Tuesday, 17 August 2010

OB Gyn perspective on "OB Patient"

YouTube - OB patient

There is a rash of these mini movies. Clever, 'funny' (?) and short. Humour is a great way of getting a message across.

Ask yourself, what is the message that is being sent with this movie?

Here's another mini movie doing the rounds.

What is the message being promoted in this mini movie about women? What message is being sent about pregnant women?

and then, there is the anaesthetist's perspective on midwifery

I asked someone 'in the know' is that really how 'they' see us? "I'm afraid it is" was the answer.

all in good fun the film maker said. Really?

Words are powerful creators and transmitters of cultural beliefs and habits. What we see and what we hear shape and create patterns of thinking that become our perspective and our reality. These patterns and ideas take a life of their own, becoming a cultural meme and influencing every aspect of our minds, our behaviour and our culture. Emotions make those patterns deeper and stronger. Humour is a great release and can often bring the truth of a situation into a clear light. However, humour can seem benign, but is in reality, a particularly powerful pattern 'fixer' and giving more life to a meme.

I feel deep concern that childbearing women are being profiled in the way that these videos do. Yes, there are women who take advantage of systems and other people. In the main, most women want the best for their babies. Ignorance, abuse, violence and poverty are common themes in the lives of those who take drugs, avoid maternity care and lack education. Objectifying women as these videos do is unkind and leads to the adoption of a negative stereotypical view of anyone who is different and then flows on to include all those who seek choice, control and autonomy.

Maternity care is generally constructed to suit the health care institution and the doctors. For some women, their experience of maternity care is horrendous and deeply traumatising. These women can feel raped, violated and brutalized by their experience.

As Amity Reed writes "we should be striving to make all birthing environments, whether at home or in hospital, both safer and more peaceful and empowering".

Safe, peaceful, empowering birth environments for all women is a meme that is essential for our culture to adopt and create. Pregnancy and birth set the foundations for the future health and wellbeing of the baby.

We all know that anyone can change, grow and develop. Respectful, kind, supportive care that engages the heart of the woman does more to promote growth than unkind objectification and superior attitudes.

Videos like those above create a perspective that is harmful and ultimately degrading what's possible.


Anonymous said...

How awful. Hopefully people can this attempt at denigrating women and their choices for what it is.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting these videos Carolyn. I thought they demonstrated a very judgemental attitute toward women who are clealy disadvantaged. And as you said, this type of thing just perpetuates these attitudes. On the other side, they also paint a pretty poor picture of maternity care. If they weren't so judgemental and unkind toward women, they would be quite a good tool for highlighting the absurdity of the dominant approach to childbirth (medicalised).

Pam said...

I have come across a number of examples of 'venting' within the social media circuit by medical professionals and I am concerned about what this represents to the ordinary person looking in and reading the comments.

Carolyn Hastie said...

Rachel and Anonymous, you are right when you say that these videos highlight the misogynist nature of maternity care. Interestingly on twitter, the general comment regarding these videos is something like this 'this cracks me up oh, I had one like that yesterday!'

There is a lot of work still to be done in changing the way maternity care providers work and maternity care is given. The first step is in exposing the underbelly of misogyny in maternity care both to the practitioners and the public.

Carolyn Hastie said...

Social media etiquette is sorely needed to be understood by health professionals Pam. I'm wondering though, apart from what the employers may think when they read them, perhaps the public knowing how some health professionals think is a good thing. All workers need to be aware that HR departments are starting to google and monitor social media sites, so breaches will be identified and prosecuted. Good manners, confidentiality and other ethical and professional competencies are the same no matter what medium we communicate within.

Joy Johnston said...

Carolyn thanks for this post. I was fascinated by these little animation clips. I think this media could be used to promote midwifery concepts, so I have had a go at it myself. 'Bertha finds a midwife' is at http://villagemidwife.blogspot.com/

Carolyn Hastie said...

Joy, you are awesome! I love what you have done. A great idea. Thanks so much for sharing that.