Birth Trauma Canada is an organization of mothers who have had negative childbirth experiences. Traumatic stress disorders and depression are expected reactions to severe physical and/or psychological stress.
Many women have negative childbirth experiences and they are often dismissed or ignored as they struggle with the same emotions other traumatized people cope with. They aren’t given the same respect as other trauma victims and they are often made to feel weak and/or crazy when they are – most emphatically – neither. Strong, confident women can be traumatized. As an organization our goals are:
- to give women a voice. Silence is acquiescence and when women band together they are a formidable force for change. There must be an opportunity for women to voice their concerns if they are unsatisfied with their obstetrical treatment.
- to support women traumatized by negative childbirth experiences. Often having an empathetic person who has also experienced what they have been through is a good step towards recovery. Everyone who volunteers with Birth Trauma Canada has had a negative childbirth experience – some with PTSD and/or long term physical disabilities – so women who contact us know that they are not alone. We support women in a non-judgmental, woman centered way that puts the woman in control of her recovery. Their privacy is always respected. We find these women need to have a meaningful way to express their anger and they need validation and acknowledgement that they are not abnormal or alone.
- to advocate for better obstetrical treatment and attitudes that genuinely reflect women’s choices and needs. We recognize that every woman is an individual and that her requests should be given first priority. Every woman has the right to honest, unbiased information ideally before she gets pregnant (and certainly before she delivers) and that certainly doesn’t happen now.
Women who have negative and traumatizing childbirth experiences are subjected to discrimination and shame by the obstetrical community, public health authorities, general society, the media and often by their own families. Mothers are justifiably reluctant to discuss the psychological damage of childbirth because they don’t want to be labeled abnormal or crazy. They also don’t want their babies taken away. They are justifiably reluctant to talk about the short and long term physical consequences of childbirth because they don’t want to be labeled as weak or selfish. They are understandably reluctant to trust medical authorities and often cut ties with them or treat their credibility with a great deal of skepticism. Isolation and avoidance are means to protect their privacy and ensure no one else hurts them.
This situation is just wrong.
BTCanada gives mothers a safe, anonymous and private way to have their voices heard. We know they are good mothers. Please listen to them. They have a lot to teach us.
Follow us on Twitter @BTCanada