As birth professionals we often don’t take the time we need to for ourselves usually. We’re taking care of our clients, of our own families, but rarely do we indulge in that one thing that shouldn’t be an indulgence… Self Care. It’s a topic another board member addressed in February and I feel it’s critical we revisit it, and often.
I recently traveled nearly 2,000 miles for a few days with my family at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, and a side return trip to Salt Lake City, Utah, for a class that I would have attended but a client had an emergency transport to the major University hospital there and I shifted gears from Midwife to Doula so I could support not only her, but her family.
The Midwife part of me had all of her information available for her Doctor there who was compassionate and kind, and I interfaced with all the MD’s there on a professional peer-to-peer basis as a caregiver does… but then when it came time, I had to step back, and iterate her wishes; where I did my best to her walking birth plan (due to her unexpected emergency) – conveying the things her Doula at home had gone over with her regarding skin to skin ASAP, Breastfeeding, wishes regarding her placenta, etc…
Due to the severity of the situation I didn’t get to accompany her into the OR. Instead my apprentice (Colleen Shoaf, who’s also a Madriella Doula) and I supported the family, educating on the process of what was occurring, and providing that informational and emotional support that a Doula does so well. By the time we left, the sun was coming up and Colleen was tired but had enough energy to continue to the class that we were in town to attend.
I knew however that I was in for it if I didn’t cancel for me, and reschedule for a later date, which I did… I know my body enough by now to know that without a little self-care I might be in serious trouble.
Fast forward by a week, and as an asthmatic who’s just burned a two sided candle at five ends, I am struggling right now, recovering but that crash that was inevitable came. My lungs hate me and if I didn’t make decisions I made regarding self-care right after, I could be in the hospital today.
Sometimes you can’t avoid it, in our field we have long hard days and nights… the key to not crashing out is to take care of yourself in advance, and practice a little self care. I unfortunately was already running on very limited reserves when my client had her issue, and it all caught up to me. Fortunately I have plans for two weeks from now to go do what I need to do for me, which is to go find that oasis in the desert, and sit in the hot springs, enjoying the water bubbling around me and to doula the Midwife.
I encourage each and every one of you reading this to do the same. Well, maybe not at my little Oasis – those hot springs only hold so many people at once and are my place to go, that I don’t really share with a lot of folks, but find what works for you, and take advantage of it. You won’t regret it – because a little self care in advance will save a big crash and negative impact to your health in the future.
Oh my client? The whole family is doing beautiful and now Mom and Dad get to learn a whole new chapter in life and hopefully their own edition of how to provide self care… it’s not just for the provider after all.
Image copyright and property of Angela M. Morris, CTTH. All rights reserved.