Birth Trauma / Obstetric Violence Awareness

I was a new mum to be, I was so excited to hold my baby, the pregnancy had been so challenging, especially as we had waited so many years to conceive (being an Endometriosis sufferer).  Throughout the pregnancy we’d had some scares and I suffered with hyperemesis gravidarum (severe pregnancy sickness that can include hospitalisation as mine did).

But we were nearly there now, well slightly over what was an ‘expected’ due date, but I didn’t care anymore… We were nearly there! We had nearly made it!

Talks with my husband, imaginations of walking down the street, pushing our new blessing and fantasy talks of how life would be.  Never were there any talks of labour, or what to expect, it was just a natural process of going into motherhood, I had assumed. I mean no one likes to talk about the ‘scary stories’, the ‘near death experiences’, because let’s be honest, why on earth would you want to scare a new mother to be like that!

So the day came and passed, induction was on the cards, no caring what that was, I just wanted to meet my baby! I trusted the professionals.  The minute I walked through those hospital doors, I dropped my bags, those bags contained… My dignity, my wants and my life!

After all, I had never done this before, what was I to know.

From the offset, everything about my birth was unnatural. I was coaxed to have pain relief, I was coerced to ‘speed up’ pushing and I was slowly convinced I could not birth alone. Pressurised into things I didn’t really want, or didn’t really understand.  I mean my baby wasn’t making his way down, and when people start to look scared, you hand yourself over.  Anything to get my baby out into my arms please!!

36 hours or more later and you are exhausted, your mind has gone, your body is dead, you can not push any more, drugged to the eyeballs… just do what you want.

Being rushed down to the theatre room, an instrumental delivery was to entail, the ventouse failed and so a forcep delivery it was to be.  Legs up in stirrups, I still remember to this day from the 28th June 2009, as the surgeon rolled my body over to the left hand side, leaving my right leg strapped to the stirrup, my whole body turned by my leg remained in the same straight position… Ouch!?  Of course I couldn’t feel a thing, so many doses of epidural later, but yet that image and that motion, stays in my memory.  It was placed there for a reason, and that reason was soon to unfold.

The surgeon was in a rush, it had been a long night, I had been told repeatedly he was run off his feet with Cesarean Sections and was ‘squeezing’ me in.  Finally!! My beautiful baby boy arrived.

As the epidural was wearing off, I had never felt pain like I did then in my life and I had just given birth! I screamed and screamed and screamed.

I don’t need to go into the nitty, gritty details of how my life went from the moment of bliss to the moment of blackness.  Days passed, the pain was beyond belief, I was taken to the private room as the days unfolded and the nightmare began, whilst my beautiful baby lied beside me unaware.

I was left with right leg paralysis, never to know if I would ever walk again, my anatomy was so mutilated, it took months to ease.  I needed reconstructive surgery a year later, after I went through a year of severe trauma and physiotherapy to help me walk again. Post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and psychotic behaviour became my emotional best-friends.

Those beginning stages of excitement and joy of being a ‘new mother’… well they were consumed with everything but those ‘blissful’ emotions.

Why?  Why me? Why couldn’t I do it like everyone else? Why do I no longer feel like a woman?

I did successfully sue the NHS and over time in 2015, the surgeon who violated and destroyed my body was eventually removed from ever working again, not from my case but unfortunately from many other women who had been traumatised by him as well.  This didn’t help my healing process, but it sure helped other women from not being under his hands.

Here is my Poem dedicated to #BirthTraumaAwareness as we make a #Movement to end #ObstetricViolence.

Congratulations, you’re a new mother she said…

As I looked at this pure innocent face, how I have truly been blessed.

A few hours on, put him on your breast she said…

As I lay there wishing I was just dead!

What’s wrong? Are you OK? What’s happening, she said…

As the excruciating pain kicks in, my whole body explodes and I start going out of my head.

Nights, hours, days pass, they run around all looking ‘We just can’t understand it’ they said…

As I lay there mutilated instead.

Its OK, it will take time, let’s give you some painkillers she said…

After they tell me ‘You may never walk again’! How am I supposed to get that through my head.

Weeks later, no improvement.  Your get there sweetheart, just be grateful and focus on your baby she said…

As I no longer feel like a woman with my genitals mutilated I turn my head.  Looking at my peaceful bundle, my emotions are dead!!

Sit down, were give you some counselling, have you spoken to your husband she said…

As I lay there looking at my husband’s beautiful face and I kiss his forehead, Leave me! Find someone new, this is better for you instead!

Whilst I lay there wishing I was anywhere but confined to this bed…

I am a new mother, what have I done to deserve this I said, how can I be mutilated, paralysed and not dead!!

Hold my hand baby, your get up and your walk, your lift yourself up and be a good mum, my husband he said…

As I gather the strength and I lift my head, I stand up take a step I’ve been through more than this, I’m a survivor I said!

It’s been successful, congratulations, they said, your operation went well but it will take time to heal, so go easy on yourself, oh you’ve done so well, you’ve still got a good life ahead…

As I walk out of the hospital after the vaginal surgery, they did…

I look at my husband, I kiss my baby’s forehead and I say ‘I will fight this instead’ for no woman has to make a sacrifice for no one I said!!

News Reports from the Surgeon in question, when he was removed from practising:

Written by Mayameen Meftahi – Founder & Survivor
Live Experience of Birth Trauma / Obstetric Violence