Jan 042013

“What did you do?!” – Midwife to mother who gave birth to a baby with several birth defects. The baby passed away shortly after birth.

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 January 4, 2013  birth, Midwife, newborn, pregnancy loss  Add comments

  23 Responses to ““What Did You Do?!””

  1. “I held her and cuddled her and loved her and was her mother in whatever way I could be for as long as I was blessed with her presence. What would you have done instead?”

    Grr. I strongly suspect the midwife was saying “What did you do to cause her birth defect?” and my response is, you *can’t* cause these kinds of birth defects. Even if you tried, short of swimming in toxic waste and sunbathing inside the reaction chamber of a nuclear power plant, you can’t do anything to cause them. They happen because this is an imperfect world and the DNA chain is long and fragile, and it’s a stunner that our reproductive systems work at all.

    So don’t blame the mom. She’s probably already blamed herself.

    • Jane –

      It feels risky to say this, because you’re one of the reasons I read most of the comments here, and I know you lost a daughter to anencephaly.

      But as a childbirth educator, I have to point out that not all birth defects are genetic or are completely mysterious in origin. If mothers could never affect whether their babies developed birth defects, we wouldn’t have a thalidomide ban, pre-conception rubella titers, folic acid supplementation, warnings about fetal alcohol syndrome, discussion of occupational hazards and medication use in early pregnancy, or the March of Dimes.

      That being said, blame is NEVER appropriate. No matter what a woman took in or didn’t take into her body or whether her baby’s issues were caused by stress, heredity or sunspots, here are the ONLY appropriate responses to parents whose baby has severe problems: empathy and support.

      • I do understand that people can sometimes cause their baby’s birth defects. Thank you for making that clear.

        We do have to be careful with our unborn babies, but by the same token, I think most of the causes of birth defects aren’t necessarily environmental, or at least not I-controlled-this-envirnomental cause (ie, pollution, general toxicity, etc.)

        I agree with you that the midwife shouldn’t have assumed blame.

  2. What a horrific comment. I probably would have slapped her.

    OP, I’m so sorry.

  3. Wow, it’s hard to be more tactless and rude.

  4. Well it sounds like the OP had the misfortune of having a baby with birth defects. She had terrible misfortune of her baby not surviving those defects. But to make matters worse she had the misfortune of hiring a cold hearted bitch of a midwife how wouldn’t know compassion is it bite her on the butt.

    I’m so sorry OP.

  5. Words can not express how sorry I am to hear that you were treated this way, it breaks my heart to think of it. I don’t think I could have spoken a word in this situation, not one word.

  6. I am completely speechless. Oh, OP I’m so sorry.

    Some people (this midwife) shouldn’t be allowed to speak.

  7. I’m not the OP but my baby passed away shortly after birth due to birth defects also. Everyone who tried to save her was kind and respectful. Even as she passed away in my arms the dr was as gentle and whispered her time of death as he softly checked for her last heart beat. If ANYONE would of said something like this to me or my husband I would not have been able to restrain myself. What a cold hearted witch to blame the mother for causing her child’s death. I blamed myself for her passing for a long time. I still feel guilt I wasn’t able to save her, I am her mother and I wish I could of fixed her tiny little body. She would of been 4, and I think of her every single day. Comments like this make me so upset because NO ONE should EVER say things like this to a grieving mother, EVER.

  8. I have the chills. What a cold-hearted bitch.

  9. My heart breaks for your, OP. I am so sorry.

  10. I’m so sorry for your loss OP, and even more sorry at the way you were treated. This was not your fault.

  11. “Obviously, hired the wrong ‘care provider.’”

  12. My husband is a gentle, kind, and peaceful person. He never raises a hand to anyone, ever. But he would be in jail for punching that midwife–if I couldn’t get off the birth bed and to the midwife first!

    OP, I’m so sorry.

  13. Some of the stuff posted here, I have to confess I don’t find all that horrible. This, though? This is vile. OP, I am very sorry for the loss of your little girl, and sorrier still that someone who should have been supportive betrayed your trust so badly.

  14. This is just heartbreaking. How could someone be so cruel?

  15. :’( I am seriously tearing up. How could someone be such a callous bitch!

    OP, I am so sorry for your loss.

  16. I’ve asked myself for two years now what I could have done for my daughter to have TEF, and she has a great chance of living a [mostly] normal life. I can’t imagine any mother needing help beating herself up about birth defects, we’re always harder on ourselves than anyone else could possibly be. For anyone to question the mother, even in a respectful way, is way out of line. And the way this midwife did, she really shouldn’t be practicing medicine when she treats patients like this!

  17. Part of my hopes that this comment was caught on tape, or at least heard by witnesses.

    This comment is totally inexcusable!

  18. This is in the top three worst ones ever.

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