emotionally rejected by my old midwife - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 16 Old 03-11-2008, 05:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay I need some advice about a relationship with a former midwife that is upsetting me.

Long story short is she was my very wonderful midwife 16 months ago when my son was born, my care was transfered to the hospital per her advice and I had an unnecessary c-section, and then three months later I was forced to move away.

Recently I have been working through my difficulties with this birth and have taken on doula work myself. I've also been trying to contact her for my chart and some what of an explanation of what happened since last October. It's been almost five months and she has not as so much returned my one of my phone calls. Her assistant did however manage to send me part of my chart.

So I wrote her a long and very kind letter about a month ago and still nothing. I would love to have a conversation with her concerning the circumstances that surrounded my birth but do you think she doesn't want to? I thought we were friends, she was really a very good CP for me, even though I think the outcome could have been better. Do you think she can't face that? I thought I knew her, I thought she was very open and honest. She suggested I join ICAN and now shes ignoring my reaching out to her. I just don't get it. Plus, I WANT MY CHART at the very least. I want all of it. What do you guys think I should do. I am feeling very rejected.

thanks,

Savannah
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#2 of 16 Old 03-11-2008, 08:57 AM
 
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I'm sorry to hear that you are dealing with this avoidance by your former mw...that's tough. And not so professional of her, it seems, tho of course it is hard to know her reasons for this.

what I have found among mws is that some are willing to process births with clients, to hear questions and critique, discuss things that they might have done differently in retrospect. And some are not; for whatever reasons, they just won't go there.

You did not say whether or not she is licensed. If not, she could be wary of legal fallout from any conversation with you. If she is....she could also be wary of legal fallout--of a different sort-- from a conversation with you.

All I can say for sure is how painful it is for me, when I get stonewalled by someone with whom I hope to have a conversation as important as this one is to you!
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#3 of 16 Old 03-11-2008, 11:30 AM
 
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Maybe she's got other stuff on her plate? I would drop her a line and let her know you're disappointed that she has not responded to your attempts to contact her, but I wouldn't assume this is about you.
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#4 of 16 Old 03-11-2008, 12:52 PM
 
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I wanted to add something that is not intended to hurt you in any way. But I want to bring my point of view as a RN and as a Licensed Midwifery student to you- so that you might understand where some healthcare professionals are coming from (i've talked to other Midwives and assistants about this, too).

First, I want to say I've been in your place feeling rejected by my Midwife who was so important to me. As a client, I became very dependent on my Midwife emotionally. Midwifery is very intimate. I felt as though she was my friend. It is tough later, when the relationship ends.
As a birth assistant and student Midwife and as a RN- I see the other side. I participate in life changing events for the women I serve. Those relationships are special to me but not in the same way as they are for a client. There are very few clients who I really become frinds with. When they want to contact me outside the client-provider relationship it seems "wrong" to me. Or, if I don't immediately remember their name when I met them in the grocery store, park etc, they seem hurt. I am just trying to keep professional distance. I don't have the reserves to become close friends with every client. Especially since, most clients see you as someone to depend on, authoritative, to go to with problems (health and emotional) or motherly..... I don't have the emotional reserves to be those things all the time to sooo many women.

About your chart. You are entitled to it. And, should let her know why you want it- (especially let her know it is not for legal action, just for your own personal processing). She should send it to you in it's entirity.......

Blessings and Love as you process,
Michelle E
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#5 of 16 Old 03-11-2008, 03:09 PM
 
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fourgrtkidos, thanks for being brave enough to say what I wanted to.
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#6 of 16 Old 03-11-2008, 05:01 PM
 
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I can see wanting to keep a professional distance, and obviously you can't become friends with every single mama, but this client clearly had a somewhat special circumstance. She deserves at least a returned phone call, sorry, that's not excuseable by being "too busy" or wanting to remain "professional." Not returning calls is unprofessional at best. And, at the very least, she is entitled to her records being sent in a timely manner.

Did you have postnatal care with her Irelandsmama? Have you had a chance to process it with her at all?

mama to 3 girls: Abigail 2.12.05, Eliana 8.26.06, Willa 1.9.09
RN-BSN 5/11, CBE, former doula
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#7 of 16 Old 03-11-2008, 06:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone for your replies, I found them all helpful.

I was thinking that perhaps she is just busy but it has been since Oct and it has been many phone calls, I'd say at least four. Oh yeah and two emails.

Shes a LM by the way. I do understand that you cannot become everybody's surrogate mother, and so I get it to an extent. But I thought that we had a very solid relationship. She planned to let me work with her and mentor me through doula training and so on, but I had to move.

My postnatal care was to 6 weeks. In that time there is no way I could have processed my birth. She saw us a couple of times pp just like I expected. But the circumstances surrounding my birth is taking me time to process. She even told me herself that it would probably take me this long. She knows how difficult my birth was. I guess I just feel like I need some answers from her about the birth that no one else can even begin to answer. I have a feeling that the advice she gave me for the birth got crowded out by political and litigation and pushed out my health and my sons health as the most important factors. I'm really not sure of that but I know that fear lead her and not trust. I'm just not sure if she lost the trust in me or perhaps it was just the system of fear. I really need her to help me sort this out. Is this too much to ask?

Sav
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#8 of 16 Old 03-11-2008, 09:29 PM
 
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I didn't mean to imply that your midwife shouldn't be expected to help you process this and I hope you didn't take it that way. It was just that as I was reading your post I thought that this midwife, like all women, must have a lot on her schedule and on her mind, and I wouldn't be so quick to assume that not getting back to you is actually about you. I recommend another email, tell her you are disappointed that she hasn't gotten back to you.
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#9 of 16 Old 03-11-2008, 11:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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nashvillemidwife- don't worry I didn't take you wrong. I got it just like you meant it so no worries. It may be that she is just that busy. I guess it's possible that the three apprentice midwifes she has are taking up a bunch of time. But even if one of them could help me or at least let me know they got my call and are sending the rest of my paper work would be nice. Then I would know I'm not being ignored.

I wrote an email to the apprentice midwife who taught our birth class, and we know the best, last night. I guess I should email my midwife directly again. I guess I just don't want to seem push after the long and complicated letter I wrote her last month. I'm worried it either hurt her feelings or made her angry.

sav
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#10 of 16 Old 03-12-2008, 03:49 AM
 
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I wouldn't feel shy about pressing a little more to get your records from your midwife. It sounds like she might have a lot on her plate, but this is a priority for you and you are entitled to be acknowledged.

As far as the processing goes... I am sorry to hear she's not more responsive to you emotionally. I hear what all of these midwives are saying about professional boundaries and being busy with other priorities. A midwifery practice is a lot of work and takes careful balance. But at the same time, she should at least let you know that she hears you, and is aware of what you seek. It's disappointing that she is clearly avoiding getting back in touch.

It feels sad when you come to the end of your prenatal care and that relationship is done. But then to feel ignored makes it so much harder.

She may not have the answers you seek, and she may never respond. Or she may be processing as well and be determining how best to respond (maybe she's not ready.) But you may have to begin processing and grieving your loss without her. Doula work can be so empowering and very healing. It seems many of us find healing for our own birth wounds by supporting other women. The book Birthing From Within was a great resource for me when I began doula/cbe work. What Pam wrote really rang true with me and helped me to ask deep questions and begin my own healing process. I hope you can connect with other doulas in your area to relate to as well. We're out there and we love to share birth stories and encouragement with each other.

My heart goes out to you and I hope you find peace and the answers you seek.

Sarah
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#11 of 16 Old 03-12-2008, 11:52 AM
 
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It is too bad that your Midwife did not take the time to talk about your experience at your post-partum visit. I think most LMs are taught either in school or by their mentors that it is part of their job to help their cliets process. Especially a birth that didn't go as planned..... c-sections are important.
But, again this isn't about you. If your Midwife doesn't have the strength to talk to you about perceived failure or dissapointment it is her weakness.
She should at least be professional enough to return a phone call and send you her chart.

LM's, CNMs, MDs, RNs are all taught that communication is key..... for reducing legal pursuits, so even if she is afraid of that she should know better than to avoid you.

Some people do not know how to handle conflict- real or perceived.

Again, sorry you are going through this. I was not trying to diminish your feelings in any way in my previous post. Like I said I have, am going through the same thing. My Midwife who delivered 2 of my kids at home, said she'd like to work with me, wanted me to go to school and apprentice with her..... ignores all my attempts at communication. She is upset about something, won't tell me what and I can't fix what I do not know exists. So, I feel rejected too. I also know- she's going on with her life and practice, is busy and I need to move on too. (I didn't even get a 6 week post-partum visit to process my birth - she canceled and then wouldn't return calls for me to reschedule...... )
Mihcelle
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#12 of 16 Old 03-12-2008, 01:21 PM
 
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One thing you could do is write to her peer review group and tell them that you want your chart, and your requests have been only partially fulfilled. If there is some aspect of her care that you want to discuss further, you can bring it up with them and they could peer review her care at your birth and perhaps that would give you some closure.
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#13 of 16 Old 03-12-2008, 06:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks again everyone for your responses.

PureLightDoula
>>She may not have the answers you seek, and she may never respond. Or she may be processing as well and be determining how best to respond (maybe she's not ready.) But you may have to begin processing and grieving your loss without her. Doula work can be so empowering and very healing. It seems many of us find healing for our own birth wounds by supporting other women. The book Birthing From Within was a great resource for me when I began doula/cbe work. What Pam wrote really rang true with me and helped me to ask deep questions and begin my own healing process. I hope you can connect with other doulas in your area to relate to as well. We're out there and we love to share birth stories and encouragement with each other.

I am trying to come with terms that she may never respond. Which is kind of funny because when I left to move she told me that she would be my midwife for my next home birth when the time comes. I was blown away since I live in Washington now and shes in California, but she said she would come and stay a month with me if thats what it takes. I guess she has either changed her mind, wasn't serious, or is just way too busy to even think about me right now. I also think that she may be processing the letter. I have already begun processing the birth, the letter and the questions were a part of the process. As for grieving, I think I am beyond that, or close at least.

The funny thing is she called me a couple months after I moved here and check on me. So I know she cares. At the time I was dealing with my fathers death. So, processing my birth and getting to the point where I knew which questions I wanted to ask her took longer than I wanted. I'm starting to think that she was really busy and then received a very hard letter to read. I just wish she would let me know she got it. I'm scared to call after getting no response to it though. Then in the back of my mind I'm thinking what if she didn't even get it????

Thanks for suggesting birthing from within. I haven't read it yet, but I'm going to order it and read it next. I'm very involved in the birth community in my area and just started my doula business, I haven't had any of my own clients yet though. There is only one other doula in the area, and she took a couple births and then decided that shes not going to work for a while longer since shes not sure she wants to do the work. I am associated with LLL and ICAN, and attend both of their meetings, even though that means driving a long distance for the ICAN.

I'm doing all I can to heal. This was just one of my concluding steps that I knew might not work out. I just really thought it would be okay with her to help me a little. I feel like I need to know why she stopped trusting me. I need her to validate that my body worked fine and that it didn't fail me, but I failed it by making the choice I did. I would like to hear her say that she wishes she would have suggested other things for me and not just the c-section. I can admit I made a wrong decision and I didn't know better at the time. I would like her to come clean as well. Whatever it was, I can take the answer as long as its truthful. I'm ready to move on. I looks like I'm going to have to with our without her answers anyways.

fourgrtkidos
Thanks for your support, insight, and kind words. I am thankful.

pigpokey
I didn't think of that but I don't think it's something I want to do. I think that she will come around. I guess I'm just going to have to get the guts up to call her and accept whatever I'm dealt back. It's scary thought!

Okay I'm off to take care of some things, I'm really busy right now, can you guys tell? LOL thanks for all the help!!!!

Savannah
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#14 of 16 Old 03-12-2008, 06:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Good news. I just recieved a email from her apprentice and she let me know that my midwife got the letter and wasn't sure I wanted a reply. She also said they have been really busy and that E, the midwife, sometimes is just frazzled and that I should keep calling. She said it happens all the time even when she wants to talk to E. She also said that she sent all the chart but the part from the previous CP because thats the rule, but she would help me get it. I cried and then wrote her back many thanks. Shes going to try helping me communicate with E.

thanks all,

Sav
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#15 of 16 Old 03-12-2008, 10:20 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fourgrtkidos View Post
It is too bad that your Midwife did not take the time to talk about your experience at your post-partum visit. I think most LMs are taught either in school or by their mentors that it is part of their job to help their cliets process. Especially a birth that didn't go as planned..... c-sections are important.
I find that it often takes womens many many months if not a good year to begin to truly process their traumatic births or births that might not be so traumatic but had unexpected outcomes, like a homebirth transfer.

You can only do so much postpartum and you can only open the conversation, many times moms haven't had time to process their births in the 6 weeks after their births when most OB care relationships end. So it's not uncommon for there to be nothing to process at those postpartum visits from birth to 6 weeks. It's 6 months, a year down the road that I often see when women really start to process their births deeply.

April :
Mom, Wife, Doula, CBE
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#16 of 16 Old 03-16-2008, 10:41 PM
 
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Hmmm..... I find the opposite. Many times I can do alot to help a woman process at her six week pp visit. And, you can be sure that if I do not communicate about it, that the experience gets muddled, more confusing to the woan and the memory of it gets worse/feels harsher.
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