Nov 162011

“If you didn’t open your legs in the first place, you wouldn’t be in this mess.” – Midwife to 14 year old mother who declined opening her legs in order for the midwife to do a vaginal exam.

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 November 16, 2011  Age, Cervical exam, Midwife  Add comments

  36 Responses to ““If You Didn’t Open Your Legs In The First Place, You Wouldn’t Be In This Mess.””

  1. Wow. Regardless of what age the mom is this comment is just completely rude.

  2. I’m so thankful that I never got any rude comments, remarks, or treatments when I was 16 and pregnant. Things like this make me sick!

  3. Uggghhh… statements like this, make me sick to my stomach.

  4. Did you EVER stop to consider that she was RAPED or MOLESTED you unfeeling monster???

    • This comment is uncalled for even if the midwife knew that Mom had consented to sex. While its even worse if she had not consented, it is not the place of a medical professional to make value judgements at a person who is now trying to deal with the consequences of actions which are already past.

    • I saw a statistic once that the overwhelming majority of girls under 15 who had experienced sex had done it through some form of coercion, either physical or emotional. I don’t remember the number and I don’t remember the source, but I do remember being horrified.

      I hope it’s not true, but it would certainly make this midwife’s remark all the nastier if the 14 year old had been coerced.

  5. *ZAP!*

    If the young Mama is reading this: I’m so sorry you had to put up with this garbage.

  6. 1) What Jane said. And either way, (assuming US), there is a very good reason no state has an age of consent lower than 16.

    2) Pregnancy and children are not (or should not be) a “mess” nor a punishment for misbehavior.

    3) Most vaginal exams are unnecessary anyway.

    4) You can’t force clients nor patients with all of their mental faculties to consent to medical procedures, especially when their lives are not hanging in the balance.

    5) The way to speak to “non-compliant” patients, if you truly feel the procedure is necessary, is not as if you are a prison warden, preschool teacher or a preschoolER. What’s next? “If you don’t let me do an episiotomy, I won’t be your friend anymore?”

    6) You don’t have to open your legs to get pregnant!

  7. This makes me ill. This GIRL (and at 14 she is a girl) deserves compassion not nastiness. Ugh.

  8. Uncalled for. I’m so so sorry this was said to you. Lack of professionalism :(

  9. I just had to chime in here.
    This midwife was WAY out of line. It doesn’t matter what the conditions were under which the mother got pregnant. The midwife’s job is to provide care that the mother wants. The mother didn’t want. It’s that simple. Especially since, as other posters said, a VE is not necessary (in most cases).
    OP, I’m so sorry you were treated this way.
    NOTHING gives a healthcare provider the right to speak this way.

  10. Oh goody, slut shaming! That’s appropriate!
    It’s to the point where it seems we need to pass out leaflets about what a doctor can and cannot say. That way, patients know to speak up when doctors are nasty, and doctors will know to keep their nasty, disgusting, useless opinions to themselves.

  11. Just wondering if parents can legally over-ride their daughter’s refusal in these kinds of situations?

    I ask because when I was in 7th grade I was taken to the hospital with horrific period-related cramps because I had passed out. I was a virgin, but the ER team insisted on doing a pelvic exam and vaginal ultrasound to check for ectopic pregnancy. I refused, but they told me my parents had given permission and since I was a minor they could do it. I was held down against my will and examined. Turns out I was just dehydrated.

    • I am sure they can in most cases, but it all depends on whther the parents are present and of sound mind.

    • Unless it has changed since my oldest was born, which is almost 16 years and my first unnecessary cesarean :( it was told to my mom that since I was pregnant medically speaking I was emancipated. She signed and was not allowed to sign any of my admissions paperwork or any consents. Unless mom was unconscious and unable to consent then like any other situation parent or spouse can sign.

    • I am so sorry you had to endure that, reading that makes my blood boil.

    • That’s horrible. Did they even try to check with an external US first? Did they have you pee in a cup for a pregnancy test? To me what they did was tantamount to rape. I’m so sorry you had to go through that. Did your parents ever apologize or acknowledge they were wrong to allow it?

      • Nope on all counts. My parents don’t even believe me. I think they just signed a blanket consent form for the ER staff to do whatever…one of the doctors was a friend of my dad’s. They stayed in the waiting area so didn’t witness any of this.

        The worst part of all this was that I told the EMTs before they even put me in the ambulance that I was probably just dehydrated because my PE teacher had us do a mile run and the class before that was a science class where we weren’t allowed any drinks or containers so I didn’t have a water bottle with me. Couple that with me being on my period DUH I was dehydrated.

        • I can understand your dad being in th waiting room…but your MUM didn’t even comee into the room and sit with you, talk to you, calm you down, supervise/hold your hand during procedures etc? I am kinda horrified and disgusted tbh.

    • “My parents don’t even believe me. I think they just signed a blanket consent form for the ER staff to do whatever…one of the doctors was a friend of my dad’s. They stayed in the waiting area so didn’t witness any of this.

      !!! Get a copy of your chart. A blanket consent form doesn’t cover stat. rape with objects. These docs. should be reported to the board AND the cops.

    • “Legally” doesn’t matter… what matters is what the drs want to do and what the DRS say is legal!:(

      When I delivered my first child (pregnant at 14, delivered at 15) I was induced. I had no idea what I was in for so I agreed. I had signed the paper at the dr for payment plans but it wasn’t legally valid since I was a minor… but at the hospital when I was in so much pain I couldn’t breath I asked for “something”. My dad refused to allow it. The nurses had to go and get a lawyer for the hospital on the phone and get an answer. I, as the patient, asked for pain relief.. however, my father, the one paying the bill, didn’t want me to have it. WHO WINS? Turns out that if a patient says yes/no they go with the patient.

      BTW.. my dad said no to teach me a “lesson” and to make me have as much pain as possible so I would NEVER have another child.. also part of my “punishment” was that I was not allowed to take any prenatal classes, childbirth classes or anything else. I went in 100% blind! It didn’t work.. I have now vaginally delivered six children… and I had Demerol in my IV instead of an epi which was great… I had no idea what my options where or what I was going to get when I asked for relief.. so glad it was *only* Demerol.. cause it was bad enough!! :( Have learned SO much more since then!! :(

  12. If you hadn’t opened your mouth in the first place you wouldn’t be fired on the spot (I hope)!
    Even if sex was consensual it’s far different than a VE done by a stranger. Do health professionals really think they’re building a trusting or effective relationship with their clients when they speak to them like that?

  13. This is the first reason I had to want to get into midwifery as I was a teen mom at 16 and wanted to help other young mothers get the respectful, compassionate care that ALL people should get. Sadly the corruption of the maternal system has left me not wanting to go into a hospital based midwifery but instead home birth midwifery. And in that instance there are not many if at all any teen moms who are home-birthing :( So sorry momma, you did NOT deserve this whether consensual or not. Keep your head up, you will meet people that will assume they know you and what kind of parent you are only based on your age. Ignore them, don’t let them get you down. You CAN still achieve the dreams your heart desires!

  14. I am the OP. it wasn’t me that it happened to, it was my ex sister in law. To address a few of the things that have been brought up:

    - the sex was consentual (she had been having sex for over 12 months by the time she got pregnant at 13)
    - I suspect that parents would normally have the right to override most of these decisions, however int his case neither of the parents would have been able to, her dad is dead and her mother is schizophrenic. The only person who could ahve was me given that I was the closest thing she had to a legal guardian at the time, there was no way known I was going to go against a perfectly reasonable decision.
    - I didn’t cause too much of a stir with the midwife but I did insist that the mothers decision was a viable one given how she was labouring (very early)
    - the age of consent is also 16 in Australia but that rule doesn’t apply quite the same way when both partners are either below that age or the older is only a certain amount older (not sure ont eh exact number, 12 months maybe?) In this case, both partners were under 16.
    - This mother went on to have another child at 15, one at 17 and one at 22. She is one of the best mothers I have the priviledge of knowing.

    I will come back tomorrow and address any other things, it is 3am in Australia.

    • Australian law is different in every state, but the general rule is: age of consent is 16 (17 in some states) & most states also specify that their partner must be no more than 2 (3 in some states) years older, otherwise both parties must be over 18.

      So she was not actually old enough to legally consent, but if both parties are under the age of consent (providing “there is no evidence of a power imbalance or violence”), then the law cannot get involved in what they refer to as “sexual exploration”.

      • I was told in victoria children between the ages of 10 and 16 can have sex if they’re within 18 months of each other. But then again I was told in QLD (where I live) that it was 5 years between 16 and other partner… it would be interesting if that isn’t the case.

        • Close, but not quite for VIC (the QLD one is waaaay off! I’d be really worried about whoever told you that one!).

          Victorian law states:
          “The age of consent for sexual interactions is 16 years.

          If a person is charged with engaging in sexual activities with a person under the legal age, a legal defence is outlined in section 45(4). It states that:

          Consent is not a defence to a charge unless at the time of the alleged offence the child was aged 10 or older and -

          (a) the accused satisfies the court on the balance of probabilities that he or she believed on reasonable grounds that the child was aged 16 or older; or

          (b) the accused was not more than 2 years older than the child; or

          (c) the accused satisfies the court on the balance of probabilities that he or she believed on reasonable grounds that he or she was married to the child.”

          & Queensland law states:

          “The age of consent for anal sex (referred to as sodomy in legislation) is 18 years, and for all other sexual acts (referred to as carnal knowledge in legislation) is 16 years.

          If a person is charged with engaging in sexual activities with a person under the legal age, a legal defence is outlined in section 215(5). It states that:

          If the offence is alleged to have been committed in respect of a child of or above the age of 12 years, it is a defence to prove that the accused person believed, on reasonable grounds, that the child was of or above the age of 16 years.

          Note: This defence does not apply to acts of sodomy.”

    • Jade this happened to me also, in Australia also. I had my first at 15, 2nd at 17 and 3rd at 24. Its appalling how badly young mums are treated here. I live in Newcastle, which has the highest teen pregnancy rate in NSW (not sure about the country, but maybe…) and I was STILL treated like a pariah. I am so sorry that someone else experienced this as well.

      • I had my first at 19 and I still copped a lot of it even as a much older teen. I was degraded, spoken down to, not informed about things in full, babied, given drugs without consent…the list goes on. If that si what hospitals do to women who are legally adults then I hate to think what happens to younger teens every day :( (of course I have seen what happens but I still ahte to think how many poor girls are being subjected to this S**T)

  15. Just a short note of explanation to the US readers. In public hospitals in Australia, all mothers use midwives, unless circumstances change and you need an OB. So, the majority of Australian women who deliver in public hospitals use midwives. They are not just L&D nurses, unless an OB is called in for delivery, when they resume a more traditional nursing role.

    So, that means that there are a lot of midwives, and with that, you get your good and your bad. I had nothing but great care from the midwives at my public hospital. But, like every profession, there are some (like this idiot) who should not just be there.

    And, the laws of consent do vary. The age difference between the two partners is relevant.

    What a disgusting thing to say. I hate it when people abuse their power.

  16. Uh, shoving your hands into someone without their consent is called rape or sodomy, depending on the state.

    So go right ahead and violate a young girl, or anyone for that matter, you monster.

    OR you could abide her wishes. Since the woman is in control of her body AND any exam she has. NOT the doctor.

  17. You don’t have to open your legs to have sex. The doctor is making a big assumption. just wanted to put that out there.

  18. Good. 14 year olds have no business having sex. Ever.

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