One thing the whole Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Kavanaugh process reiterates: we live in a violent and sexist culture. But, things are changing.
Never before have conversations about sexual harassment and sexual violence been so frequently spoken in our media or political sphere. People everywhere are getting behind the #BelieveWomen and #MeToo platforms. And while we have a very long way to go, I feel hopeful we will get there, eventually.
One thing that the courageous Dr. Ford’s testimony shows is how traumatic experiences can affect us for our entire lives. Anybody with an ounce of compassion could see, during her testimony, how the trauma and violation of her experience with Kavanaugh as a teenager still haunts her deeply.
It goes without saying that sexual traumas are far too common in our society. Another trauma that is all too prevalent in the United States and throughout the globe is birth trauma. Although the two are related, I would argue that birth trauma is the most common hurt people experience in our society, because it affects each and every one of us.
Almost everybody in our modern society has experience with birth trauma. Those born in the 1930s-1960s experienced the trauma of having mothers who were unconscious from twilight sleep, being pulled out by forceps, separated from their mothers for up to a week, and/or denied the benefits of breastfeeding. While most of these practices have evolved or changed since the 1960’s, birth trauma persists. Birthing people report being verbally abused by their care providers during labor, given unnecessary surgical procedures like episiotomies or c-sections, and/or generally emotionally dissatisfied with their prenatal care and birth experiences. Babies born under these conditions (a.k.a. most of the humans in this world), have our first experiences of this world marred by this painful and confusing phenomenon. We are affected by these traumas in more ways than we consciously know.
Sexual and birth traumas are inextricably connected. Of course a society that does not respect or value the female body will relate to birth the way we do. The Western Medical System is deeply sexist and patriarchal, controlled by the some of the same old white men who are running our country.
The good news is- humans have an innate and powerful capacity to heal ourselves. Whether it relates to birth, sexual trauma, or any other form of hurt, we are absolutely capable of healing. And not only are we capable of healing ourselves- we help each other heal. We are getting more and more connected, building movements which offer hope to future generations. For the first time in history, white men are the minority of house Democratic nominees. Women of color and trans folks are winning key elections. Birth justice is finally a part of the conversation, with states like New York and California creating initiatives to attempt to address the birth disparities facing black birthing people and other birthing people of color. We have so much more to do in changing the hospital system, making midwifery care more accessible to more people, and eliminating sexual violence from our culture. But, things are changing.
Blessings to Dr. Ford, everybody healing from sexual traumas, and all of us healing from our births.