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Image courtesy of Life & Lens Photography

Raising awareness of birth trauma, human rights violations in childbirth and obstetric violence through craftivism

Welcome to the Bunting for Birth Rights Project

About me

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My name is Kristyn, I am a mother of 2 and I'm passionate about women's rights.  

The birth of my first child in hospital was a traumatic experience for me, not only because it ended in an emergency surgical procedure, but because of the treatment I received from my care providers in hospital. I was made to feel inadequate and powerless. I was spoken down to and criticised. I left hospital feeling beaten and my parenting journey had just begun. If it wasn't for the support I received from my privately practicing midwives, I'm sure my experience would have been much worse.


When I fell pregnant again I was determined to have a better birth experience. I prepared for a VBAC at home with my midwives and it was an amazing, empowering and healing experience. Now that I know how beautiful birth can be, I am determined to help change the system and support others to pursue a beautiful birth experience for themselves.

The Cause

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Australia's maternity system is letting women and their families down. Women's basic human rights are often ignored, with care providers pushing their own agenda and putting hospital policy or personal bias before the wants and needs of the pregnant woman.


As a maternity consumer representative, I have heard too many stories from women who have had their wishes ignored or laughed at by their care providers. Women who, in the middle of labour, have been screamed at, belittled or threatened by their care providers. Women who have explicitly said no to interventions such as vaginal exams or episiotomies, yet their care provider went ahead with the procedure anyway. THIS IS OBSTETRIC VIOLENCE and it is rife in our country.


Women should be at the centre of maternity care. Women deserve to make informed choices about their care without fear of being bullied and physically assaulted by the people they trust with their care. A healthy baby is NOT all that matters, the mother's physical and mental health matters too. Childbirth can be and should be a rewarding, empowering experience for all women.

What is 'craftivism'?

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Wikipedia describes craftivism as


' a form of activism... that is centered on practices of craft - or what can traditionally be referred to as "domestic arts". Craftivism includes, but is not limited to, various forms of needlework including yarn-bombing or cross-stitch. Craftivism is a social process of collective empowerment, action, expression and negotiation.'


Betsy Greer, the 'godmother of Craftivism' , published The Craftivism Manifesto on her website craftivism.com, which I think sums it up rather nicely

The Project

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The Bunting for Birth Rights Project is a craftivism project created to raise awareness and get people talking about birth trauma, obstetric violence and human rights violations in childbirth. It is a way for people to peacefully protest the mistreatment of women in our maternity system and call for change.


The idea was born one night after reading about craftivism in the book 'Rise & Resist - How change the world' by Clare Press.


I encourage people who have been affected by birth trauma to create their own bunting flag to contribute towards the project and send it in with their personal story of birth trauma. 


The flags will be photographed and published on this website and social media with the artist's story. 


The flags will be assembled into a long bunting and carried at the next Women's March in Sydney, as an artistic representation of women affected by birth trauma.

Get Involved

If you have been affected by birth trauma, obstetric violence or violations of human rights during childbirth, either through lived experience or observation (as a family member or birth worker),

I welcome you to take part in the project. 


Step 1: Create your flag

I ask that you create your own bunting flag (one per person) which represents your feelings about your personal experiences. 

The flag can be created using whichever craft method you prefer: crochet, knitting, painting, cross stitch, sewing, quilting, embroidery, macrame, collage etc.

Each flag must be no smaller than A5 (148 x 210mm) and no larger than A4 (210 x 297mm). Please use the standard triangular or rectangular bunting shapes.

If using paper, please use card stock at least 200gsm thickness.


Step 2: Share your story 

Please send your flag with a brief story about your experience (1-2 A4 pages) along with your first name, age and suburb (this information will be used to create a map showing instances of birth trauma in Australia as a visual display of how widespread this issue is).


Step 3: Post your submission 

Flags should be sent to:

Kristyn Begnell 

The Bunting for Birth Rights Project 

Parcel Locker 10029 11492

296-302 High Street

Penrith NSW 2750


If you would like your flag returned to you after the Women's March, please provide a return address and contact number and state that you would like it returned. 

In the interest of sustainability, I encourage you to use materials that you already have, or source them second hand if possible. Op shops sometimes sell craft items and there are second hand craft shops in some major cities. Marketplace and gumtree are also great places to look.

FAQs

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Q. My traumatic experienced happened a long time ago, can I still participate?

A. Yes, there is no time limit for submissions, you are welcome to participate whether your experience was 20 years ago or 2 days ago.


Q. I don't feel comfortable sharing my story, can I still submit a flag?

A. Yes of course, there is no requirement to share the details of your experience, although sharing a brief explanation of your flag creation will help increase the impact and help people put what they are viewing into context.


Q. Can I participate anonymously?

A. If you wish to remain anonymous please make sure you include a note requesting so with your flag when you post it. The only personal information that will ever be published with the photo of your flag will be your initials, age and suburb (for use in our map of submissions). 


Q. I need some inspiration for my flag, I'm not a very creative person...

A. Perhaps you should start by writing your story first. Pay attention to how you feel as you go over what happened. You might find that if you start drawing on paper, the ideas will start flowing. Then you can start thinking about which craft techniques will best bring your idea to life. You can use multiple techniques if you like.

Contact Us

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Project Supporters

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Privacy Policy

By participating in this project you agree to give permission for your craft artwork and your story to be photographed and shared online for the purposes of promoting the Project and raising awareness of the cause.


Pictures will be published with your initials, age and suburb/state. If you wish to remain anonymous your pictures will be published with 'Anonymous' and your age and suburb/state. 


Your contact information (such as address, email or phone) will not be shared with anyone and will only be used for me for the purposes of contacting you regarding your flag and returning it to you when the project has ended.