A mom named Jennifer Gooddall has received an outpouring of support this week after going to battle for the kind of birth she wanted. It's a battle no woman should have to face, and yet it's one that Goddall not only had to wage, but one she lost ...
All the 29-year-old Cape Coral mom wanted to do was try to deliver vaginally (or have a VBAC) before agreeing to what would be her fourth cesarean -- if it was necessary. But Bayfront Health Port Charlotte threatened to call the state Department of Child and Families, because, according to the hospital's letter, a VBAC (vaginal birth after C-section) could lead to "death or serious injury" to the baby. They threatened to force a C-section on Goddall "with or without [her] consent."
Despite her legal attempts to fight the hospital on this, Goodall was denied a temporary restraining order against the hospital by a federal court, saying Goodall had no "right to compel a physician or medical facility to perform a medical procedure in the manner she wishes against their best medical judgment." This past Friday, she delivered her fourth child -- by C-section.
No wonder crowds are up in arms over this. In a statement, Goddall said:
My health care providers have made me fear for my safety and custody of my children. I know I'm not the only one to go through this; I'm speaking out because pregnant women deserve better.
We sure do. Women have the right to the delivery they want, to bring their babies into the world as we see fit. All too often, medical doctors seem to think they know better about our bodies than women themselves. It's enough already. To force a woman to have a surgery she merely wanted to try to avoid is reprehensible. Wanna talk about safety? Fine, 90 percent of women who have had C-sections are viable candidates for VBAC, and roughly 3 out of 4 can successfully give birth vaginally. (Meanwhile, the World Health Organization has criticized the US for its high rate of C-sections.) In other words, VBACs aren't nearly as risky as so many doctors would have moms believe, and C-sections shouldn't so readily be seen as a default delivery option.
More from The Stir: You Can Have a VBAC: This Mom of 3 Is Proof
But most of all, when it comes to a birth plan, moms-to-be deserve to be, must be HEARD, respected, trusted. We've said it before, and we'll say it again: Giving birth is something women have done since the dawn of time, so why are some health care providers second-guessing women now? It's a trend that's deeply disturbing and one that must stop. Pregnancy is never an excuse for a doctor or a judge to fearmonger or strip a woman of her rights. Jennifer Gooddall was wronged. We can only work now to prevent other moms from finding themselves in her shoes.
Were you ever pressured into a decision related to your pregnancy or giving birth that you weren't in agreement with?
Image via iStock/BugTiger