I'm a labor & delivery nurse in an urban safety net hospital. Families sometimes come to their birth with tough tough stories, and the stories come out in that most life-changing moment. On top of that, what happens during the birth itself can be wrenching. The medicalization of the most routine births can be really wrenching. Yes, sometimes I can see that the work I do at the bedside makes a difference medically. There's committee work, and there's being an example for residents, medical students, new nurses - what does our work look like when we act out of a conviction that birth is sacred? And sometimes, the most important work I do is simply being present and listening. The women who say "Gracias por preocuparse por mi" (Thank you for worrying about me) remind me that that treating another with respect can be the most important work I do.
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