Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Confessions of a Birth Rape Survivor who Calls Bullshit

© 2011 Lynn Heinisch  

Lynn provides perspective into the often dismissed darkness of birth rape, PTSD and the intense healing journey after an unwanted medical intervention during birth. The following passage may be triggering.

“I'm so conflicted. I'm also very torn. It's part of my nature you see, as I'm a Pisces. My body is bound with rope by two fish pulling me in opposite directions all the time.

Right now I am torn on two things: my need to learn and my need to revel in the joy of my son.

You see, I love to learn. I love to read. I love to know. But, in this instance it's hard for me to read about what I want to learn about, namely, Natural Child Birth. I read about something or even SEE those green medical scrubs and I freak out. So do I stop learning because of my fright? Because of my trauma? It's a hard place to be as a woman. There are some people who think shock treatment is the way to go. But I've tried it and it just isn't right for me. I have problems watching any 'childbirth' that isn't natural. And I will lump ALL hospital births in there.


Because it's not natural to have an IV, to have a continuous EFM and to have to lie on your back. And I can hear people now, "Well, I had a natural child birth in a hospital." Great! Good for you. But I'd wager to say you were a rare thing. Over 30% of babies are born via cesarean section. About 60% of labors are augmented, including section babies. And EFM (electronic fetal monitoring) can reach close to 95% in some states. But I digress. This is about me, not you.

Why is it hard for me to watch hospital births? Mostly because I am enlightened by my own experience.

You know the people who have just found Jesus? They scream it on mountaintops and wear the "Jesus loves me!" hats. They have the bumper sticker that says, "My boss is a Jewish Carpenter!”

That is how I feel about birth. And many people think I'm wrong or mean or . . .stupid. And I get that. But here's where they are different from me. I have the knowledge AND the experience. And I am trying to share that knowledge and impart some understanding of my experience. I am outraged because I fell prey and I don't want that to happen to another person on this earth. So that is why I can't watch those bullshit shows. Because I cry, because I know the traps, because I see women set up to fail. Then when they are exhausted and whittled down to nothing, they are given bottles of formula to undermine their milk production.

So I'm walking a delicate rope. I need to know more. I need to be armed. But arming myself upsets me. And it's getting worse. I think it's getting worse because my beautiful Little Man will be one in two weeks. It's so easy for me to think back to where I was a year ago at this time, blissfully confident in my choices of a medical provider, so much so that I was even bragging about it to women who had an OB. What a stupid girl I was this time a year ago.

I chose to have a hospital birth because my mother talked me into it. She was very much into the fear that surrounds birth and she herself was traumatized by OBs. So I made my choice to shut her up at the time. And I felt bad for my Mother.

My mother had four stillbirths. One of the babies was born in pieces. She recounts this, even today, as clearly as if it happened yesterday. They wouldn't let her hold her babies. They wouldn't let her bond with them or love on them. She never got ashes. "Just forget about them." Which is the wrong thing to do for anyone.

I've asked her to go to therapy to talk about this and she doesn't think she needs to do anything. It was so hard for her to see me get to places she didn't get to in pregnancy and birth. She was fascinated with feeling my son kick and move in my belly, because she never got to feel that. When we talked about my shower she didn't want me to have it 'too early' because if I had a stillbirth I'd have to give the gifts back.

These are things she had to go through. I found them vicious at the time, but she went through them. And now I feel horrible for her.

I feel horrible for every woman who goes through birth rape or birth trauma. Partly because I wish I could do something for them, partly because I know how powerless it can make them feel because it’s encouraged by OBs, RNs and our society.

It's encouraged by saying, "At least you have a healthy baby." Which is bullshit. No one ever said that to me after I was raped. "At least you're alive." Who spits such a vile thing into a survivor’s face?

No shit, asshole. At least I am.”


  1. This is so raw and honest. I hope you find the healing and peace you deserve. I would love to read more by this author. Bless you and your little man.

  2. What powerful words. As a doula who leads birth trauma healing workshops, I hope you continue to seek out self-healing and resources in your area.

  3. Lets not pretend, lets say it how it is. I realise my hospital births were far from natural apart from coming out of my vagina, the place (hospital) is not natural.