Failure To Progress
What your doula wants you to know about the bullshit around this famously used phrase when a mother is told she is not progressing during labor.
Failure to progress is a phrase used when a laboring woman isn’t progressing ‘according to protocol’ and this puts a lot of pressure on her, making her feel her body fails her. But is it really the woman failing here?
Imagen being in the hospital, doing your atmost to feel at ease in an invironment that isn’t your own, breathing through your contractions, bright lights, machines beeping, dealing with people you don’t know walking in and out of your birthspace and then after hours of contractions, being told there is no progression and interventions are suggested.
I don’t know about you but we need to reframe ‘Failure to Progress’
When you are in labor, your body needs a mammal space in which she feels safe, secure, loved, respected, privacy, soft voices, touch, warmth and so forth. But the reality of hospital lead births is quite the oposite of this. People walking in and out of your birth space, asking you questions, bright lights, hearing other women birthing their babies; all disturbances that take you out of your mammalbrain.
When a laboring woman doesn’t feel relaxed, safe, heard, and respected, her body closes up. Like a cat that moves to a different space to continue to have her kittens but you as a woman often don’t have that posibility. Meaning that you have to deal with a situation that is so unnatural for you to birth your baby in but expected to thrive in.
What women need to come to understand is that you are not a guest in the hospital. You are allowed to ask for privacy. For example ‘I ask you to only come into my room when you absolutely need’ so that you can create this nest. Another example ‘I ask you to talk to me in an upbeat manner and soft voices’ so that I can focus and relax.
If women would be approached with these simple ways of communication and respect, Failure to Progress would not be an issue.
Therefore I call Failure to Progress – Failure to Wait.
A woman is not a machine. She births best when she feels safe, secure, respected, heard and understood. As a doula and Birth Feminist I would say:” look at the laboring woman, hold her hand, be with her and you have all your answers”.
If you want to learn more about how you can start owning your birth, birthspace and birth, please get in touch. If you are a birthworker, midwife, obyn, gynecologist or nurse and you’d like to know more about how to support laboring women emotionally, please get in touch as well. I believe change is made together and in harmony.
Simple changes can make a world of difference in a moment that all women will remember for the rest of their lives.
I am Milan-based and work worldwide online or by phone. If you would like to learn more or get to know me better, please reach out to me here.