Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Doula in Limbo

This is officially my hundredth post. I feel like I should be writing about something incredibly significant and life-altering, but I guess I might have covered that on my 99th post. :) Anyway, I am writing because I feel like I am in a state of doula limbo right now. I completed my certification in January, but have not attended a birth since December. I did have opportunities, but while finishing my master's degree, I could not accept any clients. Now I am finished, and the feeling of being in between my calling is weighing on me. I have tossed around various ideas such as becoming a childbirth educator, but I am unable to afford the training right now.

I had previously joined a Richmond Yahoo doula group in order to network, and read about current issues in birth. The group has left me fairly disheartened. They started charging an annual fee to belong to the group. While the amount is not much, it is the principle that bothers me. The main point of the fees is so women who need or want a doula for their birth, but can not afford one, will be compensated through a joint doula fund. I really find this ridiculous. I have actually never charged for my doula services. At first it was because I didn't feel comfortable charging without a lot of experience, but then it turned into the fact that I could not refuse a client my services if they wanted a doula but did not have the money. I just can't understand why other local doulas couldn't offer a free birth every now and then to also support women in the area in lieu of a fee? I was approached by someone who is looking for doulas to do volunteer births. This organization provides services to women who would otherwise be alone for their birth. I really feel like this is more of the path I must walk. The informational meeting was pushed back until October, so hopefully the meeting will shed some extra light.

My other dilemma is with my family's birth stories. I have been working on them for a couple years now, and finally got back into making final changes, and doing some of the suggestions made by Penny Simkin. The purpose of the stories is to provide each contributing woman a copy of our family's stories for preservation. The only issue I have is whether to leave the project as that..a family birth memoir or also pursue other suggestions such as submitting them to a mother's magazine. I am still just as interested and intrigued in birth and my work as a doula, but I am facing some confusion as where to take it. I know I only have a few readers, but any suggestions or guidance would be appreciated.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Universe

I have always believed in the saying that "everything happens for a reason". That people come into your life for a reason, and every event has a purpose. I am not a religious person at all, but I am extremely spiritual and have faith in the unknown and unseen. I think back to the random nature of events in my life, and how they have now perfectly aligned themselves.

I have hit a new wave in my life where everything difficult or hard has resulted in much happiness. I am witnessing the frayed memories of my life being sewn together in a slow, yet purposeful manner. The emotions I am having are so new to me that I am not even sure what to do with the feelings I am having. I have gone through such a long road where I began to anticipate every pothole in my path. I never saw the "road crew" out to mend the bumps, and I worried that I would only experience more downs than ups.

But, I was wrong! I am living a life now that I have always wanted. Personally and professionally I have blossomed, and yet smelled each rose along the way. I find myself sometimes turning around amazed at the brighter path I am now on.

My deepest "universe connection" of the moment has been with my doula work. My friend Patience welcomed me to attend the birth of her first daughter. The experience itself was life changing, but the carpet had only begun unrolling. Patience suggested that I look into the possibility of becoming a doula. I was drawn to the art of birthing, and the service of a doula. I attended several births along the way, but worried that I may not have enough births to complete my certification. Then my dad mentioned my name to his pregnant hair stylist. She ended up accepting me as a client. She had a beautiful and touching birth, and we remained in contact long after. She was the one that introduced me to Justin. As I have mentioned in an earlier post, it was completely wonderful and random. Having met someone as amazing as him is one piece of the happiness I am experiencing.

The "universe" is a wide-open space where infinite hope and possibilities lie. Goals settle in with the stars, and nightly dreams are achieved. During part of my life, I felt as though I was only treading water to stay afloat, and now I feel like I am floating.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

White House Babies

I was laying in bed with my boyfriend while he showed me all the features of his new phone, when an option for "today in history" appeared on the screen. We began reading about all the events that occurred on September 9th. One blurb caught my attention, which mentioned that the daughter of President Cleveland was born in the White House on that day in 1893. I am fascinated with birth, and homebirths especially, and I had never really thought about White House homebirths before. I have read and researched about the history of birth, so I should have assumed that because of the time that all babies were born in whatever "home" the woman lived in. I am not quite sure why this concept is so thrilling to me, but it led me to further research.

I could only find one article dedicated to White House births which was originally published in 1908. Esther Cleveland was the only baby to be born to a President within the White House. I am sure this is because of the typical age of most Presidents, but the rest of my findings were equally interesting. As of the article's date, there had been less than twenty births in the White House during its one hundred and eight years of existence. The other babies born within the White House were actually grandchildren of the Presidents. Presidents such as John Quincy Adams, Thomas Jefferson, General Grant, and Andrew Jackson were among those in attendance for the births of their grandchildren. Imagine entering the world in the Exectutive Mansion among hisorical greatness!

The White House has always felt like a sterile, yet historically signifigant building that I could never really consider a "house" or a "home". But, the idea of families coming together through a birth, even in the White House, made me feel differently. No matter who you are, where you live, or what station in life you find youself, childbirth is still the raw and emotional connection that binds people and families.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Beginning of a New School Year

Unless you are a teacher, I truly do not believe one can understand the amount of stress associated with the beginning of a new school year. Last week I was panicked that my room would not be ready, and I would not be fully equipped to accept 20 new students into my classroom. I had my mini-breakdown on the phone with my boyfriend. I know it was something he had not seen from me before, and I truly didn't understand why I was so emotional, but I knew I had to release it. This week has left my body exhausted like I have spent every day competing in a triathlon. As soon as my mind is able to shut down for the day, my body just goes with it. I am not sure why a new school year is so difficult, and I know after my years of teaching that everything will plateau in a month, but October seems so far away right now. It might be because of the intricate details I must attend to such as teaching them how to line up, walk through the halls, and use their pencil box properly. It is trying to figure out what makes every child tick, and how I can relate to them, and better instruct them for the rest of the year. So far (fingers crossed) I have no major behavior issues in my class. This is the first year in a long time that I have not had either a clinically psychotic child, or a gang member in my class (all joking aside). I find this so refreshing, but I am afraid to get too excited because the population of my classroom is forever changing. I have an adorable group of children that have so much personality and so many gifts that will help to make my year a unique and special one. I look forward to their hugs each day, and their smiling faces when we are doing something enjoyable. I also look at the first students I had at my current school, now in third grade, always saying hi to me and giving me hugs. I feel so much older when I see how grown up they are. I know that next week will be better, and the weeks after that will improve once we all figure things out. So, if you see a teacher today, give her a reassuring smile because she is surely in need of an energy boost.