labor nurse has been reborn and shares her experiences as a new nurse-midwife, woman, and blogger

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Embers

I've been contemplating whether or not to continue this blog- I took the hiatus for an undetermined amount of time, and found that about once a month I'd think- "Hey! This would make for great blog fodder!" but never really end up putting anything together.

Am I still burnt?


Have I become jaded?

Well, yes...but I wasn't exactly sure I was going to enter midwifery feeling like I was going to single-handedly change the system. What I found myself most surprised by was (and still do!) how overwhelmingly powerful The Man really is. And as a woman who hopes to need maternity care some day (hang with me, people...), this has became even more disconcerting.

The fire in my belly has been tamped down to a few tiny damp embers... I've kept up with only a few blogs on maternity care because reading anything that seemed full of the The Man's mission- or even just hints of it- causes me so much distress and anxiousness that I just don't bother.

I've tried to narrow down why exactly I've been feeling this way, and it comes down to the sheer fact that I feel like a professional failure. I have not affected maternity care in the way I was hoping. I've attended wonderful births, had prenatal visits with women and families that were empowering, but in a system that has continued to marginalize midwifery.

I have been toying with the idea of returning to nursing, but that would just solidify what the complete opposite of what I wish would happen for maternity care- and ultimately women and their babies. Not to mention how difficult it would be to go back to labor nursing- having to follow orders by obstetricians who overuse intervention, watch that cascade of interventions spiral out of control...with little power to affect it.

But I keep doing what I've been doing now for some time: I get up every morning, and I go to work. I take care of women and their families.


Jan Andrea said...

What you do is important, whether it makes big waves or just little ones. Every woman you attend will always remember you. Sometimes, that's all we can ask for. I hope you will continue.

Pigeon said...

I always enjoyed your blog :-) But its tough to be a lone voice in the wilderness, knowing that the Man could give a crap what you think and will grind you into dust anyways.

I found your blog about 2 or 3 years ago, when I was looking for a vbac for my 2nd kid. I've now had that hbac and another subsequent cs, and now have health issues that would make another vaginal birth inadvisable. I want a fourth kid, but the thought of going through the whole rigmarole of another cs? Ugh. Its holding me back from having another kid, and it would be one day of my life....I can't imagine doing that every single day from the other side of the table, knowing what you know. What little I know about the Man makes me cringe every time I see a pregnant woman.

Hugs. I hope you find some direction and comfort in your work.

Iris said...

It's good to hear from you! I really hope you can continue writing - even if it is once a month or however often you have the time (I imagine you're very busy!).

I'm sorry you feel that way. I imagine it would get frustrating. But I strongly hope that you will continue to do what you do - we NEED midwives! The mothers, babies, and families need you!! :)

AtYourCervix said...

Stick with midwifery. You are making a difference! One woman, one family at a time. I can totally understand how burned out you might feel about going up against the "man" single-handedly. Totally, totally, know how you feel. I feel that I am going into midwifery (2 more years til I'm done with school!) fighting to overcome so many obstacles that I see in U.S. obstetrics.

Hang in there!!!!

Bean said...

I want to be succinct and say the right things but I'm not sure if I will succeed.

I am a new grad in a very midwife unfriendly town. Even the midwives here are unfriendly to each other. I did my integration here and at the end I literally did not know who I was any more.

I refuse to give in. I don't know where I'm going to land (figuratively- can't leave this damn town) but I am here and I am not going to let the man take my identity away. Again.

Whatever decisions you make, you are not alone.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I am so sorry for your disillusionment. I don't know how I would maintain my ideals -- or even a compromise between my ideals and reality -- if I had to work in a hospital. (I am a doula, and most of my clients give birth in hospitals, but I don't work for the hospital, and I just try to help my clients get the information they need.) In some respects, a cycle like yours is normal for birth workers -- go in all fired up, hit reality, get depressed and wonder if you're making a difference or if you should just quit, and then either get a second wind or quit. I for one hope and pray you get that second wave of hope. You are making a difference for your patients, because you care about making birth humane and allowing it to be beautiful, and I know not every labor & delivery worker cares that much. Hang in there -- maybe this is transition for you, and soon you'll turn a corner and see the fruits of your labor. Thanks for posting about this.

decemberbaby said...

Delurking to encourage you... please stick with midwifery! Every positive interaction you have with a family, every time a nurse or doctor sees the benefit of how you practise, you're changing things for the better. Things won't change overnight, or in a year. But they will change.

"It is not up to you to complete the task, nor are you free to desist from it."

Mama to Monkeys said...

What a beautiful find in my google reader tonight. :)

Like you I rarely blog anymore and due to my impending graduation I placed mine on private settings (though I might re-emerge in as a new persona somewhere).

Keep the faith, mamacita. And remember, the number or diversity of readers don't matter. It's the therapy of writing that counts.

Enjoy Birth said...

Hugs to you and encouragement too! Every little thing you do is important! Even if you are not making huge changes in the world, you are making a difference for the women you serve.
Keep up the good work!

Sam said...

I found you when I was pregnant with my now 20 month old toddler. I just found out I'm pregnant again and looked you up. I'm sorry that being a nurse-midwife isn't what you hoped it would be!

Katie O'Connell said...

Labor Nurse! Don't go!!
Tell me one thing, just one thing, small even, that you wish you could change, that would be a foothold however small & tenuous against The Man? I am you however many years ago- graduating from Nursing School in May 11 and have my sights on becoming a CNM. I am appalled at what I've seen so far - not just in L&D but throughout the hospital/healthcare system. I am in New York City. Can you give me a shred of hope? Can there be a revolution, nurse-driven, in the delivery sytem of care to pregnant women???!!

The Ethologic Mom said...

Hi. I just found your blog and I hope you will keep going and continue to post!
I have a sense of what you feel...I have taken a hiatus from my work in NICU for much the same reasons. I feel like a complete failure in my efforts to bring respectful care to infants and families in that hell-hole that we call a NICU. Working hard to re-invent myself into something more fierce so that I can go back to it and do something good.

Ciarin said...

OMG. It's me. You're me....or I am you. I feel like you just pulled the words right out of my head! I'm so tired of always fighting the fight. I'm so done. I'm going back to school next year to learn a different specialty. That's how done I am.

Peaceful Birth Peaceful Baby said...

I have read many many many of your posts,and I worry about how taxing it is to work in the field that you do. I am studying to be a midwife-but I surely will not be a CNM. If you are overwhelmed by hospital practices,Dr's orders etc..why not start your own practice,and get your CPM license? Since I feel called to do home births,and like you would get too upset about the treatment of women in our hospitals,I have decided that this is by far my best option. Good luck. I hope that CPM's are legal in your state.
Doula,CBE,aspiring midwife(CPM)

Beth said...

Being a nurse myself here in Chicago, I can understand where you are coming from. You think nothing you can do will help bring about change...this is so far from the truth! Even if you change one little, seemingly insignificant thing, you have made a difference. Happy Nurse's Week!

Cathy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mitchsmom said...

Just wondering what you're up to these day?

Labor Nurse, CNM said...

mitchsmom....thank you for asking. I recognize your name from when I was writing my first I decided to pop on quickly to say I'm thinking about writing some posts in the near future.

We'll see.