PBM founder Milli Hill has spoken to the ipaper as part of a feature for International Women’s Day highlighting campaigners, politicians and activists in diverging areas of women’s rights.
“My goal for 2019 is to spark a conversation about a long overlooked feminist issue – women’s experience of childbirth”, she told the ipaper. “Currently there are so many fantastic discussions taking place about women’s agency and bodily autonomy, but in the birth room, it still seems to be accepted that we simply don’t have any because, ‘a healthy baby is all that matters’.
I want to move ‘healthy baby’ from the pinnacle of our expectations, to the baseline. Everyone getting out of birth alive should be the very least we all hope for – there are so many other things that matter – first and foremost, women matter! Their experience of birth will remain with them for the rest of their lives. Currently too many women are walking away from birth feeling a range of emotions from sad and disappointed to traumatised and violated. Why are so many women having these difficult experiences? Why is it still acceptable to talk about birth in terms of ‘leaving your dignity at the door’?
I think women deserve better than this, and this requires not just greater funding of maternity care, but – perhaps more than this – a big shift in attitudes in both society and in women themselves, to understand that they have choices and rights in their care and that they are the key decision maker in the birth room.”