“I knew I wasn’t insane but until I met ******* I thought I was the only one who could see things clearly.  The end to that isolation is a relief beyond words.”

I should have had the right to decide where I want my scars and stitches”

“If you like who you are right now don’t have children.  That person will disappear completely and the only one who will give a damn she is gone is you.”

“If I had the means to kill myself during labour and delivery I would have.  I understand now how life can be so terrible that death looks better by comparison.  That gained knowledge is something I wish I didn’t have.”

“I felt nothing for my baby.  I never let on but it took months to form any sort of bond and even now I can look at him and feel waves of anger and pain.  What has helped me is to talk to myself about how he was an innocent victim of what happened just like I was.”

“It wasn’t about empowerment at all and I’m glad you are exposing that myth.  For me it was the opposite.  It was about breaking me until I was submissive and obedient.  Good little patients are grateful, do as they are told and don’t talk back.”

“I was too sick and broken to want to hold my baby.  My husband kept poking me and telling me to smile.  It wasn’t love I felt, it was hatred.”

‘The stench of hypocrisy was everywhere.  I knew that what they did to me is not what they would want done to themselves.  They knew it too but not one would lift a finger to help me.  They were all too busy ignoring the elephant in the room.”

“It was like walking into Stepford, Connecticut.  They didn’t look like Stepford wives but they talked like it.”

“If having babies is supposed to empower women how come my Mom is poor and has no self esteem?”

“It wasn’t about how I felt.  It was about how they felt and what they needed.”

“This will be the third vaginal/anal surgery I’ve had since having my baby five years ago.  I hope you can save women from my hell.”

“It’s pretty bad when you are so immobilized by pain that you can’t even cry.”

“Women need to stop the birth-mum guerilla war sniping about who is giving in to 'myths' and who is 'too posh' to handle pain, blah blah blah. This is an issue of choice -- part of the overall package of women’s-right-to-choose. Pure and simple. Some women, for whatever reasons, choose no pain relief, some choose certain types of relief, others choose full medicated births. We should be eschewing all in-fighting among women on this and fight for all choices to be freely available without pressure or guilt-tripping from anyone.”

“There were three of them between my legs stitching me up.  I could feel it but I was told it was all in my head because I was numb.  It took a long time for them to finish and then they brought my husband over, had show and tell over my private parts and the job they did and then asked him if he was happy with the job they did.  Not once was I asked for my consent or was my humiliation even acknowledged.  I haven’t been near a doctor, nurse or hospital since and I will never.  Being dead is better than that.”

“As soon as I can make my own money again I will file for divorce.”

“On pain relief in labour I should possibly point out that we have it a little better here compared to Holland (where I was born). Yesterday their Royal College for Obs and Gynie came out with the statement that 'every woman had the right to pain relief in labour'. In 2008. Yes, you are reading that right.
And apparently the majority of professionals in the field of maternity services over there think that pain promotes bonding with one's baby. Eh????”

“Everything I was told as a girl and young woman about marriage and motherhood was a lie.  You will be used and abused by the very people – including your kids and your husband – you expected to trust.  It is a long way to fall.”

“When I was pregnant, I felt very threatened by the way in which pain relief, caesareans and bottle-feeding were constantly disparaged both in the media and by midwives, and certainly phrases such as "too posh to push" reinforce the sense that maternity policies are about judging women rather than deciding what's best for their health and that of their babies. I also resent criticism of the "medicalisation" of childbirth, particularly as having a brain-damaged sibling made me all too aware of what a lack of thorough medical attention in childbirth can do.”

“Pain relief should be an automatic human right. I was put through agony during very serious complications when a doctor REFUSED pain relief. He said it was medically wrong, no discussion. Later, I asked a second opinion. 'Oh', said second opinion, 'there's nothing medically wrong with pain relief. They just don't like doing it.' Don't like doing it? Don't like doing it? What on earth has that got to do with it? How would he like it if I took a 6 kg weight and pounded it on his willy for 7 hours?  Thanks to honest people like you, I have one myth less in regard to treatment of pregnant women. I find it absolutely abhorrent that they can REFUSE pain relief. I think it should be possible to sue them for it. Grievous bodily harm.”

“Everything must be done to make labour as least painful and as short as possible so the experience actually don't scar women (there was a report recently that some of those opting for elective cesarean are actually scared, rather than "too posh to push", whichever sadist moron ever came with this stupid phrase). I think also that because it is "'bout wimmin" nobody really gives two shits and it is acceptable to suffer pain. All this glorification of "natural childbirth" is quite dangerous. One can have less pain with the same result, so why put women through it?! Shouldn't they demand more money from state for pain-relief provision as well, not just training midwives?”

“Statistics are like people.  If you torture them enough you can get them to say anything”

“If I have to hand over control of my body to a hospital I’d rather do so for surgery than for labour and delivery.  Pain relief for surgery and post surgery is considered a quality indicator and they don’t have any excuse they can use to disrespect your right to privacy during surgery (unless you have general anesthesia) because you can stick up for yourself.  In labour and delivery they do both and it is up to the whim of whoever is there at the time and many of them can’t be trusted, and can never be trusted,  just like any other stranger can’t be trusted.  Trust me, I know this.  I have worked too many deliveries and gyno surgeries afterward to ever want to be a patient in any hospital I’ve worked in.”

“The baby website told me to contact my dr. for help with my PTSD and depression symptoms.  WTF.  That is as stupid as telling a holocaust survivor to find a nice Nazi psychiatrist.  Totally clueless.  Didn’t do anything for my well placed cynicism.”

“My advice to anyone contemplating motherhood - Beware of the propaganda childbirth websites and books.  Some are just jaw-dropping bad and full of disregard for women.  They wouldn’t know evidence-based medicine if it bit them on their bums but that doesn’t stop them from ranting as if they did.  My advice is not to ignore your built in bullshit detector.  If it sounds like it isn’t true to you it is because it isn’t and it’s not you it’s them.”

“Prenatal courses were worse than a total waste of time.  They were all about competitive suffering and disparaging women.  Mine was taught by a sanctimonious twenty something who didn’t have kids.  I left after she told the woman who asked about the pain ‘You may feel some discomfort”. 

“It appears that the Twilight Sleep era produced a generation of mothers with no memory of childbirth and the ‘natural’ childbirth proponents that have controlled things since have produced a generation of women that do remember.  And they are telling their daughters.  Who can blame them?  Mothers just want to protect their kids.”

“Pregnancy, labour and delivery ARE NOT healthy.  Every hospital and midwife who spouts this willfully mendacious statement should be sued.”

“I don't regret having children, but I do regret giving up so much of my life for them. And as an adult, I see my own mom struggling to find herself after having devoted so much of her life to my three sisters and I. And how do we thank our mom, by snipping at her on holidays and not coming home if something better comes along and by not realizing how special she is as a woman and not just as our mom. If someone wants to give up everything for her children, than so be it. But I guarantee that life will greatly disappoint her as she lays dying. Does her family know her for anything but a mother. But aren't we all more than one-dimensional?”

“I am so ashamed of myself”

“I had children 20 years ago - I couldn't wait - that is the one thing I desired as a child - is to be a mother - When I look at the world today and everyone is so judgemental on who is a good mom vs. bad mom. How everyone is so competative with their children and how everyone is need of the "perfect" child scares me to death - I always wanted to be a grandmother - but I hear my children constantly say how scared they are of society”

“1)Once you're a mother, you can never stop being a mother. Read: Never. And, you'll worry. Always.
2)There's no guarantee they'll be around or even care about you when your "older". Your grown kids may even dislike you.
In your old age, your comfort level could still be left to the care of strangers.
3)If you don't parent the same way after you have kids-you'll have a very strong dislike for your husband. Unfortunately, you'll never know until you have kids. Then it's too late.
4)You can be as involved in their life and education as much as possible UNTIL their friends intervene. Who they hang with in middle and high school can completely unravel even the best parenting that has ever been done.
5)You'll never get back any of the money spent on therapy.”

 “First, do no harm.  Yah, right.”

“The anesthesiologist wouldn’t give me an epidural because he didn’t feel I had suffered enough yet.”

“Both nurses told me to go without an epidural because the anesthesiologist working that night only gave weak, ineffective ones that wouldn’t do anything.  Shouldn’t they be reporting that sort of thing?” 

“My vaginal delivery was a surgical birth.  What’s more, every one in my prenatal class who had vaginal deliveries was surgical births.  Thank you for not ignoring that reality.   My crotch looked like a horrible industrial accident.”

“I was the circus attraction, the human curiosity, displayed for the growing crowd’s amusement.  I was their prisoner and their fix for they were as needy of my dependence and suffering as any drug addict is for their drug.”

“I was ashamed of myself for not doing better.  I can’t stop re-playing in my mind how I could do better.”

“I expected and was prepared (and giddy with excitement) for big changes in my lifestyle but I wasn’t expecting or prepared to have the very fibre of me damaged irreparably.”

“I was forced to dance with pain, madness and death by demented choreographers.”

“It hasn’t been taboo to talk about domestic and other violence against women for many years, yet it persists.  Do you really think the same won’t continue to happen in maternity care if you give women a voice?  You are very naïve.  Let me tell you about what passes for humour in obstetrical circles.  One OB/Gyn to another – I spend the first part of my career supporting the perineum and the second part of my career being supported by it.  Meaning they earn big money delivering babies and then even bigger money later on when they try to fix pelvic floor problems.  You aren’t going to change anything when the people in charge think this is guffaw worthy and you aren’t going to change anything when there is money to be made.  I admire the fact that you have the courage to try but I personally don’t think you are going to change anything.  If women want to avoid birth trauma they should avoid pregnancy.”

“The experience shattered me and I shut down emotionally.”

“I would describe the OB I had as C4.  Crude, Callous, Cold, Conceit.” 

“Brain washing requires dependency on the agent.  It involves compliance, persuasion and thought reform.  Do it this way and you will feel good/happy/healthy/successful.  Do it because we say it is the right thing to do.  Do it my way because you are wrong and I am right and I have power over you.  Throw in some isolation, pain, sleep deprivation and the inability to think critically and independently. Sounds just like my childbirth experience.”

“Now I know why I need to turn light switches off twice to feel safe and why I lock the doors before bed and then get up to lock them again before I feel safe.  Everything needs to be in its place or I don’t feel good.”

“I rarely leave my home anymore.  Incontinence supplies cost about $20 every week.  If  I live to be 90 that will cost me $57,200.00.”

“My experience can be summed up this way:  32 hours of the most horrible, excruciating pain imaginable, followed by one and a half hours in the OR for surgery to put me back together, followed by 2 days of hospital hell – no sleep, lots of pain, ice packs, sitz baths, those awful squirt bottles, catheters, not allowed to shower, etc. -, followed by 3 weeks of hell at home, followed by another 4 weeks when it seemed I would never recover where I looked and felt like shit, followed by a year where I still tried hard to recover but knew in my heart that I never would, followed by my acceptance of the fact I could no longer function without anti-depressants.”

“I learned that trust must be earned and not automatically expected.  Decide months after your baby is born whether they can be trusted, not before.”

“I was afraid to say no to having medical students present because I was afraid they wouldn’t give me an epidural if I said NO and I was afraid they would repair me badly if I said NO.”

“It’s been two years and I still can’t believe I survived.”

“I don’t want to have children who will inevitably treat me as badly as I treated my good Mom.  I don’t want my mother’s life.” 

“I so want to thank you for pointing out that re-construction after a vaginal birth IS surgery.  It was a horrible, horrible experience that I will carry with me until I stop breathing.  I still have problems related to the amount of scar tissue.  I feel so bad for the thousands of women who need more vaginal surgery later on.  I hope, hope, hope I am not one of them.”