VAMHN'S ECR BURSARY WINNER rebecca brione DISCUSSES THEIR ATTENDANCE AT THE "Philosophy of Birth" workshop
Have a read below to see what our ECR bursary winner Rebecca Brione did with their award money.
I was thrilled to be able to attend the Philosophy of Birth workshop at the University of Humanistic Studies, Utrecht, thanks to a VAMHN bursary. The workshop was given over to examining how we can address and prevent obstetric violence, and promote reproductive justice through a philosophical lens. It provided an opportunity to speak anew with familiar faces and also to meet new academics and practitioners working from innovative theoretical positions and perspectives.
Recognition of obstetric violence is still in its relatively early stages in the UK and Europe, despite both ground-breaking attempts in Latin America to legislate against this pervasive form of gender-based harm, and increasing recognition of the profound impact on birthing people’s mental health of ‘care’ that they experience as violent and violating. When the conjunction of birth care and violence remains contested and controversial, it is so important to be able to meet in person with colleagues tackling similar challenges in different legal, institutional and political contexts. As a PhD student it is always particularly valuable to receive constructive feedback and suggestions for how to develop my work further from those familiar with the context.
Across the day, we discussed the risks of coercion inherent in standardised care pathways & training, conceptualisations of self-sacrificial motherhood and questions of whose voice and knowledge ‘counts’ in accounts of harm and violence. We heard about new obstetric violence data from other jurisdictions and debated the roles of the law & advocacy in responding to gender-based violence. I sought feedback on the content and potential future use of my doctoral work on silencing of birthing people’s “no” in maternity care, and have come away with constructive suggestions to develop it further, new and wonderful contacts, and grand plans for advocacy-supporting work to sit alongside my PhD…watch this space!