Do you suffer from compassion fatigue?
When I first heard the term "compassion fatigue" it resonated with me because I have a daughter who suffers from anxiety and depression, and who for a long time depended almost solely on me to get through the day. Upon further reflection of the term, I realized it is also common among birth workers (that’s us!)
This is such an important discussion for birth photographers to have. We’ve begun adding classes to our Resource Library that focus on Empowerment, including topics like self care, awareness, inspiration and organization. **If you feel you are suffering from compassion fatigue, what does it look like and what can you do about it?
Examples of compassion fatigue are - burnout, isolation, lack of motivation, difficulty concentrating on your work, physical/mental/emotional fatigue, insomnia, poor self care, denial that you're overwhelmed, etc. Are you documenting births back-to-back? Do you utilize your backup photographers? Do you take time to process difficult births with your peers? Do you make an effort to balance time with family/friends with your work? Do you practice preventative self care? These are all questions you should be able to answer mindfully.
Here are some examples of what you can do to combat compassion fatigue (pulled from Psychology Today):
Enhance your awareness with education
Accept where you are on your path at all times
Clarify your personal boundaries—what works for you and what doesn't
Be kind to yourself
Express what you need verbally
Take positive action to change your environment
It is our hope that the addition of classes that focus on body/mind wellness will be useful in overcoming these challenges.
**To see where you fall on the scale, you can take a test here http://www.proqol.org/uploads/ProQOL_5_English_Self-Score_3-2012.pdf