Saturday, November 24, 2012

A Silk Purse from a Sow's Ear

I am still angry about the circumstances of my daughter's birth - and I do not think that I will ever find that set of circumstances acceptable. Not for myself. Not for my friends. Not for my sister. Not for my daughter. Not for any woman living in British Columbia or Canada today or in the future. Women deserve better, their children deserve better. Not for any patient.

I am not angry that my daughter was born healthy - I am thankful for that every day. Motherhood has been a tremendous blessing - and has given me tremendous amounts of joy and wonder as I watch my children grow. Indeed, having a healthy child was my primary goal during my pregnancy - and one of the reasons I had elected for a cesarean delivery: to reduce the risk of truly adverse and life-long health consequences such as severe disability or death.

I am angry that the care I reasonably expected and was entitled to receive was withheld. I am angry at an ideology that seems to be driving the system further, and further away from quality, evidence-based, patient-centred care. I am angry that I was lied to. I am angry that I was abandoned. I am angry that the experience was terrifying and painful and physically and psychologically damaging and left me feeling utterly violated. I am angry that the circumstance was entirely unnecessary. I am angry that there exists people out there that find such circumstances acceptable. I am angry that what I experienced was likely the result of either negligence or willful disregard.

It's okay to be angry about those things - actually, I would be more worried if I wasn't angry about those things as it would likely mean that I had given up and thought that such things just did not matter. Indeed what happened was on its face, a Sow's Ear.

However, that sow's ear has supplied the material for, what someday might indeed be a silk purse. If my daughter's birth had unfolded as my son's birth did two years later - I likely wouldn't be sitting here writing this blog post. I would not have spent the last two years thinking about what quality maternity care really looks like, about what really matters and about what is poorly understood. I would not have become acquainted with an entire community of women who want better - for themselves, for their sisters, for their friends, for their daughters - an entire community of women (and some men) who believe strongly in informed consent and patient-centred, evidence-based care. I would not be pursuing a lawsuit (there would be no need to) - that might result in a precedent that other women can depend on - or at the very least will likely send the message that lying to a woman and subjecting her to a treatment that she did not consent to without cause is actionable, even if that woman was pregnant at the time.

What happened was awful (I'll happily concede it was not the worse that could have happened) - but what has happened since has made a difference and will continue to make a difference, hopefully for the better. After all, shouldn't it be the goal of every mother that her daughter should have a better go of it when it's her turn - and that's why I'm not done. Not yet - there's still a long way to go before I'll look at the situation that exists and think that it's the silk purse that it can be.


  1. Don't have anything to add - just like this post and I am glad for your blog even though I am saddened regarding the reasons for it existing.