It’s probably not a big secret that I have a birth bestie. She’s the person that I text when I have a question about birth, even at 3 a.m. She’s the person I can commiserate about PROM with and she knows it’s not about a dress or a date, well, at least not that kind of date. The feeling is mutual and we share a common language and passion, even if we go about it differently. And that is invaluable in a field where it’s not unusual to feel alone at times.
One thing that you learn fairly early in doing this work is that birth workers often have some tendencies that many people might think of as quirky.
Yes, I love to talk about placentas, even over dinner.
Yes, I can name all of the parts of my body. Even ones you didn’t know I had, or that you had.
Yes, my kids can name them all too.
What do you mean that you don’t find the latest mPINC scores fascinating?
Do you know the difference between a primary, total or NTSV cesarean rate?
See, we’re a different bunch. While these are the things that are very noticeable, you might not realize that we often feel alone in this work. Many of us are isolated, if not geographically, philosophically, from our peers.
This is why I want to make the case for a birth bestie. This is someone who geeks out over all the data, can’t wait to discuss the definition of delayed when discussing cord clamping with you, totally wants to hear about birth in general and can’t wait to share their thoughts too.
If you’re lucky enough to live near other birth geeks, this is great! Even if you haven’t got a formal network or framework, even if you work in completely different areas, consider how to spend more time with them. Can you host a quarterly dinner? This can be done at a local restaurant. (Ask for a private room if there will be a lot of you discussing placentas.) Can you host a book club or a journal club?
If you don’t live near anyone, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a birth bestie. You can also find like-minded individuals online. There are many online forums where you can find people. You might want to hang out in Facebook groups for people who share your job titles, like doula or childbirth educator. There are also professional groups that may have areas too.
You can join Twitter chats to find people who have similar beliefs to yours as well. These are usually themed around a topic or area. For example, every third Sunday at 9:00 pm there is a twitter chat hosted by DONA International. You can find it using the hashtag: #DONAChat
There are also many others like the chat hosted by @MomsRising. While these may not always be specific to birth work, there are often topics like maternal health, reproductive justice, breastfeeding, midwifery care, etc. Many of the larger organizations offer some way to connect with other birth professionals.
So if you’re feeling like you’re a bit isolated be sure to reach out and start a conversation. You don’t need to feel isolated.