I understand that we live in a world in which science has become the dominant rationality. I understand that notions such as centralisation, risk management, economic viability and utilitarianism have necessarily become the touchstones for bureaucratic services which seek to meet the needs of huge portions of the population. I understand that many people who work in the maternity services and related areas are under so much pressure that they barely have time to think about anything other than the task in front of them.
But this doesn’t mean that any of those things are OK, or that they are the only or best way of seeing or knowing or being in the world. And it certainly doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t take time when we can to think and talk and write about other possibilities.
Sometime around Valentine’s day a couple of years ago, I found an article while I was carrying out a literature search for shoulder dystocia. (I have since written more about this in another post). I was struck by Sister Morningstar’s description of how it is possible to weave heart-centredness into practice which is rooted in trust and yet still informed by evidence. I am always delighted to read such articles, for I firmly believe that we need to speak and write about and publish our thoughts and experiences in order to generate discussion about them and to preserve this kind of knowledge for future generations.
I wonder how many practitioners feel that heart-centredness is of value in practice? For many years, I have shared my belief that knowledge comes in many forms, and in writing the editorial mentioned above I noted that consideration of love and of trusting women’s knowledge is frequently lacking in modern maternity care.
We have embraced evidence-based practice for a good couple of decades now. But what about those other ways of knowing? For a number of reasons, I have been reflecting on the notions of authenticity and integrity over the past weeks and months, and, for me, heart-centred notions such as these are just as important in making and evaluating decisions as is evidence concerning possible outcomes, probability and/or risk. But they are not getting written about much ‘in the literature’ and midwife colleagues have confirmed that they not getting talked about that much in many practice areas. I propose that we need to change that and create spaces where we can ponder and discuss this important way of being, doing and knowing…