In the months of May and June in 2015, we loaded our three small children in a car and headed from San Francisco to North Carolina.
Along the way, we stopped to meet, photograph, and listen to women who have experienced birth as traumatic.
This is our effort at EXPOSING THE SILENCE that blankets their experiences, in a societythat often cannot hear what women say about childbirth.
We are giving them a platform to show their strength.
Co-Creators, Lindsay Askins and Cristen Pascucci
Lindsay: As a photographer, doula and mother, this project means so much to me. I have had the overwhelming desire to create something significant with my photography for a long time. As a birth professional, I have spent hours thinking on this idea: how can I contribute to the improvement of how we treat pregnant and laboring women in America?
Cristen: The ultimate goal of this project is to bring awareness to birth trauma and obstetric violence — two very common, but very misunderstood, issues facing so many women in American childbirth. This photo project is part of a national effort to address obstetric violence, with the support of Improving Birth, Human Rights in Childbirth, and Birth Monopoly.
The legal definition of obstetric violence is“…the appropriation of the body and reproductive processes of women by health personnel, which is expressed as dehumanized treatment, an abuse of medication, and to convert the natural processes into pathological ones, bringing with it loss of autonomy and the ability to decide freely about their bodies and sexuality, negatively impacting the quality of life of women.”
It's time to meet these women and document their stories. It's time for women to feel validated in their feelings and experiences. It's time for the general public to be aware that obstetric violence is a very real and serious issue in the United States. It's time for women to feel confident in speaking out about their trauma during childbirth. It's time for the legal system to take these cases seriously and consider them viable in a court of law. It's time for the maternity care system to drastically change the way pregnant and birthing women are perceived and treated.
Nobody is listening - it's time to expose the silence.