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Be The Voice of Change

I was working my shift as a volunteer doula and got to watch change happen. I met a beautiful laboring mom and got a chance to sit and listen to her. "Why am I here? I am not sure what is happening," she said. I asked her to explain her thoughts a little more and then we had a beautiful discussion. ""Would you like your concerns answered?" I asked. "Can that happen? she queried. "Yes, and it starts with the nurse." So, I brought in her nurse to help answer questions and clarify the situation. This nurse chose to change her busy routine to sit by this mom and listen. Instead of brushing aside the mom's concerns, she sat for a moment to learn more.

"Do I have a choice in what happens here?" asked the mom. "Yes!" the supportive nurse said. "Will you help me speak with my doctor about what I want and don't want to happen?" asked the teary mom to the nurse. I watched the moms eyes light up as the nurse told her that she would be happy to get her doctor for her.

The next few minutes were a little tense as the worried parents stumbled to voice their questions and thoughts. I sat back and watched the change in the parents as they took a moment to voice their fears and worries. The mom later told me that she had never spoken up to a doctor, but always done what they want even if she had concerns. This was a moment of change for them as they learned a new skill to care for their family.

The "why" question caused the seasoned doctor to adjust and change the original plan as she learned more about her patient's desires. It is hard (and uncomfortable) to change the care plan you have used for tons of moms through the years and now pave a new way. By that one mom speaking up, it took that doctor out of her usual routine and changed her a little too.

When that laboring mom voiced her thoughts, I changed too. I learned that you can't assume the laboring mom knows and understands everything. Stopping and listening are crucial components in birth satisfaction. By listening I learned that this mom just wanted to be part of the decision making in her own birth journey instead of feeling like things were being pushed on her.

Because she chose to be courageous and ask questions, all of us involved grew and learned a little. We all changed today. One small voice with one word "Why?" can make a big change to everyone around them. Stop and think for a minute. Why do we do what we do? Tradition? Best for Mom? It makes the most money? Do we just do it because we have never stopped to ask why? Personally, my take away is that I will assume less and listen more. Hopefully, the nurse and doctor changed too as they got a small glimpse into the fears and worries of this laboring mom and learned about supporting her. Respectful Maternity Care begins with each of us. Be the voice of change by speaking up with courage and kindness.

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