Empowering Care part 1.
You are eleven weeks pregnant, it’s your first, and you’re feeling a little fragile. You’re not quite sure what to expect and you are just wanting to be safe, taken care of, and protect what you hope will be a special pregnancy and birthing experience even in the midst of a pandemic. You have questions, and you’re excited as you wait for your doctor to enter the room. You are hoping to get some answers or at least an open ear so you can get some worry off your chest, and heck, maybe even feel less fragile walking out. Dare you think, maybe even feel empowered?
But your provider comes in, and they’re looking down for most of the ten-minute visit. You try to go through a few questions, only to be brushed off one after another until finally, they look up at you, and you think for a brief moment “maybe now we’ll get to talk”. But your hope is quickly diminished when you see the clearly annoyed expression on their face. They don’t want these questions. They already feel burdened with the amount of work they have, the endless notes required of them, the packed schedule …they need to go. He hands you a pamphlet and says, “here, this should answer your questions. I’ll see you next month.”
You get up, feeling more fragile, more alone, and more questioning your body.
All Too Common.
My husband, who has been serving since 2008 with his practice Thrive Chiropractic, and I, serving the Cincinnati Homebirth Collaborative and Founder of Free WELL a women’s wellness coaching business, have heard this scenario for years. The client awaits a provider’s open ear AND expertise, only to be treated like a number, and processed in and out as quickly as possible. It happens with all types of care. All of it shocks me, but gosh, even our physical care. Isn’t that strange? Our physical being is so obvious, so right there where we can actually touch it, it’s part of us, IT IS US – and yet we can be left feeling like it’s not ours.
Isn’t that strange? Our physical being is so obvious, so right there where we can actually touch it. It is part of us, IT IS US – and yet we can be left feeling like it’s not ours.
I’ve experienced it myself, many times, but the first I can recall was in undergrad. Away in college, here I had made an appointment with a provider I found all on my own, no help from Mom, and I was going to do it! I was going to ask my questions and seek information and guidance on my very own body, by myself.
I vividly remember about five minutes into the visit, the annoyed expression from my provider, and then he said it. “You ask a lot of questions.” He said this, but not in a positive way. No, he said it as if asking questions, being curious, getting to know my own body and what goes into it, was totally out of the unspoken agreement within the room. Here, the provider was the authority over my body and choices, and I was to listen. He went on to say a few other things about my questions and I finally spoke up and said something along the lines of “I’m sorry, I do have questions and I’d like to know my options. Also, I should be able to ask questions.” I don’t remember much after that, aside from my face burning (I’m sure I was as red as a beet) and my palms sweating. He left soon after, unphased by my words. All I could think about was how I wish I hadn’t apologized.
After that, I remember searching for different kinds of doctors, and providers. I became selective and intentional, and it only grew with age. I don’t know why I went this way and not the other of just listening and doing what I was told, but I did. And when I became pregnant and was thinking about what kind of pregnancy, birth, and postpartum care I would like – I was beyond excited when I was ENCOURAGED to INTERVIEW providers. Yes! This is what empowered care looks and feels like I thought.
Yes! This is what empowered care looks and feels like I thought.
I will share a part 2 post on empowering your WELLbeing and how to surround yourself with empowering care, but for this moment I just want you to know, you have options. There are other ways and there are providers who will delight in your questions. You can also read more on my You-Centric approach to wellness where you’ll hear more about the principles behind my work with women.
See the Self-Search questions below to get started.
To begin, take a deep breath in and let it out. I highly recommend grabbing a pen and paper. Take each prompt in, and think about it and what it means for you. There are no wrong answers, just your answers. Lean into those.
- Do your mental, emotional, and physical care providers, the people you seek help from, do they delight in your questions?
- Do you feel you can ask questions when you are with them?
- Do you feel like a number or a human when you step foot into their office?
- Do you feel more or less empowered when you step out of their office?
- What do you wish you were getting from your providers, that you don’t feel you are right now?
Here’s the thing…
While I am only in my first year of practice with Free WELL (and almost 6 years with HBC) I can say 100% of my clients have all had complaints about their various types of care providers. And when they do, I discuss with them the reasons behind what might be happening, and we work to see if there are ways to improve the relationship; and sometimes with guidance and information I give, some women make radical changes and switch care — and they have NOT looked back. Even when they’ve switched 20 weeks pregnant. These women feel taken care of and heard. They feel their questions are welcomed. They feel in control of their body. They feel empowered.
Even when they’ve switched 20 weeks pregnant. These women feel taken care of and heard. They feel their questions are welcomed. They feel in control of their body. They feel empowered.
And you can too.
Interested in empowering your WELL?
As a Women’s Holistic Wellness Coach, doula, mom of three, and all-around fierce nurturer, this is what I help women with whether you are wanting to discover ways to elevate your wellness, prepare for pregnancy and birth, or you are stepping into motherhood, you can do so empowered – and I’d love to help. Schedule a free discovery call with me and we’ll see if we are a right fit for one another – empowering your WELL starts with you and what you surround yourself with – and I will always delight in your questions. And just remember, your power does not equal impoliteness.
If you feel comfortable sharing any thoughts or questions that sparked for you I would love to hear – so write them below in the comments.
Thanks for holding space for you and for me,
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