Case Study - Teenage Girl
I didn’t know anything about Sex, contraception or relationships when I left school, there was never anyone to ask who could explain properly to me in sign language. I didn’t know how many sexual partners were ‘normal’. When I left school and left home, I was raped by a man. Then I had lots of men coming to my flat and asking me for sex, I just thought that it was what I was supposed to do. I didn’t learn about Sexual Health until I was 18, when a deaf man explained it to me.
But during this time I had become pregnant. There were so many things that I didn’t know. There is lots of written information out there, but it isn’t accessible to me – it stressed me out trying to read it because of the jargon, and my literacy skills are not good, because of my deafness. I was lucky that eventually I was put in touch with a midwife who used sign language, and understood about the impact of deafness. I am told that there are hardly any midwives in the UK who have these skills.
It was awful that when the birth came my midwife couldn’t be there. I had someone else who I didn’t understand, and no one there could understand me. They gave me a caesarean and I was frightened. I still don’t know why I had a caesarean, but I was angry, I wanted a natural birth. I was very lucky that for some of my pregnancy I had a midwife with deaf awareness, but there was still so much that could have been improved.