In many ways, this is how I feel. Pushing myself out of this tighly bound cocoon and dusting myself off picking up whatever shreds of myslef are left. I used the imagery of the light house whenever someone upset me this semester, which was surprisingly often. This process left me feeling vulnerable and raw. There were many times when I felt that being pinned down and squirmy was not enough. Sometimes I was vocal, sometimes I just sang realllly loudly in my head. And concentrated on my facial muscles, heart rate and breathing. Trying to look like I was calm. Listening to heartfelt monologues about medwives (Come on people! What is wrong with medwives?!!) Don't get me started on what I think is wrong with medwives!!! I wanted to leave the room that day. But I thought I should stay and listen to the reasoning behind the banter. Excuse my disdain. The anti abortion stances...the way some women found turkey basters ridiculous and suggested lesbian women should just have sex with a man since that would be less ridiculous(!) Then there were the discussions about pelvic exams...my heart just sank...completely deflated for a moment in time when I heard the words : Yuk!! Gross!! coming from a future midwife's mouth when talking about vag exams. What did you think you where in for?!! So here is a question I might suggest we ask the midwives who help us birth our babies: How do you feel about vaginal exams? I suppose one of the only answers a professional midwife could give while being conscientious about protocols and harrasment is : well sometimes they are helpful in determining the position of the baby... It just really makes me wonder about the treatment of women's bodies when we are literally in the hands of homophobes? Or people in general who have sentiments of YUK associated with womens bodies.
Sometimes we just glide along with a bucket full of happy in our heads and pay no mind to how things are good...sometimes we get snagged on a glitch and focus of negative associated with the process. In the end, I feel like I payed for the ride, got in got strapped down (cocooned) and am once again free to emerge. Alas one last push (biochemistry exam) and I am a free woman. I suppose the iminent birth was that of my emergence as a student midwife. I feel a bit bewildered as I shake off the feathers and prepare to fly back 'home' (where exactly is that again?) for the season.
Perhaps the most perplexing thing about this and the big picture of it all, I've waited most of my life to be here, was involved in the field for a while and now that the first semester is done...I won't be studying midwifery for a full 9 months?!! Weirdess. This winter semester I will study anatomie/physiology and intro to social welfare. Can anyone explain to me why I couldn't have stayed with my family to do this part?
Back to being positive. I did learn the scientific reasoning behind GBS testing and use of antibiotics VS choosing not to be screened for it to avoid the overuse of antibiotics. I learned what the issues are that I am not willing to bend for, my reasons for these and how I might go about being aware of this. Namely women's rights, rights to choose, that medicalization of childbirth is hugely problematic, that intuition has as much value as authoritative scientific thought, that heterosexuality is only one of the many ways women express sexuality... and how I might go about constructively expressing these. That one is a learning curve though and I suspect it is a lifelong one. I learned that how I define midwifery and what I think a midwife is is just as offensive to some as their perceptions of midwifery and what a midwife is is offensive me. I suppose some people find comfort in diversity and others seek shelter away from it.
I loved writing the final midwifery exam. Loved it. I loved studying for it, staying up until 3am reading the CMO binder, calculating para gravida filling in antenatal forms...it was fun. The exam was long, unbelievebly long, but somehow felt like a right of passage. So here I am, freeing myself from the invisible cocoon and emerging with a twinkle in my eye.