It’s been a year since my lawsuit against Better Birth of Utah (and Suzanne Smith LDEM) for abusing me during childbirth. I’ve healed enough from that experience to decide to have another child, this time under the care of an OBGYN. I’m happy to report that this time around I was treated with dignity and respect. I was panicked at the outset that the same thing would happen to me again, that I was somehow bringing abuse upon myself and that it was inevitable. I’m pretty certain that I will grapple with that fear for the rest of my life.
During the trial a lot of the arguments centered around painting me as a person that is traumatized by regular actions on account of being inherently defective in some way. Again- I know in my head that that isn’t true, but it is difficult to hear hours of arguments from attorneys about that without it seeping into your self concept somewhat, not necessarily believing them but questioning if there is something to their criticism. I’ve wondered a lot if what they said was true, if I am the problem. Having a respectful experience of childbirth has answered that question for me- I’m not a crazy person, I don’t feel traumatized by normal actions. It was Ester Rolasier Werbach, and her actions, that traumatized me. My reaction was a normal reaction to an abnormal and extreme situation that I hope no other woman ever suffers. The relief of having been vulnerable to strangers and yet treated kindly has been very powerful for me. I’ve largely avoided trusting strangers since my experience of abuse at Better Birth so this was a big step for me to expect the best out of others. I’m also mourning the loss of what could have been with my baby a bit more vividly now that I am experiencing a happy post partum period. This is everything that things should have been the first time around, instead of having to grapple with reporting the abuse without being believed by Better Birth while learning to take care of a newborn baby. It was more than anyone should have to cope with at one time. I feel bad for my child to have had a parent that could not give 100% to them during that time.
Right now I mostly hate how unnecessary all the suffering was from my experience at Better Birth. Now I know a different way and the contrast makes the past difficult to look back on. There was no reason for any of it, at all.