What to do next time…

I asked a nurse what I could have done differently during this birth.  She pointed out that this nurse was probably operating from fear.  Fear that something might go wrong and she would get blamed. 

That helped me to reframe it a bit.  I think that I need to remember my doula clients have all taken my class, so I know they KNOW it is OK to eat and drink during a birth.  (More on this in my next postSo I will just stay sly about it.  If mom gets caught I will stay silent and not provoke the situation by trying to educate the nurse.  Because she doesn’t want to learn anything, she was just worried SHE would get in trouble.  I will remember my students know the truth and can choose to believe what the nurse says, or choose to use their Bubble of Peace and eat if they are hungry and drink if they are thirsty. 

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2 thoughts on “What to do next time…”

  1. Sheridan… this is a very empowering post. It’s very simply written and yet it carries a tremendous meaning. You’ve really been able to reframe the situation and realize that none of what happened had anything to do with your client or you. It was all about the nurse and her fears.

    I think you were very wise to state that you will not provoke the situation by trying to educate the nurse. Frankly, I think it’s nearly impossible to do much education in that situation and here’s why… (and this is purely anecdotal opinion from being “in the thick of the nursing world”)…

    I just recently had a similar conversation with some fellow nurses, except it was in reference to mothers and not nurses (though the principle can be applied either way). I work with some really naturally minded nurses. One of them said to me, “How can we help these women? How can we help them to see that by choosing certain interventions, they are going down the slippery slope?” And I said to her:

    “Quite frankly, I don’t think we can. We are hospital based. And when a woman presents in active labor, she is not very teachable.” NOW LET ME CLARIFY WHAT I MEAN BY THAT, LEST YOU THINK I MEANT THAT NEGATIVELY, WHICH I DID NOT!

    What I mean is this: When a woman becomes pregnant, all of a sudden she goes into “protective mode”. A woman will do whatever she *thinks* is best for her fetus, even if the information she has is false. Most pregnant women will not experiment with something new because they crave safety and security. They will go back to all that is familiar and all that they *think* is safe. Trying to change the mind of a pregnant woman is nearly impossible. The trick, I believe, is to get to women BEFORE they ever conceive. Women are much more amenable to change and new ways of thinking when there isn’t a fetus on board.

    This is the same reason I think that women have such vastly different thinking AFTER they have a train wreck birth experience. All that they *thought* was safe and good and familiar turned out to be the opposite. So before they even conceive the next child, they are already thinking, “I’ve got to do something different”.

    (I really do have a point here…)

    I think the above analogy can be likened to nurses as well. When nurses are in the thick of things, they will do what has always felt safe and right to them… and that means adhering to protocols and procedures. They aren’t really “teachable” in those moments… they fall back on what they know and what their comfort zone is.

    I don’t think most of us are receptive to teaching when we are in those life-altering moments.

    So my point is that we need to find a way to harness all this knowledge and impart it to young girls and women before they even conceive… ideally before they even begin menstruating… so that by the time these life changes occur, they already understand what normal is.

    Same with nurses… I think we need to try to teach them outside of their work shifts, when they are rested and don’t have a patient’s life in their hands and are more receptive.

    Just my $.02… or $2 as the case may be. 😉

  2. Pingback: Sad article about doulas in the New York Times « Enjoy Birth Blog

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