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One of the primary missions of The Birthing Circle is to improve birth for our local community. Over the last two years, I have heard hundreds of women share their experiences with pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. Many times, these are beautiful stories and women and their families are celebrating their experiences. And other times, women are sharing how their experience wasn’t what they had hoped; there were complications; and they weren’t supported in the ways that they needed. Sometimes this looks like a woman feeling rushed at a prenatal appointment. Sometimes it is frustration that many resources are income-dependent, or their insurance didn’t cover the choice they wanted. And sometimes, it is severe dissatisfaction, or even trauma, with a provider. The organization Postpartum Support International cites that approximately 9% of women will actually experience Postpartum PTSD due to trauma at their birth.
Birth is an intimate and complex thing. The health and birth outcomes do matter, and women’s satisfaction with their experience also matters. We also know that birth outcomes are actually getting worse in the United States, and it is one of only 8 countries in the world where this is happening .
So what can we do? There are many approaches to address this complex issue, but today we want to focus on one tool that we have created that we want to get in the hands of every family we serve. I have heard so many women’s stories where they were dissatisfied with their provider. This is common. What is uncommon, however, is those providers ever receiving that feedback. Families are not providing feedback to their providers; they may simply accept their experience, or possibly switch providers. So many times I have heard families cite a serious complaint, but they never reported that complaint to the provider. And I can understand why. There are many reasons this feedback loop may not happen, including the sheer exhaustion that postpartum can bring, time prioritization of other things, or not having an easy and accessible way to provide the feedback. Sometimes, families just don’t know that they can give feedback.
We’ve created a form that you can download with just one click, that you can send to any provider. It is so important for this feedback to happen. Women and families are patients, but we are also consumers. And as consumers, our voices matter, and we can help dictate how care is given. This form is a way to use your voice to provide feedback, good or bad, to your providers. If you are unhappy with your care, or a policy, please consider using this form to send your thoughts to your provider. If you were thrilled with your experience, tell them that too! Be specific. Be loud. Because you matter, your experience matters, and we can improve birth together if we speak up.