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Birth Trauma & Donald Trump: Misogyny’s Silver Lining?

Birth Trauma & Donald Trump: Misogyny’s Silver Lining?

This is not a political post. It’s a personal one, and I’m jumping right to the point. Please… hear me out.

An adjective that has been used to describe President-Elect Donald Trump is misogynistic. What does that actually mean?

 


Misogyny: the hatred of, contempt for, or prejudice against women or girls. Misogyny can be manifested in numerous ways, including social exclusion, sex discrimination, hostility, androcentrism, patriarchy, male privilege, belittling of women, violence against women, and sexual objectification. (Wikipedia) (Italics mine).


 

By now, we are all likely aware of some instances in which Trump’s tendency toward misogyny have shone through. While I’m not here to recount them all for you or to point out his every fault (for indeed, we all have faults), I have to be really honest…

 

The onslaught of Trump-isms throughout his campaign has been triggering for me. The ways that he so publicly degrades and belittles women’s intrinsic worth; the ways that he has repeatedly imposed his own desires and agenda on women; and the fact that he has publicly boasted about violating women’s bodies. It’s brought to the surface flashbacks of some of the disrespect and disregard I experienced during childbirth, and it’s brought up fears for the future.

 

For so many women, a significant aspect of their birth trauma is how they felt they were treated surrounding their time of childbirth.

 

Any bit of research into birth trauma will bring up phrases like:

  • “I felt violated.”
  • “I said ‘No’ and they did it anyway.”
  • “I wasn’t listened to.”
  • “I felt disrespected and belittled, like what I was feeling and needing didn’t matter.”
  • “I had no privacy. No dignity.”
  • “I felt pressured and powerless.”
  • “My consent—or lack thereof—didn’t matter.”

 

The link between sexual trauma and birth trauma is undeniable — and pretty logical, if you think about it. It involves the same body parts, and the feelings that often swirl around birth traumas can mirror those of sexual violation: feeling disempowered, pressured, unsafe, like your voice was censored or shut down.” (https://www.babble.com/parenting/birth-trauma/)

 

Many studies have been conducted about Birth Trauma. “The results suggest that women’s subjective birth experiences are the most important factor in the development of post-traumatic stress symptoms following childbirth.” (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22940723) (Italics here and in the paragraph preceding, are mine).

 

Upon news of Trump’s election, I sobbed.

 

I sobbed for my daughter—that she’ll see in the county’s leader that it’s ok for her to be mistreated and for her worth to be reduced to the shape and size of her body.

 

I sobbed for my son—that he’ll be receiving from yet another source the grotesquely false message that men matter more than women and that actions can follow suit, devoid of consequences.

 

I sobbed for the hundreds of thousands of women who have experienced the sense of violation that so frequently contributes to birth trauma.

 

I sobbed for the countless girls and young women who have been victims of sexual assault.

 

In all honesty, I am still struggling with all of this.

 

I am, and always have been, a see-the-sunny-side kind of person. As my husband says, I literally have B+ running through my veins.

 

But seriously, how on earth can there be an up-side to such flagrant disrespect for half of the world’s population?

 

What is the silver lining in Mr. Trump’s blatant, shameless and very public misogynistic behavior?

THAT SO MANY PEOPLE HAVE BEEN APPALLED BY IT!

 

And the fact that the word misogyny is now a household term! Donald Trump has brought this to the light for us! This is wonderful!

 

Wonderful?! How?!

 

Because when masses of people—regardless of gender, regardless of age or profession or income level—are so appalled by something, they speak up!

 

Because when there’s awareness—and where there’s light—there can be growth and healing. And change.

 

Other politicians, talk show hosts, celebrities, sexual assault survivors and their loved ones, and countless others are beginning to speak up, declaring that this kind of view and treatment of women is simply unacceptable! Especially in the leader of the United States!

 

We are now acutely aware of the widespread “male privilege, belittling of women, violence against women, and sexual objectification” that exists in our culture. And many of us are no longer willing to shut up about it! Oh, God! May we be nearing the tipping point!

 

So here’s where I’m dreaming big regarding misogyny and Birth Trauma…

 

May this newly-awakened tiger in our culture roar with such insistent intensity that awareness, growth, healing and change overflow into all facets of society, including Maternity Care.

 

May the fact that misogyny most certainly has existed within the world of modern labor and delivery be acknowledged.

 

May the subjective factors that contribute to traumatic childbirth be eliminated because of such a deeply-rooted respect for women—childbearing or not.

 

And may this awareness leads to change.

 

Because this change is so desperately needed!

 

Are you with me? Will you stand up and speak out? Will you give a great big “YOPPP!” knowing that every voice matters, no matter how small…?

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Jen Hannah

Jen Hannah is a Birth Trauma Speaker and Musician who is fiercely committed to the reclamation of childbirth. After healing from a traumatic experience giving birth, she is now passionate about bringing this cultural epidemic to the light. Her award-winning music serves as powerful medicine in her mission to empower and encourage women, and to offer continuing education to maternity care providers. Her work fosters the openness and mutual respect that is imperative to the return to mother- and child-centered birth. Jen is the grateful mama of 2 kiddos, and wife of inspirational speaker and Bubble Man, Geoff Akins Hannah. http://yoursquarebubble.com/