MB discusses some of the challenges she faced during her last pregnancy. She explains how some women feel at fault for anything that may go wrong during childbirth, even though many factors are controlled by the healthcare system and not the woman herself.
OBOS Today: Yeah. Was, like, the actual experience of childbirth different than, like, the previous two?
MB: I think going through labor with a mask on was not as bad as I thought it was gonna be, and so, you know, I imagined that it was gonna be hard to breathe, and that I was going to be so irritated, you know, by the physical presence of the mask, but I didn’t even really notice it at all at any point.
And so I think it’s, you’ve sort of got like bigger things to focus on, and so—so that wasn’t, that wasn’t bad and I think there was like a—I think that the, a similar sense of security came from, you know, knowing that the healthcare system and healthcare providers had to be so careful to protect themselves, and to protect their patients, that I wasn’t nervous about, you know, picking up COVID from the hospital setting. And I think, you know, there was never an instance where, like, a provider walked into the room and didn’t have their mask on or something like that, so I think that made it feel a lot more comfortable—yeah, in general.
OBOS Today: Yeah, yeah, thanks for sharing all that. I was also wondering, I guess outside of COVID, like among your three pregnancies, kind of like, what was the biggest challenge you faced with any of those, like, pregnancies or childbirth?
MB: You know, I started reading—I always forget what her name is. Her last name is Gaskin. But she’s a midwife, and I’ll find it and send it. But she—and sort of learning about, I think the thing that is crazy to me is that the United States has such poor maternal health outcomes for, you know, a supposedly developed nation. And the idea that so many women, I think particularly Black women, die during childbirth in this country is just one of the saddest things to me, because it’s— you know, pregnant people are in such a vulnerable position with—when it comes to their health and their safety, and the fact that we haven’t like, you know, progressed.
And so, I think reading about the things like, you know, that C-sections, they often happen, you know, at shift changes or when physicians are supposed to leave for home during the day. Like there’s a time of day, you know, when they happen, which suggests that it’s more—it can be more driven by the health care system than necessarily by the woman’s body actually needing a C-section.
And in the climbing rates of our C-sections in our country are concerning just because it’s a major, you know, it’s a major surgery, and I think it’s—it can be really challenging by itself, and—and so I was really interested in trying to avoid a C-section if I could. And sometimes, like, people have to do them, you know, there’s no way around it, and it can be—you know, it can save the life of the mother and the baby and so I’m not trying to minimize that, you know, at all. But I think realizing that there are, you know, so many risk factors that happen during labor and delivery that are outside of the—the mother’s control. That’s been—I think that’s something that sort of can weigh on you pretty heavily during the process. But I actually, I really enjoyed being pregnant and so it was—at least I didn’t have, like, very difficult pregnancies.