, even disgusted by, this country's maternity care standards. I just don't even know what to say, so I'm going to dump my thoughts.

Papa is a photographer, and he took maternity photos for a woman. I met her, congratulated her, gave her my number if she ever needed anything. Pretty standard interaction. She called me Saturday, bawling that she couldn't sleep, was ha
ving trouble nursing, and other new parent woes. I headed over to see her yesterday and she told me about her delivery. She was induced unnecessarily. The baby was "too big", born at a whopping 7 pounds 10 ounces. She had to have a c-section because she did not dilate on the pitocin. Baby was taken directly to a nursery and given formula against her wishes. Nurses were rude, one telling her she would not be able to breastfeed because she had a c-section, another even telling her she was "too large" to breastfeed successfully. The hospital had no lactation consultants on staff. She left feeling degraded, a failure.

But my complaints are not only with the hospital's actions. She had come home to no support. No one bringing meals, no one offering newborn care information, no one to help around the house, no one to help her care for herself and heal from surgery. Her husband is home with her, but has to go back to work on Wednesday. Mother will be left ALONE with a week old baby. Exhaustion is real. Postpartum depression is real, and very scary.

What kind of society are we that this treatment of mothers and newborns is normal? I know that more and more women are standing up for themselves and their rights to birth how they want to, that more women are enlisting the help of doulas, that more women are building communities and caring for one another. Sadly, this is not the norm yet. Sadly, many expecting mothers don't even know these options are out there.

I beg of you, reach out to the people you meet. Spread kindness and compassion and support. The world needs it so badly. The mothers and babies need it so badly.

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