I haven't blogged for a while as things have been really hectic! I'm still settling into a co-parenting routine, trying to sort out paperwork and accounts, all the while my studies and my work go on and on and life has to continue as normal. Part of me has been so tired for so long. Remembering to take time for myself has been important and I've enjoyed some really long baths, days out in nature with loved ones and sometimes just staying in bed. Does that make me lazy? I still find it hard to discern between what I've been told to believe about myself and who I truly am. From living in a state of nervous tension for so long, I find it hard to relax (says the birth teacher!) but I'm making good progress.
The two year journey I have been on from commencing my Maternity Care studies has been incredible and I had no idea my life would look like this at the end of it. From where I started to where I finished... I am frequently giddy from my own good luck. I have somebody by my side who has been a revelation and who makes the future seem so bright. I have met some inspirational women, true friends, on the course who have commiserated with me, cheered me on and we have all grown together. I still remember our first session, everybody shiny and nervous, as we all pledged to make it a safe space for truth telling and laughter.
It also led me to Daisy. I am eternally grateful for Daisy and all that is has given me. Truthfully, it saved my life! My original plan was to be a stay at home parent to Judah, possibly homeschooling and hopefully increasing my family. Sometimes (thankfully for me) we don't get what we want but we get handed something better. For me, it was my dream job, my outlet. When plans change and you have to let one of your dreams go, being able to do something that you believe in so fervently is immensely fulfilling.
I have written before that there are many ways to be a mother. I have supported mothers through pregnancy and new motherhood and formed some strong bonds that have meant the world to me. The ebb and flow of teaching, the highs and the lows, these are the women that have stuck with me and have been my drive to keep going even when the rest of the world seemed to be crumbling around me. I never envisaged it, but I have been happy to choose this over anything else.
Reflecting on plans changing, who I am, where is this leading?
Training with Nurturing Birth was a revelation. It is probably something for another blog post entirely, but if I just say it wasn't really about birth at all. It was about becoming a doula and the most effective way of doing that is by holding up a mirror to yourself and really seeing what is going on. The pre-conceptions, the prejudices, the hard truth. Finding the beauty in your own set of convictions but also not letting them rule you. Having a course leader who looks you in the eye and tells you what she truly thinks about your talents and capabilities. Accepting that you are offering yourself and you might not be what that mother needs. You might be the perfect fit. It's not personal.
Part of who I am? I stand by evidence-based care and decision making. I do wonder where my place is in the birth and baby community that I see often hesitating to cause offense. I have seen good information and articles being shared to be met by a backlash accusing the poster of shaming mothers for their choices. I frequently find it difficult to navigate this terrain even with my understanding and ability to articulate. I cannot lie about my opinion when asked and cannot always hide my reactions to somebody's statements. Above all I want mothers to be happy with their decisions and all this defensiveness I am seeing makes me believe that frequently they aren't. We should be challenging this in a different way.
Where do I fit in all this?
The roles of mother, stepmother, student, daughter, teacher, consultant, girlfriend, writer, doula and friend are not combining as seamlessly as I thought they would. Certain aspects require more of me and others are fading. I am finding that life is gradually leading me away from things that are not meant for me and presenting me with a myriad of options to pick from, knowing that if I only work hard, I can have what I desire. I want to support women in birth, I want to integrate it into my life. I also want to fit it into a life truly of my own choosing. To be satisfied I need to be able to fully inhabit myself and certain links in the chain of my different roles are gradually weakening even as others are strengthening beyond measure.
And above all, the deep sense of gratitude and persistent fear of loss. Is there a place anymore for somebody like me within some of these roles? I'm confused, excited, overwhelmed. Also feeling guilty, like I should be working harder, doing more, making it happen. I know I can do more, but more of what? I am ready, but waiting to begin.
This is where I really have to laugh and concede that ironically it's going to take some evidence-based decision making.