It's Been Awhile...

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Hello! I know it’s been a little while since I’ve posted here. It’s been a wild and complicated and stressful and educational few weeks in my practice and in my personal life. Thanks for your patience! Today I just want to reflect a little bit on what’s been going on and just check back in.

The vast majority of the work I do is really lovely and rewarding. I get to snuggle babies and hold people’s hand as they push their newborn into this world. I get to bear witness to incredible strength and joy. I get to leave the hospital with an exhausted, ecstatic new family in my wake. But sometimes it’s not all joy and baby smiles. Sometimes it’s scary and exhausting and frustrating and even infuriating. And this past week or so as been more of the infuriating.

People give birth in a system that is broken. I work within and around a system that is broken. Birthing people are not treated with the respect they deserve. They’re not given the support they need, emotionally, physically and financially. They’re not given the agency to make the choices that are right for them. Because I’m not beholden to this hospital or that midwife, I have some flexibility to help my families navigate this broken system. I don’t have protocols that I need to follow. But I also very rarely have the power to change the entrenched patterns of abuse and neglect in our medical system. Sometimes all I can do is be there. I can hold a my client’s baby in the ER and change the baby’s diaper while we wait hours and hours for a breast pump. But I can’t make that breast pump arrive faster as my client’s breasts become fuller and more painful. I can’t make the nurses treat my client with more respect. I can try to help them stay grounded in their value and help them stay calm and focused. But I can’t create a better system for handling mental health crises. I can’t stop CPS from getting involved, but I can help my client navigate the options they have in front of them.

I am lucky to be surrounded by an incredible group of doulas who remind me that the things that I can do truly make a difference. But when I’m in the middle of weeks like this, it’s hard to remember the things I can do and it becomes more about the things I can’t, the things that are out of my control. And it hurts. And it’s traumatic to feel so out of control and helpless. Sometimes I need a break. Sometimes I need to cry or step away.

So that’s been my life lately, and I appreciate everyone’s patience and love. Please be gentle with yourself this weekend.

Maggie Mehr