Inspiring Stories

I’m no longer invisible

“My first baby was born by c-section after a failed Induction of labour. I felt like I didn’t have a choice about the birth as no options were given to me. With my second baby, when my waters broke, they wanted to induce me. I felt anxious about being examined and didn’t want it; I wanted no intervention and to avoid a c-section this time. They were fine with it initially, but then as time went on they began to pressure me into an induction. The doctor said to me, ‘You are killing your baby because you’re waiting.’

I remember I was crying in hospital and experienced lots of pressure. They made me feel guilty. I laboured for 2 days after my waters broke with irregular contractions before deciding to go in. After all the pressure, I went in and then had to wait another 8-9 hours. I wasn’t allowed anything to eat. I asked for pain relief but kept being told, ‘we will be going to theatre soon’ so I had no pain relief.

As the day went on, I got really fed up. I didn’t want to argue for my need of pain relief and food, so my husband buzzed and told senior staff we were not being treated right. Within 10 minutes I was in theatre. In theatre, I remember an anaesthetist pushed me when I was moving to sit on the table to make me do it quicker, and then he was on his phone while I was having the surgery.

I felt I was treated differently to the Caucasian women next to me. The staff asked others if they wanted lunch but forgot about us. I don’t trust the NHS anymore. I don’t want to have any more children. I am depressed and trying to come to terms with everything that happened.” Anonymous 2

It is estimated that as many as 200,000 women may also feel traumatised by childbirth and develop some of the symptoms of PTSD (Birth Trauma Association). Research into the experiences of care for Black and Brown women in the UK is in its relative infancy, and as studies are often self-selected there is very little evidence around birth trauma for women of colour. But even without the evidence, we know it exists.

Raham Project provides a supportive space and a listening ear through our Coffee and Chai sessions and our Facebook Support Group for Mums. Using our knowledge as midwives and experienced peer supporters we connect families to mental health support, working closely with CPSL Mind. The journey to recovery from birth trauma may be long but Raham Project will provide support and access to information and will signpost families to other organisations that can provide specialist help.

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