I was first asked about how to cope with being rejected by a midwifery client by a student I'll call Alana. I thought it was a really great question because every midwife I know has been in this situation at some point.
When you're rejected, it can feel really awful. As midwives we tend to put our everything into care, so when someone doesn't like us, it can be painful!
Here are 5 ways of coping, making up a 'rejection situation' plan:
1. If it’s really hurtful, give yourself time. This is easier said than done on a busy shift. But even if it’s manic, be kind to yourself. Make sure you vent or cry when you get home. Don’t neglect your feelings of disappointment if they come.
2. Don’t think you’re special! Sorry - you’re not. You’re in good company, there’s no midwife who’s perfect for every client! We've all been rejected in some way or another.
3. Don’t let it affect what you think of yourself. It’s essential not to let this once incident colour what you think of everything else in midwifery, and your life. The client in question could have all kinds of reasons for refusing your care that have nothing much to do with you.
4. Don’t make any decisions about the quality of your care while you’re still upset. Take some self-care time (you know, exercise, eat really healthy food, catch up on sleep, watch Peaky Blinders, or Sherlock, or whatever your guilty pleasure TV show is right now. You’ll need a midwifery mate to talk things through to work out when you’re calm again. If you need to talk and there’s no-one free, pop over to The Secret Community For Midwives In The Making, who are a friendly bunch who will give you some support.
5. Assess and Reflect. You’ll need to assess the criticism to see whether there’s anything you can learn. Sometimes women have very high expectations of midwifery care, and I think this is a brilliant thing. The feedback can be astoundingly good at tweaking your current practice, letting you reflect on things you can adjust to make your care better.
Or you might think hard about it and realise the client's choice was nothing to do with you at all!
I really hope you found this video helpful. Please let me know if you've been rejected by a midwifery client and how you coped - or have you been a client or patient who rejected a practitioner? Do you have anything to add we can learn from?