MJ's Story - Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

“Once our healthy baby boy was here and I was brought up to the maternity ward, the nurses on staff proceeded to be very rude to my boyfriend, his father. The nurse assigned to me refused to allow him to help me bathe him, stating, "She needs to learn how to bathe HER baby!" Even though the baby was just as much his as he was mine. When he left the unit at one point I had a nurse come in and ask me if he was even the actual father of our son. We were young, only 19. We hadn't been together long, and my boyfriend is Indigenous. Due to them pushing him away in the hospital my boyfriend had a hard time bonding with our son. He was nervous and reluctant to help at bath times as he did not know, and he felt very robbed of those crucial first hours. Looking back on it I feel angry. It was horrible to act towards him, and in a world where young fathers take off all the time the nurses should be encouraging the ones who are around to stay around, not mistreating them and pushing them away. “


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L.G.O.'s Story - Guelph General Hospital, Guelph, Ontario

“I was very anxious that I couldn't get much milk out. I needed to feed my baby and I really wanted to do it naturally. The lactation consultant must have said something to my midwife because that evening my midwife came in and said she wanted me monitored, and that she was going to send staff in every 3 hrs to make sure I was actually going to feed him and ***THAT SHE THOUGHT I HAD BEEN SEXUALLY ABUSED AS A CHILD*** based on when they were wheeling me into the OR she thought I was sucking my thumb (I was biting my first as the contractions were strong). She thought that was regressive behaviour that showed this. Seeing as I was being monitored as though I was an unfit mom, still raw from the surprise c-section, and awoken every 3 hrs anyway - I could not sleep. I know statistically that sexual abuse happens primarily among family members and all I could think, as thoughts raced through my mind instead of sleeping, was who had possibly sexually abused me? That was what my child's birth story became. I was raw with exhaustion, wired with this shocking piece of information, still very afraid and alone in terms of figuring out how to breastfeed my baby.”

”Words have huge impact around these completely life changing moments like childbirth. I would like the midwifery profession to know the extent of pain that this caused.”

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G's Story - Grey Nuns Community Hospital, Edmonton, Alberta

G's Story - Grey Nuns Community Hospital, Edmonton, Alberta

“Everybody in the medical community acts like a c-section is no big deal and is this easy breezy thing. For me, not a single day has gone by that I am not in pain. At my incision site, it feels like a knife point is pressing in. On days I exercise, the knife digs deeper. Other days it lets up but is never less than a 4 out of 10. There are certain types of pants I can't wear anymore. I get debilitating back pain that wraps around directly to my scar. My hips tighten with shooting pain directly to my scar. During my period, the pain is unbearable. Before I was pregnant, I was running 10-15 km. I still ran 5km until I was 20 weeks pregnant. Now, I can't run 1km without the knife blade digging in. I run anyway but it's definitely more challenging pushing myself through the pain. I've gone to physio and done the exercises, stretches, dry needling, scar tissue massage and nothing has been able to offer any kind of relief so I carry on and just deal with it. I would like to have another child but the thought is terrifying. What if they don't believe me again and I get to feel the doctor slicing and pulling? If I do have another, I will try to get a midwife although the waiting lists are long. If I'm to be stuck with a doctor again, I've decided against all interventions. No cervical checks, membrane sweep, induction, labour augmentation or epidural.”


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EK's Story - Paterson Medical Centre, Kenora, Ontario

“Now my biggest concern is how am I supposed to trust this Doctor? He has no knowledge of my background or history as he is fairly new to me (my original family doctor retired a few years ago). I have yet to voice my legitimate concerns regarding the miscarriages and don’t feel like he cares enough to make about my mental health issues to help make a proactive and reasonable plan in case PPD rears its ugly head once again. I spent the past 2 years trying to see him to discuss mental health issues prior to the pregnancy, but met with all sorts of interns and NPs, but not once have I spoken with him. I eventually gave up on the medical route and am currently receiving private mental health treatment that I pay for out of pocket.”

… 

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T's Story - Peace Arch Hospital, White Rock, British Columbia

"I cannot rationalize the way I was treated, and as a health care provider myself it just erodes me to know this goes on day in and day out.

I had a sexual abuse history, but I find it absolutely absurd that you have to share that with people, just to get treated with more empathetic care in Obstetrics. All women should be assumed to have a trauma history given the statistics. And all women should be treated with empathy and compassion regardless of their abuse history. Also sorry, not sorry, not going to share that with someone just because you’re a health care provider, it's called building a therapeutic relationship. If you are asking me whether I've been sexually abused as a checklist, just like when my last menstrual period was, you probably aren't going to get an honest answer. I have been through significant gynaecological issues prior to childbirth and never felt traumatized by any procedure, despite my abuse history.”

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S.N.T.'s Story - South Cowichan Medical Clinic, Mill Bay, British Columbia

“Instead of referring me for the procedure, he told me to discuss my choice with the father first and come back in two weeks to have another pregnancy test and blood work done, just to be sure it was safe to proceed.

Something told me to move on this faster. I ignored his advice and looked up the nearest Women's Clinic in the phone book. When I spoke to the female doctors there I learned that, had I waited those two weeks, I would have exceeded the allowable window to terminate the pregnancy. After which I would have had to prove it was a risk to my health, or take legal action to get the procedure. Even the women doctors at the clinic asked me three times if I was sure about my choice before they brought the papers out for me to sign. As I was leaving the office the receptionist called me over to double check my procedure appointment.“

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R's Story - Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Ontario

“I was told I had to hold my baby in my arms all night after not sleeping for 48 hours as she had a lot of mucous. I told the nurse I wasn’t comfortable with it fearing I’d fall asleep and she’d roll into the blankets and potentially suffocate. I was told I didn’t have an option. They propped me up with pillows and laid her in my arms for the night. Fast forward over a year later, I was still waking up almost every night frantically checking the blankets for my daughter (who had never slept in our bed). I even had a night where I begged my husband to check the bed to make sure she wasn’t there even though she was in my arms”

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J's Story - Scarborough General Hospital, Ontario

“I was suicidal for years, and the way people treated me after the assault is a big factor in that. I attempted suicide about two weeks after the procedure. The hospital refused to let me stay after 72 hours because I was "just looking for a bed to mooch".

I still feel resentment about this. The main reason being it is 2018, over a decade later, and this is still a common story when it comes to sexual assault and abortions.

I was 14 and homeless. I am First Nations and gender-queer/2S. I didn't have the voice I have now, at 14. So, I never gave them feedback.”

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Susan's Story - Stratford General Hospital, Ontario

“The next few days were not so good and I went from being fairly well to very ill requiring emergency surgery, being cut open from my breast bone to my pubic bone. Finding out I have a large cyst and umbilical hernia and had become septic. During surgery my heart stopped up to four separate times, leaving me in very poor condition in the ICU after surgery where I was to remain for many weeks.”

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Katie's Story - McMaster Children's Hospital, Hamilton, Ontario

“To give an idea of how much blood I lost... I was severely anemic for almost 1 and 1/2 years after having my son. My hemoglobin was so low they weren't going to release me.

But this is when the most heartbreaking thing happened. I wasnt even clear to be released and we were told my son was lowest priority in the neonatal unit and was being transported to St. Catherine's, an hour or so away from our home.

My husband and I were devastated I contacted the hospital management and filed a complaint. But this did nothing. They took him without our expressed consent.”

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Alicia's Story - Royal Victoria Hospital, Barrie, Ontario

“I was in tears. I was alone and scared that something was wrong. I had never felt a pain so strong and crushing before. I continued to call my nurse only to be ignored. It had been 8 hours of excruciating pain when a different nurse finally came in. She immediately ran to get my OB and within minutes I was being taken for a C-section. I was in class 3 HELLP syndrome. My liver was about to burst. I was about to die. I almost lost my life and my nurse thought it was gas.”

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