We asked people to share the words and phrases said to them during pregnancy and birth...the response was overwhelming. Language is a crucial part of the necessary communication during labour, birth and beyond. We all have the power to choose our words and tone carefully and it can be the most simple of changes in making the experience better for all.
'Stick and stones may break your bones, but word can also harm you.'
We studied over 100 different phrases and categorised the results into the following:
The Birth Test- (Value judgements - that there is a success/failure element)
Denying Reality - (diminishing experience, what you’re feeling isn’t real, we know best)
You’re nothing special- (not valuing or honouring individual experience , not meeting requested need)
Birth should be feared- (fear promoting language- although state that there are times this is necessary medically as long as explained later)
Not your choice- (Removal of agency - anything that addressed the power imbalance and took away women's choice)
We completed the campaign by creating this short video, to encourage those accompanying or working with women and birthing people during birth to consider the impact of their words.