Tuesday, September 29, 2009


This was my response to an inquiry about a conversation I had recently, just tossing it out to the masses for discussion.

All my own opinion and practice here...

Meeting clients where THEY are at is the first step. It can't be done with your head, it has to be done with your heart. Hearing their fears, hearing their concerns, and standing behind THOSE while keeping the long view- the shadow is where their fear lives and that is often the guiding force of their decision making. What right do we have as professionals do DIMINISH that?? What right do we have to qualify their experience? It's one thing to say that it's frustrating to see that parents are not getting the information they need to understand how common a nuchal cord is, or to discuss the larger culture of birth, and it's another to diminish their experience because it seems silly, or even because the families just don't know any better.

For me, this reeks of the stories I hear of my friends who pursue nursing and have to stand at the L&D nurses station and hear the nurses criticizing and (this kills me) *laughing* at the mothers because of how they want their labor to go, or how they're handling it. Laughing at them!!! Now I realize that this is not what was happening but this is the seed of it- thinking we have something that they don't have, just because we are experienced and knowledgeable.

The judgment of parents puts us on the other side of a wall, not next to them which is where we desire (and they desire for us) to be. It's the shiny new doula with her ideals about how she's going to convince every client how amazing a natural birth is and to want it (that was me, 7 years ago). It's the birth professional who isn't truly listening with her heart, but processing with her head and the 'shoulds and should nots' that are just not helpful.

The client should do *exactly* what they're doing. They invite us in to help guide them and that is our role, to do that, to *serve*. This service requires the ego to step down, our encylopedic knowledge to take a back seat to a loving touch and a caring word, sometimes.

If one is going to make a lifestyle change, they must make it 24/7 a day until it becomes normal. They can't just do it when people are around. If we are going to TRULY elevate parents and hold them higher so that they might see themselves higher, then we must do it 24/7, with every word as well and this is what I strive for.

The beauty is that we are all exactly where we are supposed to be, wonderful teachers to each other! The call was a wonderful teacher for me, hearing the conversation and noticing my reaction to it- your inquiry was the next, because I had not formed these thoughts fully into words until now and it feels good to see it clarified. :) Thank you for inviting me to share!