She was hemming and hawing over whether to take a particular medication in pregnancy. My opinion was that she would benefit greatly. Sure, everything has its risks, but women (and also some other providers) err on the “conservative” side recommending avoidance of all medications in pregnancy. Women and babies sometimes miss out on some valuable benefits. I’ve seen it done when discussing exercise. “No you can’t do crossfit,” “don’t let your heart rate go above 140,” and “if you don’t exercise now, you don’t want to start in pregnancy.” Baloney. None of these recommendations are evidence based and they do a disservice to moms and babies. Exercise has so so any benefits. I often want to share with my patients what I did in pregnancy, leading by example. I’ll make a quick offhand comment but quickly divert so there are not further questions. I would hate for them to probe too far and learn my baby died.
As I talked to this woman on the phone, I sensed she needed more assurance that the med would be okay. We had already gone over the risks and benefits, but she was still hesitant. Finally I said, “Listen, I was on a very similar med all through pregnancy. I only tell you this because I want you to know I wouldn’t recommend something I wouldn’t do myself.”
I hear the relief in her voice. Correct me if I’m wrong, but sometimes patients want our personal opinions. She began to seriously consider.
“Can I ask you one more question, if it’s not too personal?” she asked.
“Did you breastfeed on the med?”
Sh*t. Just when I thought I had done the right amount of sharing, it backfired.
“My baby died shortly after birth- nothing to do with the med, so I couldn’t breastfeed. But had she lived I certainly would have. No doubt.”
Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.
I was reminded of this experience while reading C is for Crocodile’s post . How badly I want to maintain membership in this group- the “I’ve been pregnant too” club, as well as the “pregnant making hard choices” club. They are silent clubs, like most of ours are, so I have to allude. But by announcing my membership, I sometimes inadvertently have to share that I also belong to the babyloss club- something that sometimes feels right, but sometimes feel unprofessional. Here, it didn’t feel so good. I didn’t cry- I’ve become quite good at saying “my baby died.” It just felt crummy that my contribution, my commaraderie with this woman, suddenly became tainted. It’s as if it nullified my membership.
Has this happened to you? Have you had a time when you felt you shared too much? What happened?