Learning to Listen

Today was pretty great too. Of course, I am all weepy as I say this for some unbeknownst reason, feeling like I could use a good, heaving cry. The day was goos though.

Beyond learning comfort measures and all about epidurals ans C-sections, the thing I took away most was something she called “reflective listening”.

We talked so much about how to give information, not advice. How to listen and help with out letting your own bias color your words. How important word choice is, particularly when a woman is in labor.  Ie: Instead of “How painful was that contraction?” Say, “How STRONG was that contraction?” Word choicr matters. Even subconsciously.

Anyway. Reflective listening. It is a way of helping guide someone to their own decision without influencing them with your own bias.

If a mother says,

“I guess my doctor wants to induce me next week.”

You take a breath and do not respond with advice. You do not respond by saying what you would do, or what she should do. You say,

“How does that make you feel? What do YOU think about that?”

If they ask for information,  you give them the risks and benefits. Information. Not advice.

If they say something like,

“My Mom wants to be there, I suppose that’s okay,”

you respond with,

It sounds like you are unsure about your Mom being in the room. Is that right?”

It may seem obvious, but I couldn’t help feeling like, we should talk like this more often. We should strive to clarify and truly understand what someone is saying, rather than jump to answer. Pause. Think.

I am not making this make sense very well, but it is something I am thinking about. How do I learn to listen better in my daily life? What is in the way?

Do you think you are a good listener? Is it hard to just listen?

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