While biking home from clinic a few days ago (yes, the bike commute is the best!) I was thinking about how I wanted to go into this field because I like being able to offer support, guidance, and skills at women's most vulnerable moments - but that these moments don't always take the form of delivering a beautiful baby or removing a breast mass or uterus and curing someone's cancer, they are not always helping someone get pregnant after years of trying. Often they are much less magical and women feel much more ambivalent about how helpful I'm being, and more frustrated or scared about their situations -
they're a woman who comes in from clinic after being told she has an intrauterine fetal demise (IUFD) for induction, a woman who thought she was coming in for a regular prenatal visit who is told she is in preterm labor and going to deliver her baby months sooner than she had planned, a woman in her 40s with symptomatic fibroids (pain, bleeding) who has never had sex, but doesn't want to have a hysterectomy because she doesn't want to give up on the idea that someday she could be pregnant, another woman in her 50s with vaginal bleeding for years who has never had a pelvic exam or a pap smear who you have to counsel about her high risk of cancer, a woman who fled her abusive family to come to a new country only to live with abusive "friends" here with few other options because she is still undocumented, another woman trying to figure out what she is going to do with her young child in labor because she has no one to watch him, or the woman with a urinary infection during pregnancy who refuses to leave the hospital, even after her antibiotics, because she is so afraid of the pain she isn't sure she can go through with labor, a woman spending her pregnancy in prison who hasn't slept for days because she cannot figure out a comfortable position for her growing abdomen on her one allowed mattress and built-in pillow.
but I guess those ARE the moments why I went into this field: to explain what's happening with her body, to explain that it's not her fault, to explain what we are going to do to try to make it better or easier, to write prescriptions for extra mattresses, to talk to the other people in their lives with the authority of someone with knowledge and skills, to counsel about her options, to hold her hand and tell her that
I'm just so sorry this is happening to her.
"the wound is the place where the light enters you"