This is personal. I had amazing births, but when I was pregnant I was violated by the nurse practitioner during an appointment. My husband was present with me during the appointment.
As I was being led down the hall to the exam room by the medical assistant I was informed that I would need a pap smear. I let the medical assistant know that I had one recently and it would not be necessary. She told me that yes it would need to be done, however I could check with the nurse practitioner (NP).
As I waited for the NP to enter the room, I could hear her talking in the hallway with the medical assistant about my desire to pass on the pap smear. When the NP came into the exam room she explained what needed to happen at this appointment, including the pap smear. I expressed that I would be declining the procedure.
She commenced with my exam. Afterwards, as I got in the car with my husband, I knew that the NP did the pap smear without my consent. I called and spoke with her the next day, thinking that some how she misunderstood my feelings about the pap smear.
However, she told me over the phone that she clearly understood that I had not wished to have a pap smear and she had not been confused about my wishes. That ended our conversation.
I was violated without any apology or remorse.
I recognize now that I am not the only pregnant women that has had procedures done to her against her will. This topic is not often discussed during prenatal classes or among family and friends.
How can pregnant women advocate for their rights to refuse procedures that they do not desire? It is not easy. I consider myself a strong and vocal person, and still I was violated.
Childbirth professionals must start the discussion and create a safe space for women to speak openly about violations they have experienced through pregnancy and giving birth. Birth trauma is at crisis proportions with as many as 25% of women experiencing some degree of trauma from giving birth.
Not keeping silent and speaking about what happened helps with healing. Read Kalina’s story.
Click to read about factors that contribute to traumatic birth.
Click to read how to support father’s.
Groups committed to helping women recover from traumatic birth:
- The Birth Trauma Association
- Birth Psychology
- Solace for Mothers
- Postpartum Support International
- International Cesarean Awareness Network
Please comment and share with us your story or any ideas you may have to prevent birth trauma and pregnancy violations.