This week I had one of my prenatal patients come to the hospital twice in one day for prodromal labor, with significant difficulty managing her contractions at home. By the second visit, therapeutic rest either in the hospital or at home were offered to her, and she chose to continue laboring at home with Benadryl. A few hours later she texts me to let me know the Benadryl didn’t work at all. By this time I was home, spending much-needed time with my partner, and trying to distract myself from a difficult work week.
To be intricately involved in her experience throughout her pregnancy and then to struggle with managing her pain when all the go-to options ran out was incredibly difficult. It felt like I was failing her. I did not sleep well, and I am sure neither did she. It is also a challenging thought process to not feel selfish over my personal time when I could have been with her at the hospital when she eventually was admitted. So many things to still learn about this profession, so many things to juggle, so many reassurances to give with possible feelings of failure.
Drawing the impossible? Fully dressed Superheroines – Andrew at GeekNative
“…Artist Michael Lee Lunsford stresses that the goal of his redesign project is not to push some sort of moral code on to you. He says it’s an exercise in character design – do these superheroes feel the same to you even though their costumes are different?
I take Mike’s point… he’s not pushing a moral code on to me. That said; it’s hard not to take a lesson from this collection…”
What Is the Goal of the Doula Movement? – Miriam Pérez, RH Reality Check
An interesting thought regarding all professions or roles being thought of as movements. Midwifery also embodies this concept: a profession wrapped up in a movement. Does there have to be an end goal, or is our work continuous and evolving, not necessarily a movement toward one thing but works/movements toward many things?
“…What would institutionalization of doulas mean for our ability to make the radical change that doulas work to make, the change that could actually bring our maternity care system back toward patient-centered and non-interventionist care? I know there are other professions that at their inception saw themselves as actors with the ability to make radical change. I think about nurses, and how much of what doulas do was at one time seen as part of the role of the nurse. Nurses are meant to be focused on patient needs, to be a more consistent presence during hospital stays. But the reality of nursing today, particularly in hospitals, is very different. Nurses attend to many patients at once, and at least in labor and delivery wards, do so more from the nurses’ station monitors than from the patients’ actual rooms. Social workers are another example of a well-intentioned profession whose ability to make major systemic change has been mediated by the institutions that support the profession.
I recently had a conversation about this with Jennie Joseph, a midwife and leader in the movement to address race-based maternal health disparities. In particular, we discussed how, despite the existence of Healthy Start, a decades-old government-funded program with millions of dollars in funding, infant mortality and low infant birth weight among African Americans in the United States remains extremely high. What is it about these institutional solutions that renders them ineffective, or at least keeps them from achieving their goals?…”
Not news from last week, but two resources shared with me that I wanted to share with you –
Mama Midwife: A Birth Adventure
“…Mama Midwife is the story of young Miso the mouse, whose mother is a midwife. When Mama rushes out of the house in the middle of the night during a slumber party, Miso’s friends are intrigued! Is Miso’s mama a superhero? A secret agent? Miso giggles at the theories and gathers her friends close to share the real-life adventures of a midwife. When Miso’s dream of attending a birth in the forest comes true, she learns more about birth then she ever could have imagined.
Whether a baby is born at home or in the hospital, midwives play an invaluable, powerful and often sacred role in many births. Mama Midwife is a hip and tender story that introduces children to midwifery, while celebrating and affirming our ability to birth…”
Breastfeeding While Black Can Be an Isolating Experience – Kimberly Seals Allers at Forbes
“…“The proverbial ‘Sally’ cannot talk to the proverbial ‘Shaniqua,’” says Johnson.
Truth moment: I discovered something about myself when I was breastfeeding my daughter. I did not really want a white woman to see my breasts. Maybe because of my overly dark areola and large nipples (I had to get a special pump), which seemed exotic and very National Geographic in my own mind. And I certainly didn’t want to tell a white woman some of the comments of my family members, which were really at the root of my insecurities around breastfeeding but may have sounded “ignorant” to anyone else not familiar with our cultural history.
I know I am not alone.
“Black women often find it easier to speak to my black lactation consultants or nurses. They understand each other from a cultural perspective and can relate to them in a different way than they are able to relate to me,” says Sylvia Edwards, manager of lactation services at the University of AlabamaBirmingham hospital and co-chair of the Alabama Breastfeeding Coalition.
Can white certified lactation consultants help bridge the racial gap in breastfeeding rates? Perhaps, with a lot of cultural training. Could more African American consultants get us there much faster? Absolutely…”