We were all taught as young ladies, don’t complain. Don’t whine. What’s the point? Are you just complaining to hear yourself talk? Are you a Drama Queen? Ask yourself, is it really just whining or are you really and truly touching on a situation that needs dealing with? Does your care or problem deserve attention that would help yourself and others? If it does, then complaining is not only valuable, it’s VITAL .
The point is, it’s not about whether you complain because we all do it at some level after a bad experience; it’s about HOW you complain, WHY you complain and WHO you complain to. It’s also about how you are subtly discouraged from doing so whether or not you realize it.
Why do we complain?
The biggest reason why we complain about our care is to settle some emotional difficulty in ourselves. We’ve been harmed, ignored, treated badly. We want to share our stories as both a tale of caution and in the hopes that we will effect change so that this doesn’t happen to others.
To whom you complain matters. When you tell your best friends how awful your nurse was to you, you are impacting their choices in their care. Would you want to use that hospital again? When you tell the hospital how your obstetrician or midwife treated you, you may change that hospital’s policies. If you tell your insurance company that you felt something was necessary and wasn’t covered, you are reaching out to help other moms and babies get better care. When you tell the state insurance commissioner that your insurance carrier or care provider did not behave appropriately, you may be impacting thousands of lives. When you complain to a licensing board, you may be taking an irresponsible care provider away from harming another person. When you tell another woman about your experiences, you are also helping her to learn what she does or does not want in her care. Being quiet about the problems we experience leads to a situation much like date rape in the sixties. Bad care or a lack of professional care is NOT something to be tolerated. Sometimes, we are looking for an apology for a physician’s bad day but other times, we need more than that. We need things to change so that women and families will not be harmed in the future. We are all impacted by the care given to others.
There are many resources for writing complaints. Our site is constantly adding to our state by state resources and adding new template letters written by other mothers, such as in our article, ”Does Writing My Insurance Company Really Work?”. Citizens for Midwifery has an awesome link on how to write a complaint letter HERE is usable for any care provider. We are also here to help you file complaints or write letters regarding your care.
So finally. . .
Why Don’t We Complain?
Why don’t we write those complaints? Most women don’t write the complaints because they are pregnant or they just had a baby. They think that their opinion is just one and it doesn’t matter. They don’t feel a lawyer will take their case and they don’t realize there are other avenues. And worse, they are hurting. After a traumatic birth, a birth injury to their child, some complication they are told is routine and normal that is affecting their lives or something else that hurt them in some way, they simply don’t want to face what happened or don’t know how to respond and they don’t feel they have someone who understands. If you find yourself in that position, contact us and we’ll walk you through finding appropriate avenues of complaint or simply be that friendly voice in the wilderness.
Another avenue for complaints is consumer sites like this one, www.TheBirthSurvey.com or physician referral sites. If you’ve had a baby in the past three years, filling out the Birth Survey will help other moms to learn more about their choices for birth.
We encourage you to add your comments or thoughts to this article through firstname.lastname@example.org