I was in my Mother-in-Law’s living room vacuuming next to her oversized recliner when I finally had the courage to admit to myself that I wanted a future in birth work. My first 2 births were so extremely different and reflecting upon them had yet to leave me since June of the previous year. I looked over to my one-year old and then down to my swollen belly; afraid to admit the raging fire burning within my soul. This journey would not be solely my own, but also that of the family I was creating. Birth work is a lifestyle, not a hobby. Is my family resilient enough? Am I?
I knew going-in that this life would be full of extremes. Birth will always come before everything. I have missed developmental milestones, holidays and preschool graduations. I’ve parted ways from my children with rushed hugs & kisses not knowing when to tell them I would return. Somehow, their bright little eyes sparkling as they realize that a baby will be born soon, tells me that they understand. So often I pray that a life of helping other people will be the example they see, and not an absence they feel.
I remember laying on the floral couch in my Midwife’s office as she palpated my belly – bursting with the words ” I WANT TO BE A MIDWIFE” – only to swallow them down under the lump of fear in my throat. Whispering those words to her would hold me accountable…and her response had the power to stop me in my tracks. I was desperate to know if she thought I had what it takes. The last thing I wanted was to be patronized or even worse – laughed at! She would never do these things, of course.
I don’t remember a thing about my pregnancy wellness from that prenatal visit (over an hour!). Finding myself upright, next to my family, facing her & the same student midwife that attended my previous homebirth, these words came rolling out of me in a mottled mess:
“So before we go I was thinking I might like to be a MM-Midwife someday” (*internal face-palm. Really eloquent Krystal.*)
Genuine and kind smiles washed over them “Oh that would be great, there’s such a need where you are!”
Midwives likely hear this from clients often due to all of the oxytocin flying around, and in true Midwife style – mine have remained patiently watchful, wisely quiet yet supportive, and always there to answer my questions as they arise. I smile knowing that they can’t do this for me. Just as I followed my intuitions at my births, I have to find my own path in birth work.
Being a Doula first is the sweet-spot I didn’t see coming. Learning to physically and emotionally nurture others has strengthened my own family in so many beautiful ways. Little boys that offer words of encouragement and shoulder rubs when another family member is struggling tells me that they absolutely are resilient enough. They use their words to talk about feelings and advocate for themselves at school. Seeing them become strong and loving humans is at the heart of how this started after all… it is this Mother’s dream come true.