Our bodies are not subject to hostile takeovers

I’m a 25-year-old woman currently without any children. One day, perhaps I’ll be lucky enough to raise the coolest little kiddo around. Said kiddo will be brought into this crazy world with the assistance of my friend and a wonderful midwife, Katie.

As an autonomous human, I have the freedom to make my own healthcare choices. I choose not to give birth in an environment that is anything but comfortable. Call it “white coat syndrome” if you want, but I do not want to give birth in a hospital setting.

I would be the one bringing a life into the world, I’m the one that’d be enduring the unimaginable pain (followed by — as I’ve been told by friends and family — unimaginable joy), so the birth happens on my terms.

This leads me to a story that I found over the weekend. The story of a woman named Jennifer Goodall.

The Chief Financial Officer at Bayfront Health in Port Charlotte, Florida wrote a letter to Goodall, a 39-week-pregnant mother of three.

Per a petition on change.org, “The letter informed her that because she decided to have a trial of labor before agreeing to cesarean surgery, her prenatal care providers intended to report her to the Department of Children and Family Services, seek a court order to perform surgery, and to perform cesarean surgery on her ‘with or without [her] consent’ if she came to the hospital.”

Okay, call me crazy if you want, but there is no way in Hell any CFO of a hospital, no way a doctor, nurse, or any medical professional is going to tell me they are going to do something “with or without” my consent.

Nothing is done to my body without my consent.

A photo was circulating throughout social media sites that said, “Because ‘with or without [her] consent is the vernacular of rapists, not doctors.”

… Ain’t that the truth.

Goodall has had three previous cesarean sections, and this time she wanted to deliver her baby naturally. According to a post on advocatesforpregnantwomen.org, Goodall said that if there were any complications during her attempt to have a vaginal delivery after cesarean (VBAC), she would consent to the surgery.

Based on my extremely brief research of VBACs (probably a total of four hours this weekend), it seems as though many, many women successfully give birth without the need for surgery after they’ve previously needed a c-section.

My biggest issue here is that the CFO of the medical center is attempting to take away Goodall’s autonomy, essentially taking away her freedom.

The health center is going to contact Child Protective Services because a mother would like to deliver her baby the way babies are usually delivered?! Give me a break.

According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, "In the obstetric setting, recognize that a competent pregnant woman is the appropriate decision maker for the fetus that she is carrying.”

C-sections can certainly be life-saving surgeries for mothers and babies, however choices should be discussed between the parents and healthcare provider, and decisions should be made voluntarily and free of force or coercion.

Most certainly the choice is not up to the Chief Financial Officer of the hospital.

There are a number of avenues where interested persons can learn more about Jennifer Goodall’s plight, and various ways to pledge support. Check out change.org/petitions/bayfront-health-do-not-force-jennifer-goodall-into-surgery for further information, or #Jenniferisnotalone on Facebook.

When my kiddo makes his (or her) way into this whirlwind of a place, it’s going to be on my terms. Not the terms of a financial hotshot, and not the terms of a doctor in a white coat (or six doctors, because you never know who will be working that day). It will be done the way I feel is best for me and the little tyke. With a trusted midwife in a comfy setting.

Keep your policy out of my autonomy.

Jennifer, you are not alone. You’ll receive something in the mail from me soon.

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