Experience tells us trauma stems from the seemingly smallest of unkindness – the lack of care, the thoughtless comment.
They Said To Me was birthed at 3 am one morning in 2020, mid covid. Samantha was laying in bed, not sleeping, after another day and night of supporting women and birthing people to access their birth rights in a sea of coercion and lack of support. She realised she could not hear another story without giving voice to the voiceless and creating an outlet where these stories could be properly heard.
They Said To Me gives voice to birthing women and people to share these experiences within maternity services to stop them from feeling alone and silenced.
The Facebook page is followed by maternity lecturers, midwives, health care professionals, birth workers and birthing women and people. Each story, however “big” or “small”, makes a difference to the world.
Each individual deserves to be heard and seen.
At Last A Public Voice For All The Hidden Victims
They Said to Me is such an important forum with which to do some much needed naming and shaming of the abuse and liberties carried out on a daily basis by maternity services.
As soon as you start to pursue a natural birth, if you do, and particularly if you join groups with others doing likewise, you will hear stories like those told on this page, every day. Sadly, even if you follow all advice you may not escape the poor service, abuse and sometimes assault that frequently occurs, but if you are trying to go against advice and make your own informed choice it will be ramped up.
Yet, it doesn’t seem to be common knowledge that this sort of thing routinely goes on. Even worse, some are just resigned to the cowboy antics. Many women don’t find out until they are pregnant just how coercive and abusive maternity services can be. Often, by the time they do realise, they feel too intimidated to do anything about it or feels too late and they have had unwanted interventions, abuse and a traumatic experience.
Some people don’t really realise that what happened to them was coercion and abuse for years or even at all. Like all abuse it comes with a big dose of brainwashing and that is how it works. Women are often nervous and vulnerable when they are pregnant and professionals too often feed and take advantage of their fears in order to bend them to their will. Once babies are born, mothers are often too traumatised and busy to fight back and complain. They are also frequently told not to complain and to be grateful that they and their babies are alive, as if that is all they should expect from a health service. So many women bury the trauma or just the unpleasant, dehumanising experience of using maternity services.
Anything that blows the lid open on this whole unsavoury business is a good thing and They Said To Me is making an important contribution. I hope more and more comments will be tagged to the service that spawned them so that services can be truly named and shamed. This should be the next #metoo movement and They Said To Me is on the front line calling the battle cry!
Response from They Said To Me
Thank you so much – it is really important work, all of the stories add up to show these are not isolated incidents and we are so grateful to those who share their experiences with us.
A fantastic forum for women and birthing people to be heard
Expectant families navigating the maternity system, that have felt unable to tell their story now have a forum to do it! It is so important that these people are heard but too often they feel that they will be singled out or even targeted as a ‘troublemaker’ if they talk about their experience. They Said To Me gives people a voice!
Response from They Said To Me
Thank you for your support for our important cause.
Exposing the true violation and abuse women experience
A startling, brutally honest look into modern maternity services. Coercion and assault are rampant and women’s voices are silenced by society. No longer thanks to this page.
Response from They Said To Me
Thank you for your support – it is time to bring these issues out of the shadows and into the public eye.
Pregnancy and birth are beautiful, sacred events and should be respected as such. Medical intervention, which can be life saving, should be reserved for the few who need it, not the many, who don’t.
It is a time when informed consent is paramount and the choices of birthing women and people should be treated with utmost respect.
Most are stories from the UK. If you would like to contribute, either by sharing your story, sharing our posts, buying branded merchandise and following us on Facebook and/or making a donation to our cause, please click on the relevant links.
This campaign has been created by Samantha Gadsden, National Virtual Doula. Samantha is dedicated to supporting women and birthing people. You can find more about Sam on her website, caerphillydoula.co.uk.
“Your Journey, Your Body, Your Baby, Your Birth”
Frequently Asked Questions
I want to share my story but don’t feel comfortable including my name.
We completely understand why people may not want to include their name on their post. If you don’t want to include your name simply don’t include it in the box when writing your blog or say anonymous.
I feel uncomfortable reading these stories.
For those practising in this way, you should feel uncomfortable. These stories are the real life, lived experiences of pregnant and birthing women and people and need to be out in the open. Without awareness change cannot happen.
From those contributing to the page, we have received many messages. We are sorry that sharing these words may contribute to your trauma and acknowledge that, but in order to make change, we need to share these words and many of our contributors feel heard and comforted by sharing.
I want to contribute to this cause, how can I?
There are a few things you can do to support this cause. Share your story, share this website, buy our merchandise and like and share our Facebook and Instagram posts. Make a donation to enable us to continue to pay for the vital resources that keep this going. Show this website to any health care professionals in maternity services you may know.
We can also come out and talk at conferences or to groups of healthcare professionals.
Is this cause really necessary? Aren’t women treated fairly within maternity services?
We are hearing from hundreds of women and birthing people all the time who are telling us of the coercive, fear-based practices that they’re experiencing at the hands of maternity services. It’s time we came together to address this massive issue.
Where does the money I donate go to?
So far we’ve raised funds for our domain name and a year of Canva Pro, web hosting, and a small token gesture towards the building of the website which was gifted to us. The next funds will pay towards a social media post scheduling app and then after all of that there may be some funds used towards time to run this website and Facebook page.
I need some additional support to process the experience I have gone through within maternity services.
This is something we can help with, we have a variety of services and support groups.
We can provide birth listening and afterthoughts, debriefs and help to process what has happened to you – alongside perhaps planning your next birth. At the moment these are paid but we are hoping to obtain some grant funding in the future to provide free and subsidised services.
Please complete the contact form on this website or send us a message via our Facebook page.
This website has been co-created voluntarily with Joanna Chapman Virtual Assistant.