Friday, March 27, 2015
Mothers, study groups and being called
I meet an old friend and midwife in the store. Our midwifery careers began in much the same way. We were young moms who had births that in our heart of hearts did not feel "right." We went on, after these births, to be moms and work and go to school but inside we knew we could birth differently. We did not have the right words to say this or even had anyone much to say it to. This feeling lived within us. Perhaps we tried to shrug it off. To say that's jus how birth is but inside we knew that wasn't true. We knew we had a strength, an inner voice and a power that was not allowed to be heard. We knew we had been silenced. We had, of course, been silence many times before and had learned to still that voice; to not be who we were meant to be, to compromise our truest selves. We had watched our mothers and the women in our communities. That we breastfed and fought for a natural childbirth against all odds- wasn't that enough.
But when we got pregnant again we knew that the voice would not be quiet. Perhaps because it was in the hearts of own all over the country and because there were generations of women all over the world there minor hearts to encourage and protect us. And so we began to look- quietly and alone and found a book and had a conversation and had our first home births and then joined study groups and took correspondence courses and dared to listen to that voice that called upon us to sing a song for women and mothers; the one inside of us that was waiting to be heard.
When we were young, with breastfeeding toddlers at home, we took a week long workshop on midwifery and slept in a tent in a backyard. We laughed all night long. We had no idea where this would take us or who we would be but we followed a small,still voice and tried to learn as best we could. There were no schools in Portland. We had study groups and read what we could and began to attend births. It was an avocation. I don't think we thought of it as a profession. It was our life as we saw and felt and dreamed it. It was us waiting to be born, even as we held the hands of women giving birth.
This is how many, many woman became a midwife. There was a river. We put our toes in the water and then could not turn back.