Jack Sparrow is a favorite in our home. What if he were to speak to a group of obstetricians on how to better maternal outcomes during childbearing? (I know, a far stretch, but it makes for a fun post nonetheless) hmmm....
Be Above Reproach
Make sure that all of your medical recommendations are not only justifiable, but above reproach.
Reproach: an expression of rebuke or disapproval, the act or action of reproaching or disapproving, a cause or occasion of blame, discredit, or disgrace" - Merriam-Webster OnlineReproach of the mother and the medical establishment. Considering that cesarean because mom is moving through a second shift of staff? Don't. Considering breaking that water in the GBS+ mama just because it will get her through transition faster? Reconsider.
It's Not Every Day
Ok, I know for you it is. But for every family that you serve, this is the day for them. The day that their baby is born. This treasure is beyond measure. And, for some women, the journey to that treasure is very important.
Don't belittle their joy, their expectations, or their priorities. This doesn't make you the bigger person in the room - it makes you the bully.
Lose The 'Tude
We all know that things don't always go according to plan, and sometimes there is reason to deviate from the hopes and plans of the family. Most families understand this and have no problem being flexible if the genuine need arises.
But, unless it is a genuine emergency, there is, oftentimes, time to exhaust other options so that families can rest assured that there were no other options. And who knows, some of those might (often do) work. Don't laugh at that rebozo, even if you think it's silly. Don't roll your eyes if she wants to try her hypnosis tracks. And don't cop an attitude to press your case - if they hired you, they must trust you, they're only flexing their newly-found parenting muscles - muscles that should be allowed to be flexed if they are going to become confident and well-adjusted parents.
By now, most people are well acclimated to the business of childbearing. Who can blame hospitals for operating like businesses, instituting policies that attempt to protect their keisters from litigation, etc.. etc...
But honestly, and I'm sorry if it burns you a little, but the parents really do call the shots in their healthcare. You could be their greatest ally. If there's no good medical reason to disagree, why not agree.
Bring It Down To Their Level
Explain. Explain the what and why and how. Even if you feel you might get some resistance, do it anyways. Really make an effort to not speak over the couple. Come down to their level and explain everything. Everything you ask? Yes, everything.
Make sure she understands what will be happening to her body, what will be put into her body. It's her body, she deserves that respect. Likewise, everyone in the room understands that you are the one with the medical degree who speaks medical jargon with ease; there's no reason to prove that point, but there is reason to talk with the couple in a language and with terms that they can understand.
This one kind of goes hand in hand with Lose the 'Tude. It's ok to validate a woman's feelings and frustrations. You don't need to try to make her feel better when things don't go the way she hopes. You don't need to defend yourself.
Her feelings and her perception of events are every much as valid as yours. And it can make a world of difference in her short term and long term emotional, mental, and physical health/healing.
You have no idea how your mood sets the tone for the room. It's OK to be hopeful. No one will fault you for giving a couple hope in the midst of a very uncertain time.
Until all options have been tried, or baby/mom's bodies say enough's enough, there is always time to be hopeful.
What if a group of rowdy, dirty, pirates were to stand before a group of Obstetricians and offer their insight into the care of women and babies at the time of birth? I would love to see it!