How 2 Women Are Working to Make Sure There Are No Future Victims of Obstetric Violence
Though having a baby can be an overwhelming experience, the prize at the end is normally worth all of the trouble — but unfortunately for some women (as many as one in three), the negative care experiences they have during birth stick with them for long after their bundle of joy has arrived.
Birth photographer and doula Lindsay Askins was working at Improving Birth — a group advocating evidence-based care for moms and babies — when she heard firsthand the traumatic birth experiences of some women. She decided to create something with her photography that would help to spread the stories of women who became victims on days that should have been among the happiest in their lives.
With the help of her colleague and friend Cristen Pascucci — Vice President of Improving Birth — the duo came up with Exposing the Silence Project, a photo project that Lindsay hopes will be "a platform for women to speak out about how they were bullied, coerced, manipulated, and even abused during their pregnancies and births." Cristen told us, "We both realized that it is necessary to bring to light what's going on with birth in America, because so much of this trauma and damage is from the care these women received, not the actual birth."
The pair has ambitious goals for the project. "My hope and goal is to push this topic into mainstream America where it is something everyone knows about, something that pregnant women are very aware of, something families consider before choosing a care provider and birthing place," said Lindsay. For Cristen, it's not only a matter of bringing this issue to light, but also advocation. "Treating women with respect and compassion during this very vulnerable time will result in better health outcomes and happier moms and babies!"
Read through to see some of the photos from the beautiful black and white series and to read these brave women's stories.