Monday, September 28, 2009

One of the biggest challenges for me is to let go and not feel like I need to save the world. Over the years I have cared for women who many have found difficult to take care of. I was usually nominated to take care of them or everyone else was "fired" and they were stuck with me. I have always been confident that I have given them the same care I would have given a family member.

But, it does begin to wear on me. I think of these women long after I have cared for them--are they in the same situation?, are their children safe?, did I do enough? did I miss some resource they should have been matched with?

I wonder about--
  • the mail-order bride who spoke no English, no family, no friends and pregnant.
  • the woman who had no prenatal care, gave an alias and we found out her other six babies had been taken away.
  • the young pregnant runaway who was being abused by her boyfriend.
  • the high-school girl who showed up fully, had her baby (no one knew), and left the baby at the hospital. She needed to get home before her parents found out
  • the parents of three children who gave their baby up for adoption because they could not afford another child.
  • the woman who had a psychotic break in labor.
  • the mother of two who was abusing prescription narcotics and didn't want her husband to know.
  • the new mother who knew that her husband was not the father of her baby.
  • the woman saying she is contracting to get out of jail.
I think about these women. I wish I could have made their lives better. I did my best but my best is no where near enough to solve these problems. I hate that.


Reality Rounds said...

It is impossible for us not to take our work home with us, isn't it? There are many babies I wonder about. We care for them for months, sometimes years at a time, but once they leave the safety of a hospital, we lose track. Are they safe? Did I teach the parents everything I could to keep the baby healthy? Is the mom OK? It certainly can be challenging. One very experienced NICU nurse told me how she cared for a fragile preemie for 4 months in the NICU. She was the primary care nurse and grew very attached. The baby was discharged, and shaken to death by the parents two weeks after discharge. The NICU staff was devastated, and the primary care nurse never recovered from the trauma. I get what your saying, but we can't go home with our patients. We can just do our best. Stay strong!

The Good Cook said...

You are there for them at their time of greatest need AT THAT MOMENT. Thank God for that. Thank God for you and people like you. For however brief, you have made a difference in their lives. I guess that just has to be enough.

Thirty four years ago I was a young girl of 17 years old. I had just given birth to a little boy and I was all alone. I remember crying my eyes out one afternoon in my hospital bed. A young nurse came in and sat down and held my hand. She just held my hand for the longest time. I will never forget her. Her simple gesture helped me through a very emotional and difficult time.

You just never know how and how much you touch someone.

Sarah said...

I am a social worker who works with disabled people at risk of homelessness. I understand work secondary traumatization, and being disturbed/concerned about what you see at work. I'd like to share a saying with you, that my supervisor reminds me of from time to time.

This is THEIR journey to take. You cannot take it for them, but you can walk next to them and hold their hand if they'd like.

Also keep im mind that caring for yourself is the BEST thing you can do to help other people. If your reserves are diminished you cannot be the most effective.

Do the best you can for everyone, and know that your best is good enough.


Michael Lange Optometrist said...

So Sad....