Saturday, August 13, 2011

"Needy" mothers

A colleague who works in a hospital midwifery unit made a comment something like this: "Continuity of care sometimes makes the mothers more needy."

The thought of the 'needy' mother - the woman who needs a lot of help/care/attention/support - caused me to reflect and question my own assumptions and beliefs about women, particularly those in my care.

A further layer of this reflection was my questioning, "Does continuity of care every make mothers more needy?"

In theory,
  • Midwifery care is woman-centred. 
  • Centred on the woman, the mother-baby unit, who is like the heart of the flower
  • Each woman, regardless of her situation, her beliefs, her culture, her wellness, her illness, her wishes ... the petals, stem and roots of the flower
  • Each woman, regardless of her neediness - the external and internal threats that are like pests and disease to the flower.
Maternity care that is centred on the woman seeks to enable that woman to be as well as she can be, to use whatever strength and ability she has, as she traverses the pregnancy-birthing terrain that is often unpredictable, at times challenging, and sometimes devastating.

Maternity care that is centred on the woman seeks to provide the best available and most timely intervention for those women who experience complications and needs that present a real threat to their wellbeing or their babies' wellbeing.

Maternity care that is centred on the woman seeks to promote physical and emotional resilience within individuals and within families.

Maternity care that is centred on the woman seeks to provide a trusted partner - a midwife - who accompanies that woman through the maternity experience, and who has the expert knowledge and skill to promote, protect and support the natural processes, and to identify complications.

As a result of this reflective journey I have concluded that continuity of midwifery care/ caseload/ known midwife does not make a woman more needy. However, the woman who is feeling needy/ vulnerable/ unsupported may turn to her known and trusted midwife for more support than she may have sought from a midwife who is a stranger to her.

Thankyou for your comments

1 comment:

  1. In my experience, care that is not woman-centred (i.e. all the hospital based care I have ever seen), women are silenced and discouraged from asking questions, seeking information or talking about their feelings about pregnancy/birth/parenting.

    On the flip side, the woman-centred care I experience with my independent midwife is a relationship that is reassuring, empowering, encourages me to folow my instincts, invites discussion etc etc.

    I know what I'd prefer :)


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