So we’re halfway through February. No longer close enough to the start of the year to blame it on carryover, and not far enough away to say we’ve given up on this year’s goals. And yet, we continue to find ourselves, even one day, one moment, one piece, more forward than we were seconds before. The days in February continue to drive this idea home for me. So are the days of our lives.
As we site down to chai, I would take a deep breath and figure out where to start. I’m not going to lie, this was a tough month. An unexpectedly difficult birthing experience, some higher risk clinical presentations requiring immediate referral to the next level of care, and adolescent pregnancies both happy and otherwise. Every day is still such a learning experience, now 17 months into practice. Taking each move toward the next is with much consideration and purpose, all the while reflecting. I just keep hope that each step forward is on solid ground.
Absorbing my caffeine, I would reflect on the weeks spent in my surgical first assistant course. Much time has been utilized in understanding the tissues of birth. How easily we tear, and the complexities in how to put it all back together. Such a privilege, terror, and steep learning curve.
Secondarily, even taking one class and working full time in healthcare, is, well, hard. So, hats off to y’all who make that work every day.
Feeling the radiant heat from the cup, I would express my gratitude for yoga. How each brief session allows an ability to bring it all to the mat, work through it, and walk away lighter on load and heavier on strength. How when I really think about it, I have so much I need to work through after a long day, and wonder how the mat and an hour could possibly handle it all. And somehow, it does. No explanations. It just happens. How truly, the mat the merely a metaphor for our every day, where we bring it all, leave both heavier and lighter, and prepare for the next pose.
I am done with winter. In Chicago, we have had countless days of single digits, with wind chills in the negative double digits. I prefer winter in the dark, in the snow. I prefer the air cold while the world sleeps, as a cleanser to the past day, to freshen the day to come. But lately, in the light, winter appears harsh. Greys and browns and faceless people consumed by layers of hats and scarves. A test of endurance with an unknown ending, groundhog or not. Or perhaps, a test to find beauty in something that otherwise seems without it. More time indoors in close quarters. It has been a lovely few weeks of dog kisses, best friend time, and family focus. Life is fleeting, and those moments are worth every millisecond. Thankful.
Setting down my drink, I would push my latest Margaret Atwood book across the table. How does she write things that speak directly to my mind and soul? I will continue to read her words with abandon, and crave more.
Precepting has been… an eye-opener. I’ve found it most difficult in my hospital setting. It is always scary to see the grievances against women in labor on my own, but somehow doubly so when I also see it through her eyes. It is unnerving to feel powerless in negotiating with fellow providers on my own, but magnified when she knows that things should be different, but I make the same excuses others do in how it cannot be. In the clinic, I find there is still so much I don’t know, and questions to which I still seek the answers, including when she has questions for me. Is it beneficial to be a preceptor a mere year into practice, to demonstrate what entry-level midwifery looks like? Or is there more benefit in improving the precepting opportunities with experienced midwives? I am in no way seeking affirmation of my own abilities, but rather pondering and processing the experience thus far.
I have also felt incredibly challenged in my autopilot thoughts regarding test results before I meet the individual, specifically related to pregnancy testing. And even more specifically, related to teens and young adults and positive pregnancy tests. I think I know my own biases, but don’t often really hear them until someone else does. If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?
Over chai, I would ask your thoughts about imprinting. Sexist Super Bowl commercials. Residents who overhear doctor hatred for midwives. Language in public spaces. Care for animals. Love. Parenting. Imprinting has been on my mind, the more I watch one’s actions repeated immediately in another. Such an intuitive way to learn, such a complex process to reverse. The need to start upriver is immense.
Finishing our chai date, I would ask if you are also feeling a pull until when things are over; a counting of the days. I would check in on how you are reframing the difficult to be reminded of the beautiful. In what areas of your work do you feel privileged, and in what areas challenged? Where and when is your solid ground? What is your metaphorical yoga mat, or, transversely, what is a smaller representation of your metaphorical day? Who is speaking to you most clearly with their ideas and art? In the most truest sense of the question, How are you? Let me meet you where you are, and find ways to allow you to meet me where I am.
Thanks for the date. See you next month.