And here it is, the next year, whether we are ready for it or not. Luckily, I feel quite ready – ready for an excuse to start new, for a fresh look at plans and goals, and for new adventures. I hope that 2014 has found you well, warm, surrounded with friendship and love and intention!
Sitting down to breathe in our aromatic concoctions, I would share that after much debate, I have finally decided this year’s continuing education: Contraceptive Technology in Boston with one of my closest friends, and Fetal Monitoring in Las Vegas per the recommendations of colleagues. Would love to see and meet you all there! Importantly, if any of you are attending the Vegas conference, I am looking for a hotel roommate to decrease cost – leave a comment or email at email@example.com! (I’m still debating attendance at ACNM, pending the available funds!)
Warming my hands around the hot chai, I would describe that, in lieu of new year’s resolutions, I have decided to have a year’s theme, and have chosen ‘Strength.’ I interpret this to be strength in my relationships, in my midwifery practice, in my physical intention, belief systems, emotions, finances, and health. Resolutions still linger in my head due to habit, but I still find them all within the theme. It’s been interesting so far to not start the year with an added stress or task, and rather concentrate on a positive overarching desire.
With an effort to start fresh and review what is necessary going forward, this past weekend my partner and I went room-by-room, assessing what hadn’t been used in the past year, and what could be better used by someone else. With hands full of bags, we dropped off the donations, and then took a moment to browse. Finding myself in the shoe section and magically with a comfy pair of $10 black pumps in my hand, it all felt like a good trade.
Also, the polar vortex hung out in my city for a while. Still chilly, but thankful that it’s no longer a high of -12F!
Over chai, I’d fly my geek flag high: I am incredibly excited to do my taxes. No, really. Aas in, I am checking my student loan websites daily for the appropriate forms, and my ‘Taxes 2013’ folder is primed and ready. I am also thrilled to be updating our monthly budget for the new year, and looking into where we can save more and go a bit further in student loan pay-off. It must be something about my Type A-ness and number crunching that just gets me going. I await taxes and budgets every year, with bated breath. Truth.
Last week, the integration midwifery student who will be with me for the next four months, started. I am already surprised by the immediacy of being pushed to be better, to know more, and to learn the best ways to teach what sometimes feels like intuition.
Sipping the chai slowly and reflecting, I’ve noticed that one of the surprise effects of having a midwifery student has been my own awareness of the amount of time not spent doing clinical work. There has been more time doing social, political, and logistical tasks than providing healthcare, or at least it has seemed, during the past week. I have realized this much more than I did when I was just buzzing through the days on my own. Having another person observing and participating really lights the corners of the room, so to speak. Midwifery happens in all shapes and sizes, and lately has included long-winded prescription approval calls to Medicaid, finding stable housing, discussing restraining orders, defining domestic violence, sussing out scheduling, etc. All worthy, and necessary to see as a student, but nonetheless interesting to reflect on in this first week of precepting.
My two latest favorite recipes are this pumpkin bread and my mom’s peanut butter cookies. I did also recently make one of my favorite Gambian recipes, domoda, and am trying out a NYT kale and bulgar casserole later this week!
Taking in a cleansing breath and breathing it out completely, I’ll admit that I was nervous to go back to the hospital yesterday. Thankfully, not because of any difficult clinical scenario. But instead because in the past week the Residents overheard, and witnessed, and learned, that midwives are less-than, that they have no authority, and can be bullied by an MD – specifically, that I was bullied by an MD over the phone. They heard that one-sided conversation, and likely have heard little, if any, defense of midwives and respect for our independent roles since then. I did my best to walk in with a smile on my face, my head held high, and still practicing according to our collaborative agreement and within my scope. I’m still processing the phone call, and figuring out the best language going forward. But for now, and always, I work for women.
An already-owned staple gun and $6 later, we recovered our dining room chairs! (Newest fabric on the left.) Next: the bar stools!
Books read: Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh and Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout – both absolutely fabulous, bringing stinging laughter and tears throughout. Concurrent reads at the moment are And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini and Moral Disorder by Margaret Atwood. My favorite Pandora station currently is Patty Griffin, who I am thrilled to see in concert with one of my closest friends later this month!
In compiling the list above, I feel incredibly moved by the big and small moments that stand out over the past month. A friend recently shared a colleague’s resolution to regularly write down things that bring joy, the little ones and the big ones, and put it into a closed jar to be opened on December 31st of that year, prior to a new year starting. In many ways, that is how I try to reflect on past months: to consider what happened, what stood out, even the little bits, and how it will light the way for things to come.
How are you lighting your way, and reflecting back? Any resolutions or themes guiding your path? What cleansing processes and self-care are you finding healing and restoring? What exciting work is coming up? And what work have you been surprised by, has shaken you, and is challenging you going forward?
I am regularly reminded that midwifery, and birth work, and feminism, are global efforts. None of us does this alone. I am thankful to be part of that community to have the support of many, and am thrilled to be a part of that support for others also.
See you next month,