The Dark Side
There is/was a lot of bullying and cruelty during birth in post-Communist countries.
I have friends here, my age, from another city, and in their birth house, one form of bullying was throwing water in the woman’s face (yes, during labor). This was done, for example, if she stared pushing before they saw the baby’s head at the introitus.
Denise Thompson, a deceased American midwife, a friend and mentor to me, came here and sometimes worked in a birth house here and she observed many cruel things. She wrote a brief article about it in Midwifery Today magazine, Autumn 2009, Number 91, p. 39 “What I Have Seen.”
I do not know the young woman strapped to the table. .. She cries out in pain. The nurse throws water in her face. … The doctor then climbs onto the delivery table and straddles the woman’s chest. He begins pushing on her fundus with all his might. The nurses are yelling at the girl. … [The baby is born.] … The nurses whisk the baby away…. The woman is screaming in agony. I can’t see what the doctor is doing, but he is standing between her legs now. He has large instruments in his hand. [And she is stitched with no anesthetic.]
[Another birth, after the baby has been born.] The doctors and nurses take over and bring in what look like long shoe horns and barbecue tongs. They take the “shoe horns” and insert them into the woman’s vagina. Stretching her open, they grab her cervix with the tongs and pull it out of her body to inspect it. Although the woman is heavily drugged she is screaming and flailing…. Then they take the “shoe horns” and scrape out her uterus thoroughly. …
I found more information in Barbara Harper‘s book, Gentle Birth Choices. In this section she is talking about waterbirth around the world, and she comes to Russia. They visited birth houses in Russia, Ukraine, and Georgia. Here is what she says:
They displayed the most terrifying conditions for childbirth that I had ever witnessed. Almost all women were drugged or unconscious, and physical brutality was common, with women being beaten or struck while in labor. p. 166
She goes on to mention the forced separation of mothers/babies for several days, and that husbands were not even allowed in the birth house the entire duration of the mother’s stay.
. . .
I don’t know what to say now.