Scenes from the lighthouse
There are about a million little things that I want to talk about here! So little time to sit and enjoy what is happening each day, let alone post about it! The lighthouse image came to me in a moment where I felt I really needed to ground myself. I was sharing these feelings with a friend and she said: silly woman, there is no such thing as grounded! Life is not that static! I don't know if it made me feel better or worse. Part of me thought: oh good! I can stop trying to control everything and just go with the flow. The other part of me said: ARGH! I can't just let myself be swept away like that! So the image of a lighthouse with huge crashing waves came to mind. As long as I am in that lighthouse, all the waves can crash around me and I can choose to participate in their action or to let them stir around me without having to be them. All the drama will be there when I'm trying to sleep, it will be there during exams, it will be there when I'm feeling feisty, or holding a peaceful sleeping infant. It's ironic since I think I am one of the drama driven students, but still, I need to feel like the urgency can wait. I can't always be tending to it. Sometimes I need to just be in the lighthouse where no one or nothing can reach me no matter how much they try.
Since the semester started, I've gone back 'home' to visit family. It was interesting to want to burst at the seams and talk about all the new stuff I've been exposed to and learning midwifery related. But it's strange since I found out that I am going to be an aunt, which was and is extremely exciting for me, I found it challenging to know what and how to talk midwifery. I suppose it feels like the more I become a midwife, the less credibility I have. There is a huge mistrusting of midwifery in my family. It is as though what I am doing is cute and romantic, but with all seriousness, shouldn’t I just realize that Dr. knows best and get over myself?!! It is hugely frustrating. Also, my sister in law is a GP. So it would be sorta politically incorrect for either one of us to claim out loud that our profession is better than the other. I think both have their own merits and values and that neither should be undermined. I often feel silenced in order to protect the integrity of my family.
I feel like I often have the loudest voice in class. I was the only one to say anything when pregnancy was proclaimed as being exactly like a heart transplant. More importantly, the students in class (all midwifery students) said I was distorting the facts and being too negative. One student stood up for me and said I was right in saying that a central tenet of midwifery is that we don't view pregnancy as pathology. It's still early so there is plenty of time for us all to learn right? But what about the fact that we are being taught all wrong?!! My director says I'm feisty. I'm not sure about what she really meant, but I'll take it as a compliment. Either way, I find it challenging to have a voice when no one wants to listen. It makes one want to stay inside her lighthouse, and share a sacred space where those who like to share knowledge can do so in the safety of a supportive peer group. Even when the thoughts are diverse, you know listen and share and learn from one another without putting the other down for having a different way of seeing things. But that seems too exclusive. So maybe there’s only room for me in this lighthouse?! Oh I'll get it right one day!! I'm beginning to really see why midwives say this is a lonely journey. But fulfilling and empowering nonetheless.
Part of the reason I went home was because the CAM conferance was being held there this year. Surprisingly, a group of 8 first year students from laurentian attended the conference. It was a real bonding experience for us. It was great to get to know each other outside of academia. The conference itself was interesting. Very white, very cliqu'y and very expensive. Kind of the old boys club… Only for midwives...always a critic. It was great though to be immersed in new ideas, what people in this profession are thinking and researching, hearing opposing and diverse views on a common platform...I am very happy that I went and experienced the whole thing. I did feel that students had not real voice or place in CAM. I wish that the 'older' midwives who love to complain about how we are loosing the art of midwifery would acknowledge the student and allow us to acknowledge them. All too often, I feel like the generational division is what causes us to loose knowledge intergenerationally. I hear complaints about the 'new' midwifery yet many midwives who blame the new generation themselves don't take a responsibility to us. We are the future of midwifery, and unless we enter in a dialogue, we cannot have an exchange.
Also on the forefront of my thoughts lately, my partner had to move back to Ottawa for a job. I can't help but resent that we are, as midwives and student midwives, always concerned about keeping birth in the community and all that jazz (which by the way is absolutely one of things I do want to fight for and respect)yet the process of becoming a midwife...well it's anything but!! To be able to study this, I've had to disconnect from my entire social network: my family, my community, my peers, my everything. And now I am living without my partner for the first time in 6 years. It is yucky. And still, in my class alone, there are students who have left their young children with their partners in far away community. One student is 10 hours away from her partner and child and she is expecting a baby any day now, so she will likely give birth outside of her community. This week a single mom dropped out of the program and then the placement when we all need to struggle so much just to get by. Don't get me wrong, I consciously made the decisions it takes to be here and I wouldn’t change that. But, why can't we treat student midwives and midwives with some of the same respect that we treat the women we work with?
I realize that this program is still very young and incredibly imperfect. I have a lot to say about that. But the bottom line is, I am following a dream and there are some excellent moments along the way. I have no doubt already forged some deeply rooted friendships here. There are some very amazing women in this program whose intuition and love for women can transcend any b.s. along the way. And I love that most on this journey. There is abounding strength here and it is sacred.