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Midwife, Heal Thyself

By Kate Andrew and Jen Wittes

Yesterday, we talked about caregiver burnout.  Today we take a fun look at how it seriously affects some of the hardest working caregivers around…midwives!  Our friend Kate is well into her midwife apprenticeship at Helping Hands Birth Services, after many years of hard work as a birth doula and childbirth educator.  She decided that the best way to illustrate the constant threat of caregiver burnout would be to write out the wellness Q and A that she uses on expectant mamas and take it herself!  The result…

So, how are you doing? How are you feeling, and how have you been these last few weeks?
Oh fine, thanks. Not too much is new–the mamas and babies are all doing well, my kidlets are growing and we’ve been busy with their burgeoning social lives. (Smiles and laughs.)

Aww, that’s nice- I’ll bet they’re getting big, those kiddos of yours!
Yeah, 5th grade and Middle School, can you believe it??  The homework is insane!

Wow. So, how’s your body? Are you finding some time in your day, to exercise?
I really want to!  The weather is finally getting nice! I’m DYING for some time outside… walk around the lake, or the ‘hood with the kids.  I was driving to visit some mamas today, and just soaked in that sunshine through the car window… sooooo nice.  Oh, and there’s this awesome new barre class at Blooma I’ve been dying to try out–I just need to find a day to get into the studio!

Yeah, it can be hard to fit exercise in.  How about food?  Have you been eating well?
Oh, yeah- food’s fine.

Oh, good!  What did you eat so far today?
Um, well, I skipped breakfast this morning, but that’s just because we were having one of “those mornings”, that started out with oversleeping and ended with running out the door late–I needed to get kids to school and myself into the office, and there just wasn’t time for breakfast.  I had a couple of cups of coffee throughout the morning… let’s see…I forgot to pack a lunch, but luckily I had a handful of almonds and a banana in the car leftover from yesterday, so I ate that for in-between appointments.  Not quite sure what we’re going to do for dinner tonight… I’m starving…maybe I’ll swing by Pizza Luce on my way home.  Oh my gosh, I ‘m craving their Wrangler… seriously, my whole mouth just started watering… YUM!

(Chuckles.) Pizza does sound good, although it sounds like you’re craving a hefty dose of sugar and gluten–you must be really hungry. How is your water intake?
Huh.  Good question.  Um…I emptied most of my Nalgene today.  I know, that’s not great.  Mind if I fill it up quick?  I can drink while we chat…

Of course! Okay. Let’s see here… how are you sleeping?
Well, this week’s been rough on the sleep-front.  We’ve had three births–oh, my gosh, you should see these babies–CUTE!!! Anyway… my husband is sick with a sinus-thing and so he’s really restless and kind of loud while he’s trying to sleep…and The Girl Child had a bad dream last night… let’s just say, that coffee has been my very good friend this week.

Oh, boy. That sounds rough.
Meh. Just life.

Yes, yes it is. Okay, let’s go through “The List”- ready?
(Shift nervously in chair.)

Headaches: yes

Edema: yes

Bowels moving regularly: once or twice a week

Nausea or heartburn: occasionally

Any hemorrhoids or varicose veins: thankfully, no

Any unusual weight gain: steadily climbing

Fatigue: yes

Any bladder issues, or changes in your vaginal discharge: I plead the fifth.

Backache: yes

You know what I’m going to say, don’t you?
Sigh.  Yes.  Eat better, exercise, get more sleep, blah, blah, blah.  But seriously, when is there time???  Any money?  And… time??? Plus, I am just so, so tired.  I really can’t add one more thing to my plate.


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