Here at Twin Cities Midwifery, we take self care pretty seriously! It is something that we talk to our clients about in pregnancy and during the postpartum period. It is also something we talk about internally, as a team. Birth workers are prone to burnout. One way to prevent it, is to support our team members in getting regularly self care and encouraging them to find a good work/life balance. It also helps our providers stay healthy and “keep their cup filled” so they can continue to provide an extremely high level of individualized maternity care. As our team has grown over the past 7 years, we decided to create a “Self Care Statement” so that we would have something in writing to keep revisiting and to remind us to keep scheduling self-care! In creating this statement, we elicited ideas from all of our team members about what self care means to them, and what might be included in some of their favorite kinds of self care. Even though this had been shared with our team over a year ago, as this topic comes up in visits and even with other birth workers, we wanted to share it here! We hope that in encourages everyone reading it to take some time to evaluate if their self care is in balance with where they’d like to to be. Enjoy!
TCM Self Care Statement
Twin Cities Midwifery strives to provide high quality maternity care in a sustainable way, encouraging the TCM team to practice the healthy self care and work/life balance that we recommend to our clients, which supports the health and wellness of our team members and our practice.
Twin Cities Midwifery functions from a team approach so that responsibilities can be shared and no one is completely “alone” in their work. We value reaching out to each other if we need a break or need help brainstorming for a certain situation or project. There are multiple team members that can fill each other’s roles so that others can step in as needed.
TCM values providing flexibility to team members. This means that all members are expected to take regular off-call time and time off, both scheduled in advance and for last minute unexpected needs. Team members get to determine how busy they will be in their work with TCM.
TCM values team members having family time and alone time. To be able to do this work long-term and to be able to continue to function in their TCM duties at such a high quality level, team members need to have regular and frequent opportunities to “refill their well”. TCM values team members staying filled or filling up so that they can give their best to clients and loved ones, and so they can continue to enjoy their work.
TCM strives to provide a calm and peaceful work environment. Time for meals, bathroom breaks, and opportunities for grounded breaths are built into the days (and nights) of work.
How do we put these values into practice? Here are some specific and concrete examples:
- Ability to have another midwife or birth assistant step in as back-up (for a midwife, birth assistant, or office manager) so that team members can be off for important events or family emergencies
- Our midwives generally are expected to take about 8 weeks off-call a year (no one in dates, or not on call for clients in dates during that time), which is often broken down into 2 days a month and the flexibility to use the other 5 weeks as desired.
- Our clients are aware of the expectation that their primary midwife is not on call 100%, but likely will be on call about 95% of the time during their due window.
- Midwives get to determine if there are certain months they are willing to be more or less busy with EDDs.
- Birth assistants can freely choose when they would like to take EDDs or not, without an expectation of a certain number of EDDs a month or year. There is no pressure for birth assistants to be at more births than desired.
- Birth assistants can have an unlimited length of maternity leave, knowing they will be welcomed back into the assistant team rotation whenever they are ready.
- All roles have flexibility to be less busy when desired.
- All team members have the ability to set their own work hours for non-labor needs (such as flexibility to choose when to be available for client visits). Midwives have ability to set their own normal clinic days/times, and can block routine visit hours off for personal time or family events as desired.
- Meal breaks are built into clinic days, and TCM provides meals at births if the kitchen isn’t well stocked.
- Chart prep and end-of-day charting wrap up is built into clinic days so there is less stress and less rush.
- There is enough flexibility in visit scheduling (hour long visits) that midwives and assistants have time for bathroom breaks, getting tea/water, taking a breath and getting grounded, as desired.
- Our team is built in a way that members are supporting each other. Midwives and birth assistants are working together at births. The midwives and office manager are supporting each other in their roles. (Having an incredible team of birth assistants and a stellar office manager are a huge support to our midwives!) There isn’t an expectation for one person to do everything. There are opportunities to reassess and adjust processes, and all team members can provide input for adjustments.
- TCM encourages team members to get regular body work as part of their own continuing education.
- Midwives discuss the value of self care with clients, so that clients create or support their personal self care routines, also valuing that TCM members would also have self care routines.
- TCM provides a pager for midwives if desired, so they don’t always have to be attached to their phone (or can turn the ringer off when sleeping).
- TCM supports midwives and birth assistants alternating taking naps during long births, and calling in extra midwives or assistants if needed.
What are some of our team member’s favorite kinds of self-care?
- Bike Rides
- Blooma Classes
- Spa kinds of treats:
- Bubble Baths
- Herbal Baths
- Steamy Showers
- Going to the spa
- Prana Stretch
- Being social:
- Time with friends
- Catching up with friends
- Going for a walk with a friend
- Going on a date with their partner
- Watching a favorite show or movie with their partner
- Getting regular sleep
- Uninterrupted sleep
- Taking naps
- Spiritual time
- Time for prayer
- Bible reading
- Quiet time:
- Time to read for fun
- Adult coloring books
- Some moments to focus on breathing in and breathing out
- Limiting time on the phone to just be away from demands and unwind
- Regular family time
- Being able to go on vacations