In our circles, we've been hearing about a wide range of pregnancy and birth experiences, and earlier this week we asked how you felt about the care you received during your pregnancy and birth. Many of you feel supported and empowered by your care team while others have been completely disregarded, shamed, and disrespected.
You DESERVE to be supported, listened to, and respected. Always.
And you can always change care providers.
You can change providers at 6 or 39 weeks. You can find a new OB or Midwife to provide your postpartum care. You can change pediatricians anytime.
Our own Robyn Gordon wrote a reflection on this very topic last year - she shared a personal story and reminds us that we are worthy of compassion and being treated with dignity and respect.
I changed providers between my first and second births and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. My first pregnancy was pretty straightforward but I saw a new provider each appointment and many made me feel fearful even though everything was going smoothly. During labor and delivery I had to fight for what I wanted every step of the way (while having super intense contractions!). No one even checked my stitches before I was discharged from the hospital.
I knew I wanted it to be different (and I knew it could be different) so when I was pregnant with my son I joined a new practice. Having providers who sat and talked with me at appointments, asked questions about my health and life, and talked through decisions with me so we could make them together was a breath of fresh air. I felt empowered to trust my body. Even though my second birth was objectively much more traumatic than the first (with a postpartum hemorrhage and manual removal of many large blood clots from my uterus with no pain medication) I felt incredibly supported, safe, and cared for.
It's something we all deserve.
And if you've had a traumatic experience with a provider, in addition to finding a new one, it also may be helpful to seek additional support - from having conversations with other pregnant people or moms to attending individual or group therapy.
You can also send an official complaint to your provider or hospital or take legal action. Here's an excerpt from MedStar Washington Hospital Center's Patient Rights and Responsibilities:
Sibley, GW, Georgetown, and other area hospitals all have these policies and ways for patients to submit complaints about the care they received.
You are worthy of true support. Your physical, mental, and emotional health are essential.
We're here to help in any way.
Thoughts on pregnancy, birth and motherhood.