Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Hearing the call

Did I ever tell you how it was that I became a midwife?

photo from National Geographic August 1999

I had always been interested in birth. I watched my cats give birth to their kittens. I noticed pregnant bellies. I avidly watched nature films with birthing. As a high school student I saw a birth film in year 10 and clearly recall the crowning, and seeing a small tear occur, but knowing that I was seeing something sacred, and mysterious, and rarely seen.

When I had my first child I didn't understand what a midwife was. I have recently reconnected with the midwife who attended that birth, and my son turned 24 last week and we reminisced together. With my second child I had a friend who was a midwife and I read some of her books and came to better understand the role of the midwife.

As you know, that second child led me to a whole new world of discovery. I began to attend women's weekends for mothers of children with disabilities and special needs, where I was introduced to journal processing. This has been a tool to having a life, an inner life, all of my own. It is where I learned to love the questions in my life, rather than feeling I had to have all the answers.

On November 3rd 2001 I did a session where we looked at the personas we held within. The idea was to have a dialogue with one of these inner selves and uncover truths.

Now, a caveat here. Journalling is a very private experience. I have always been taught that it is never to be shared except with ones own voice. It is a private thing that can be shared with others, or done in a group, and the opportunity exists to share through reading. Listening deepens the experience, we often find resonance in other's words. Hearing oneself saying the words that have come out the end of your own pen is confronting, and affirming, and scary sometimes. It deepens the understanding, beyond just having written the words. It is a message from your soul. It is often moving beyond all measure. I have had some of the most profound experiences in my life in a journal room. Journal is secret and respected and a safe place.

So ... This is my blog. This is my erstwhile voice. And I choose to share with you some of this session, and I trust you with this sharing.

My Secret Selves

My list: the dancer, the midwife, the counsellor, the clear thinker, the love force of the Universe

Come out, come out, whomever you are

Here I am, coming as you have called, inside you, waiting for my time to begin, talk with me, come to know me, name me, put me up as a goal in your life, DO something to reach me.

Who are you? What is your calling? Will I like you? Will the path to reach you be long and hard? Will I have to make the journey alone?

I cannot answer that question. Any path is hard. Nothing will fall in your lap. But if you want to hold the shape of a ripe belly beneath your hands you will have to give up some things. To be a midwife will be 4 years of dedication. Set a date. start towards me, you know you want to. The coursework is not beyond you.

You were born to use your hands in this way. The power of birth, the hovering of life yet unbreathed is calling you. You talk of wanting a job which encompasses all your unique set of skills...this could be the thing. It is the sensuousness of the dance, the skills and knowledge of midwifery, the feminism, the ear and shoulder and warmth of counselling, the celebrator of life and the deliverer of fully formed perfection wrapped in death. The midwife births not only joy, but sometimes sorrow and you are well equipped to accept that challenge with grace and wisdom. Be an empowerer of women, deliver them to joy and peace, treasure their bodies and their new life, nurture the family, comfort and share with them.

Does that sound like the universe giving a wake-up call? Yeah. I thought so.

A few weeks later I told Don, and his first words were "you'd make a bloody good midwife". And the rest is history.

I love being a midwife.


Kelly said...

ahh, you're one smart cookie, we love ya!

persiflage said...

This is very inspiring. The call, the challenge, the turning, and the immense achievement. Thank you for sharing all of these things.

Natalie said...

Makes me happy... seeing the process, knowing you are in a good place.

Lesley said...

Oooh - tingly to read all that.
I think real vocation is an amazing and powerful thing. Pity it's too abstract for so many.

victoria said...

That is amazing and very interesting. Thankyou for sharing.

Debby said...

I am intrigued by the 'secret self' thing. I find myself thinking 'what am I when I have no one to be but myself'. I've decided that I will find this out.

You have one of the best jobs in the world. Your husband is a wise, wise man.

PottyMouthMama said...

That is ridiculously cool, I love love love that story.

And I love that your husband just needed to give a wee nudge - but really, I think you already knew where you were headed.

Love this post.

And thanks for the comment on my blog about Noah. The initial sting has gone, but I really do need to say something. And I will. x

Stomper Girl said...

So much beauty in this, the fact that you are doing a job for which you felt a definite calling, the fact that you had the strength and clarity to follow your calling, the fact that you had a partner who could see you so clearly that he just knew you were making a fantastic decision, the fact that you documented your processes so you remember your epiphany. Just ace, Laura Jane, ace, ace, ace.

Lisa L said...

I wish I had had you birthing my three. that's all. and believe me, it speaks volumes. you're awesome laura, and your patients must absolutely adore you :)

thenerms said...

You may of been there when I birthed my twins..
You weren't a midwife then..
(but I am sure this was defintely in the thought process even back then)...
But you were the one for the job.
Only you could have known exactly what would make my birth perfect.
Just being there made me feel safe.
.. and our babies knew it..

Envisioning a dream is easy. Seeing it through is not.
You are proof that dreams and possibilities are endless when you believe in yourself.....

A sister is like a guardian angel in disguise.. My favourite moments are always spent with you.
Thank you for being the BESTEST EVEREST midwife..