Just got a scathing email about my work as a labor doula with a previous client. A bad review I think that I did not fully deserve. Your thoughts?
Ever have a bad review?
I guess that we didn't mesh.
I guess I just want to know that other doulas have had neg feedback / non-meshing client, and went on to have success as doulas. Nothing went horribly wrong at the birth, but she did get very, very ill afterwards - having nothing to do with our work, together.
Maybe it was just miscommunication, I'm sure that you are a great doula, but maybe the mom was expecting something different than what she got. Did you spend time at prenatal visits talking about her expectations/what she wanted your role to be at the birth? If not, maybe that would help with future clients.
I haven't gotten any bad reviews from clients, but I did get a bad one from a nurse who said I didn't really do anything...not that she would have noticed what I was doing because she was barely there.
Some people just have unrealistic expectations, or are looking for someone to blame if everything didn't go perfectly. If you know that you served her to the best of your ability, don't take it personally.
I never really got a bad review other than a mother who was upset with me in the end that she got a cesarean birth and felt I wasn't being fair or nice to her. I was being honest - let me explain. The mom hadn't labored long and was in early labor when she got an epidural. From that point it was a LONG labor (well over 24 hours from that point) and I was with them the whole time. That entire time the doctor kept coming in and suggesting a cesarean - telling her she couldn't birth the baby and how she should just get it over with. When we finally got to pushing her epidural was dosed so high that there was no progress - every once in a while you could see that she was pushing but it was so far and few between, and I suggested turning down the epidural (this was where my mistake was) and when she asked me why I told her that she was struggling with pushing and I didn't see that she was getting it. The nurse kept telling her she was making lots of progress. I tried tug of war with her and told her she needs to push like she is having a bowel movement and she kept turning up her nose and saying she couldn't that was gross. Well to say the least she ended with a cesarean and was upset with me and told me that I made her feel like a failure by telling her that she wasn't pushing in the right area (she kept pushing into her face) and the nurse was supportive. I knew in the background that the cesarean was something the doctor had planned the entire time. I was her scapegoat and she was upset. When she had her next baby she went right for the cesarean but beforehand she badmouthed me to every doula she interviewed which hurt, but that was what she had to do to be okay with the situation and I am willing to accept that. I know I did what was right, and the strange thing was after her second child was born she didn't feel any better about the planned cesarean and strangely enough asked to be my friend on Facebook.
So was there a situation that happened that she specifically blames you for or does she feel you didn't do anything? I think I would look at the feedback and see how you can change for next time. For me I learned to talk about mothers about pushing prenatally and I do often share this experience (without names) and ask them if they want me to be honest with them if a nurse or doctor is telling them they are doing good and I see nothing happening (in the case above the nurse kept telling mom that she could see her vagina flanging out and that wasn't the case). It then can lead into us talking about honesty on my part and how I won't lie to them to make them feel better.
So what can you learn from this experience?
Glean from it what you can, and let the rest go.
More details would help, but understandably this isn't a great place to post them.
Try to look under the surface and see what she's really saying.
Did you have prenatal meetings? What were her expectations? Does she state that you fell short of her expectations? Were her expectations of you and your role reasonable and realistic?
If you want to discuss it more in depth feel free to PM me.
Did the client post the review on a public review board like Google, YELP or Urban Babies yet? Go look.
Do you feel she is going in that direction?
What has she indicated the reasons for writing this email to you?
Does she want a refund?
What does she want you to do to rectify the situation.
Have you apologized to her yet?
Given her a refund?