Birth,  Birthworkers,  Feminism,  Pregnancy,  Survivors & Birth

When Coercion Looks Like Care

Content Warning: Themes of abuse, trauma




When coercion looks like care and

Like this is best



agreed to this


wanted it


asked for it


To constantly be told


don’t know what’s best

To be constantly persuaded that

your instinct is wrong..

Deride your reality

Your desires

Your needs

Your joy

Your safety?

How could you possibly be more than just a pathologically inept and broken body

There for the taking?

And between the lines

Stupid girl,

This life isn’t a fairytale.

There is no better.

. .

Sound familiar? I’m actually writing about maternity care and at the same time, I’m not.

Coercion is “the action or practice of persuading someone to do something by using force or threats.”.

I’m not implying the entire maternity system and its practitioners are shit – many people have an excellent experience – but it must be acknowledged that coercion plays a big role in everyday maternity conversations.

So everyday and expected that this bullying often flies under the radar and we (our culture) prop up this idea that it’s uncouth, ungrateful, ignorant or foolish to assert autonomy over ones own body and life, rather doing what a doctor, nurse or midwife says.

Guess what? It’s not.

To quote @thefeministmidwife “‘No’ is a complete sentence in all settings, including in healthcare.”


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