mistreatment-labor

This story was originally published June 25, 2019

In a recent survey shared in the Reproductive Health journal, one out of six women in the United States reported being mistreated while in labor, where mistreatment included, "loss of autonomy; being shouted at, scolded, or threatened; and being ignored, refused, or receiving no response to requests for help."

One out of six.

To make these numbers even more sickening, mistreatment was more common among women of color, women with partners of color, women with lower socioeconomic status, and women under the age of 30.

(And yet people still question the validity of stating that black mothers are at a higher risk of pregnancy and birth-related complications.)

Rarely at a loss for words, I find myself almost unable to speak.

I am a midwife, and I am disgusted.


To be entrusted with the responsibility of caring for a woman giving birth is one of the single greatest honors available in the human experience.

I am not going to lie—it is not easy work. It is stressful and exhausting and sometimes even jading, and there are times when we will question the wisdom of the decision to spend our days doing this.

Yes, we worked incredibly hard to get to where we are today.

But where we are is beside a woman who is giving birth. It is a gift to nurture and safeguard a woman as she does the profound work of bringing life into this world, and it is a duty to be held with reverence.

Providers. If the day has come that you are too stressed, too tired, too jaded to treat women with respect, then the day has come for you to leave this profession.

You swore an oath. Every time you ignore, or raise your voice to, or disrespect a woman in labor you are breaking that oath because in doing so you are inflicting harm. Birth trauma—and make no mistake, mistreatment in labor is trauma inducing—has very real consequences.

As I have shared previously, "When we give birth, we do so from our core—not just the core of our bodies, but the core of ourselves. We are open and vulnerable during and after birth, and the energy that is around us is the energy that we absorb. It becomes a part of the inner voice that guides us in motherhood."

The eye roll you thought she didn't see when she handed you her birth plan.

That snide remark about her "crazy behavior" while she was in labor.

When you ignored her call-bell because she was "just asking for more drugs."

That time you didn't call the translator service because "she should understand by now."

It mattered to her then and it matters to her now.

I want you to think back to the you who just got accepted to nursing, medical, or midwifery school. Would they be proud of the provider you've become?

I believe that a great many providers out there can answer yes. I believe that most people are trying to do right and be good.

But every single one of us needs to take a very hard look at ourselves and our practice and ensure that we are still deserving of the honor.

To women, I want to tell you three things.

First, you are worthy of respect. You know what? Scratch that. Because the word "worthy" implies that a special quality or effort on your part makes you good enough to deserve respect.

Your very existence calls for respect.

Our culture does a bang-up job of putting medical professionals on a pedestal—and there are some pretty amazing, life-saving ones that quite frankly should be up there. But even the most intelligent, skillful provider is a human, just like you. Yes, they may have a gift. But mama, so do you.

There is no credential, degree or diploma that permits the mistreatment of human beings.

Second, trust yourself.

So often I meet women who say things like, "It felt kind of hostile, but I'm probably just being too sensitive," or, "They kept hurting my feelings, but maybe I'm just hormonal."

If you feel mistreated, it is okay to say so. Yes, misunderstandings happen. But you do NOT have to sweep your feeling under the rug because you think you are "being silly." Your concerns are valid and deserve to be heard.

I also want you to trust that any mistreatment received is not your fault. I don't care if you asked a thousand questions, or cried and yelled the whole time you were in labor or didn't "do what they wanted you to do." Nothing justifies mistreatment, ever.

Lastly, you have rights and choices.

If you feel that you are being or have been mistreated, you have rights and you are not alone. Check with your birthplace and see if they have a patient advocacy department, or contact an attorney or advocate near you that will support you.

For a full list of your rights in childbirth, check out this document from Childbirth Connection.

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      The HATCH Mama collection is everything your pregnant body needs right now

      Their oil is the only thing that stopped my belly from itching as it grew bigger.

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      Let me start by saying I'm not a fan of moisturizing. I hate being wet and sticky and after applying product to my body, I have to stand around awkwardly until I'm fully air-dried—a practice that is not compatible with having three kids under the age of 3. However, as someone who has carried three children in her body, I also know how much your belly needs hydration as the baby grows.

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      Curious about the HATCH Mama collection? All of their products are non-toxic and mama-safe, designed to help pregnant people overcome the challenges unique to pregnancy. As their website claims, "from stretch marks to thinning hair, to sleepless nights, we're helping you tackle every prenatal and postnatal beauty issue head-on so you can continue to feel like the best version of you." I'm here for all of this. For the entire Hatch Beauty collection click here.


      Here are my favorite products from HATCH Mama:


      Belly oil

      HATCH COLLECTION  Belly Oil

      Intensely hydrating + fantastic at reducing the appearance of stretch marks and scars, this will be your favorite through pregnancy + beyond.

      $58

      Belly mask

      HATCH COLLECTION  Belly Mask Set

      Not only does it help to minimize the appearance of stretch masks + scars during pregnancy + postpartum, but there is a little non-toxic wink (and that's to you, mama.)

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      Nipple + lip ointment 

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      Calming + soothing, this magic sauce is lanolin-free & made of tropical butters and super fruits. I'm not lying when I say you will not want to stop using this, even way after birth.

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      HATCH COLLECTION  Belly Tattoos

      A very rock and roll way to honor your bump. And non-toxic + plant-based at that!

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      This article was originally published in March 2021. It has been updated.

      We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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      Motherly created the flexible online birth class moms need

      The Motherly Birth Class is completely online, which means you can take the class at your own pace.

      Taking a birth class is a pregnancy milestone. Whether you've been excited to take a birth class for a long time or have just recently decided that you wanted to take one, sitting down for that first lesson feels big—spoiler alert, this is really happening! But finding time for a birth class isn't as easy as it would seem.

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      All this to say that we get how busy you are—and how hard that might make it to fit in a birth class.

      And that's why we created The Motherly Birth Class. The Motherly Birth Class is completely online, which means you can take the class at your own pace.


      Think you'll want to watch each lesson a few times over? Great!

      Due date's next week and you need the option to take a birth class very quickly? No problem!

      Like everything at Motherly, we designed this class with you in mind.

      Taught by Certified Nurse-Midwife Diana Spalding (who also wrote "The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama"), this class is broken into 12 lessons—and you get to control how and when you watch them. We'll teach you about what your (amazing) body is up to in labor, how to decide when it's time to head to the hospital or birth center (or when to call your home birth midwife), what your options are for coping with pain and so much more.

      When you sign up for The Motherly Birth Class, you'll get access to a downloadable workbook and meditations. Plus, you'll be invited to join our supportive private online community (where you can chat with the class instructor!)

      Oh, one more thing: Your insurance or flexible spending account might even able to able to cover the cost of this class.

      Pregnancy is wonderful—but it's a lot. You deserve a birth class that works for you and empowers you to have your best birth. Because vaginal or Cesarean, unmedicated or medication, birth is incredible. And you are the star of it all.

      You've got this.

      Sign up for The Motherly Birth Class today!

      The Motherly Birth Class

      pregnant-woman-looking-at-her-belly

      Take our completely digital birth class from the comfort of your living room. We'll help you have your best birth—because you deserve it.

      $79

      We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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      BABYBJÖRN

      This post is sponsored by BABYBJÖRN. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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      14 toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

      They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

      Keeping kids entertained is a battle for all seasons. When it's warm and sunny, the options seem endless. Get them outside and get them moving. When it's cold or rainy, it gets a little tricker.

      So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of the best toys for toddlers and kids that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, many are Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

      From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these indoor outdoor toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.


      Secret Agent play set

      Plan-Toys-Secret-agent-play-set

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      Mini golf set

      Plan Toys mini golf set

      Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

      $40

      Stepping Stones

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      Wooden doll stroller

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      Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

      $120

      Sand play set

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      Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

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      Sensory play set

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      Filled with sand or water, this compact-sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

      $19.95

      Vintage scooter balance bike

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      Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

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      Foam pogo stick

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      Designed for ages 3 and up, My First Flybar offers kiddos who are too young for a pogo stick a frustration-free way to get their jump on. The wide foam base and stretchy bungee cord "stick" is sturdy enough to withstand indoor and outdoor use and makes a super fun addition to driveway obstacle courses and backyard races. Full disclosure—it squeaks when they bounce, but don't let that be a deterrent. One clever reviewer noted that with a pair of needle-nose pliers, you can surgically remove that sucker without damaging the base.

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      Dumptruck 

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      Hopper ball

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      Pull-along ducks

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      Rocking chair seesaw

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      Baby forest fox ride-on

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      Meadow ring toss game

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      We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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      The ultimate back-to-school shopping list for busy moms

      Use this list to prep for the best first day ever!

      CasarsaGuru / Getty

      After spending a summer reconnecting with friends and family, enjoying the outdoors and (hopefully!) making time for vacation, it's time for kids to head back to school. They're ready to learn, grow and get out of your hair again! But they'll need some help to get there. Before the exciting first day of school, you'll need to get all the gear together to make school a success.

      As a parent, use this basic but essential school supply list to find everything your little ones need for their classes—even on a budget.

      Loose Leaf Paper

      Even though there won't be any tests or quizzes when school begins, kids take plenty of notes, complete assignments and do in-class exercises. Every student needs at least a few packets of loose-leaf paper for quick notes and doodles. Check with your child's school to find out if they require college ruled or wide ruled before you fill up your shopping cart — odds are they won't, but it's worth being sure.

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      Personal Planner

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      #2 Pencils

      Most classes require #2 pencils because they show up easily on test bubble sheets that machines scan and grade. Add them to your child's school supply list before they sell out at local stores. A great deal on a large pack will likely last through the year.

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      Black Ink Pens

      Teachers grade in red ink pens so their notes stand out as study tools. Your student should use black ink pens that don't bleed on the paper. Their work will stand out and never smudge if you use a tried-and-true brand that knows how to make a quality pen, like BIC.

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      Highlighters in Different Colors

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      Big Pink Erasers

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      New Headphones

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      Lined Notebooks

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      Three-Ring Binders

      Students collect their loose-leaf notes in three-ring binders because they snap everything shut and keep notes safe. Find back-to-school binders that match your child's personality so they can stack everything safely in their locker without bending or crushing papers.

      $16.95

      Locker Decorations

      Most kids love decorating their lockers when they start middle school or junior high. Add locker decorations to your school supply list so they can personalize their storage unit and feel more at home.

      $14.99

      New Lunch Box

      Spoiled food ruins the first day of school. But a dual-compartment lunch box ensures your child's food stays fresh throughout the day by designating a special section for an ice pack. Your purchase could also start a new tradition of getting a different lunch box when the school year begins, easing your kids' nerves about beginning a new grade.

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      Upgraded Backpack

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      Colorful Markers

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      Reusable Water Bottle

      Drinking out of water fountains helps spread illnesses. Your kids can avoid flu season by carrying a reusable water bottle in their backpack. Let them pick out whichever one they want and they'll look forward to using it instead of drinking from public fountains.

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      Calculator

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      Back to School Landing

      Mom relieves baby's gas like a pro in viral TikTok

      "How was he not floating around like a balloon?!" asked one commenter.

      @kaseybuscemi/TikTok

      We all know the struggles of having a gassy baby. It can be rough—for baby and for you! Since babies don't actually come out of the womb knowing how to pass their own gas without a little assistance, there are so many different techniques and tips out there to help your baby feel more comfortable when they're a little...flatulent.

      "Bicycle legs" is one common technique that can help get things moving for baby gas relief, and no one does it better than this mom on TikTok.

      Her video has more than 10 million likes, and it's not hard to see why—it's mesmerizing, informative, and, of course, downright hilarious!


      Her little baby has a wicked case of the toots and even mom cracks up by the end.

      Someone give this mom, @kaseybuscemi TikTok, a gold medal, because she just placed first in the Farting Your Baby Olympics. No joke. When I first learned about the "bicycle legs" technique (after my baby spit the gripe water right back at me and, I kid you not, laughed in my face while making direct eye contact), I felt awkward and had no idea what kind of rhythm was required to effectively fart my own baby.

      This mom? TOTAL PRO.

      The comments on this video are as funny and entertaining as you'd expect them to be, too:

      Never in my 30 years of living have I ever seen someone fart a baby. This is so cool.

      TWIST IT! PULL IT! BOP IT!

      *baby all grown up* "So what's a fun fact of yours?" "Oh 6 million people saw me fart."

      How was he not floating around like a balloon??

      Farting a baby is just as important as burping a baby!

      As far as the importance of farting a baby goes, yes, in case you're wondering, it is important. Some gassiness in babies is totally normal—just like with adults. Regular farting and burping are a sign of good gastrointestinal health, according to Healthline. In addition to bicycle legs, changing the baby's position, gently massaging the baby or bouncing the baby a little bit can also help alleviate trapped gas.

      Your baby could also be intaking a tad too much air from your nipple or the nipples of a bottle if they're extra gassy. If you're concerned about your own baby's gassiness, contact your pediatrician or healthcare provider for more information.

      If you're looking to master the bicycle legs technique, though, look no further than this video right here!

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