By Sophie Brigstocke
This week the press reported a legal case involving a young woman who has agoraphobia. In advance of her birth her NHS care providers went to court to get legal consent to transfer her to hospital (against her wishes and with “proportionate” force) prior to labour. Whilst we can only rely on the media story being presented in this case it follows rather worryingly close to another similar situation just a couple of months ago involving another person with agoraphobia making a choice to birth their baby at home against the recommendations of medics. Birthrights, one of two brilliant charities supporting people around their legal rights in birth, wrote this blog about the case.
As a doula I feel incredibly saddened by these two stories. It feels like we are in a culture of fear and coercion when a birthing person’s feelings and instincts are not respected. When I think of someone being forcibly removed from their safe space into an unfamiliar environment I am chilled – it calls to mind historical images of people manacled and restrained during birth. I am wondering who is in the birthing person’s corner? These stories also raise questions about the future of birth in the UK, especially homebirth.