Perineal bruising. Tearing. Stretching. Cutting. Stitching. Scar healing. Major blood loss.
Women are undoubtedly wounded postpartum.
But somewhere along the way we felt we couldn’t say ‘ouch’. Because postpartum pain is so common, we’re told it’s all normal. And so, we wear these major bodily traumas with a smile, and often in a cloud of silence.
Just some stats to blow your mind
- 1 in 3 women identify their births as traumatic
- 1 in 4 first-time mothers suffer major physical damage in birth
- Up to 90% of women experience tears to some extent during childbirth
- Caesarians- major abdominal surgery- routinely result in pain lasting 3-6 months
- >50% of women have some degree of pelvic organ prolapse
These numbers are astounding.
The patient patient
Post birth, women patiently wait 6 weeks before anyone checks in about recovery. This gap in medical care- when women’s bodies experience the most dramatic flux and change of all time- sets the stage for us to manage whatever is going on in our body, all on our own. This is problematic as 94% of women report one or more health problems in the first 6 months postpartum. And many say they don’t know who to turn to for help.
“Women are undoubtedly wounded postpartum”
In a landmark report from the Institute of Medicine in 2011, a team of experts noted that women "have faced not only severe pain, but also misdiagnoses, delays in correct diagnosis, improper and unproven treatments, gender bias, stigma, and ‘neglect, dismissal and discrimination’ from the health care system." Among the reasons why: health care professionals not only lack education on how to deal with chronic pain, but also discount women’s pain as "emotional."
We deserve better
Artist and writer Christina Clifford notes, “My vagina tore when I had my first child, but it took five years before I got the medical attention I needed. I’m not the only one”. And now, “Every time I see a woman walking down the street with a newborn, all I can think is, “Does she have a traumatized vagina?”
If you do, welcome to the club.
We, the moode, are built by the moody. The quiet sufferers, the warrior women who know we deserve better, and we’re ready for the change.