Tuesday, December 13, 2005
The Path to Becoming a Midwife
I had a conversation with a friend recently about midwifery and the sacrifices we make as midwives. At Birthingway, where I attend classes, we hold a forum every August called "So, you want to be a midwife?" At the forum dads and sometimes children of midwives come and talk about what it is like having a mother that misses Christmas and birthdays and has to leave in the middle of arguments or love-making. I have been thinking a lot about why we decide to become midwives and why it is that we must lose precious moments with our families. It is hard to imagine what it will feel like to miss out on those moments and yet, I know that I am fulfilling my purpose. Maybe that is part of what helps us cope. So many midwives I have listened to talk about the magical way they fell into the practice of homebirth. It is more than just a job. On many levels it isn't a job at all. I feel like I was called into this work. My mother had her children out of the hospital, as did many of her friends, so homebirth was never a foreign concept for me. But once I thought about becoming a midwife nothing else really seemed to fit or satisfy as deeply. In so many ways I feel I had no choice...this was the work I was born to do. In December, 2002, I had been accepted to Birthingway, but had decided that becoming a midwife was going to be too much work; that being a midwife was too much work. I had a dream that changed my perception and committed my completely to this work. I don't know how many of you out there actually believe dreams are a different state of consciousness, but in this dream I received a clear message. The shortened version of the dream is that I was apprenticing with a spiritual leader in a small village. When it came to be my turn to give the spiritual teachings I couldn't remember them. I was very upset with myself and convinced that I was not supposed to be a the next village spiritual guide. When the woman asked me how my first day had been I told her that she had been mistaken, I was not the next teacher. She looked me square in the face and said "we do not get to pick the path we walk, and the more important the path, the harder it is to walk it." Needless to say, I woke up and sent my letter of acceptance to Birthingway. I believe I am walking the midwifery path for many, many reasons, but on some level, it is because an old woman in a dream told me this is my purpose or destiny or fate. So, when I think about the sacrifices I have made and will make I come back to that dream. Yes, I believe we have a hand in our own destiny and that it can constantly morph and transform, but someone or something bigger than me is also directing me down this path, and the purpose for that I have yet to discover.