As I continue to share this series about some of my learned Pearls Of Practice, I am happy to share this Fourth Pearl. It is really one pearl that should be applied in two ways; to ourselves as practitioners and to the other practitioners that we work with, learn from and receive care from.
I have a confession to make. I am guilty of a common pitfall. When I was pregnant with my first child, I thought that my midwives were so wonderful, so great, that I placed them on a pedestal. When I was pregnant with my second child, the same phenomenon happened yet again. Then, through the course of my studies, I had a tendency to idolize my teachers and mentors. My eyes were full of stardust and, to me, these women were so fantastic that the pedestal effect occurred once more. I couldn’t wait to join the ranks of these elevated practitioners. Midwives who were so smart and kind, who seemed so “put together” and to know all the answers. Once I really started walking down my own path toward midwifery, I was nervous about this transformation. When was I going to join the ranks of those elevated midwives? On what day would I feel this lifting of my own self? Thankfully, eventually, the stardust began to clear and I realized there was no magical elevation that would soon happen. I had the realization that I was already blessed to be in the ranks of these women. Firmly planted on the ground, with not a pedestal in sight. This leads me to one of the most important lessons I have learned, Pearls of Practice #4; Be Humble! Yes, we are highly trained and skilled practitioners. We are also human beings with our own strengths and flaws, and are no better or worse than the families we serve.
Overconfidence is one of the most dangerous complications of our practice. If you ever think that “you know it all” or “have seen it all”, this is the time to step back and take stock. Every client, each pregnancy and every baby are a completely unique set of variables. Each will benefit from an individualized plan and a fresh perspective. One of the many things that I cherish about this work, is that it is never boring. There is always something more to learn. These lessons come to us through many sources; through educational institutions, from our professional organizations, through colleagues, from continuing education credits. However, some of the most valuable sources of these lessons are from our clients themselves. Each encounter is an opportunity to broaden our knowledge base. In my experience so far, every time I have thought that I knew exactly how a labor would progress, how a well woman exam would go or how a postpartum recovery would flow, I have quickly been shown the err of my ways. As you progress on your own path, remember, there is always more to learn and additional experiences to gather. If you ever feel 100% comfortable, be mindful as this can lead to complacency. Be always humble and open to the lessons along the way and you will never regret it!
Image credit Aubre Tompkins, CNM