July is a month of highs and lows. We are coming off of the celebration of the summer solstice, and after embracing the longest days of the year are now headed back toward the shorter. We ramp up to celebrations of freedom, only to be pushed into taking stock of privilege and naming who is not still free. We celebrate the warmest days and endure the strongest storms. What a tilt-a-whirl of heat, humidity, dews, downpours… and yet new flowers are blooming thanks to those rains, those who recognize their freedom as privilege can work on expanding its reach, and while long days become shorter there can be even more adventures hidden within longer nights.
For a moment, let us try to just enjoy our caffeine and our company, and reflect on the past month’s tilt-a-whirls in each other’s presence to lessen the tilt and celebrate the whirl.
With a huge smile and possibly a jump for joy, I would wave around my two favorite new pieces of news: The Lancet’s recently published series on midwifery, and the American College of Physicians new practice guideline recommending against routine pelvic exams in asymptomatic women. Yes, yes, yes. I am continuing to read and reflect on The Lancet series, and look forward to sharing those reflections soon.
As I embrace the strong flavors of my chai, I would express pride in how much stronger my body feels in just a month of dedicating time to training for a half marathon and giving CrossFit a serious try. Again with the highs and lows, sometimes my body feels weak during or after the workouts, only to feel incredibly strong the next morning when I get up and try it again. I am finding the time I have dedicated to caring for my own body incredibly therapeutic after spending many, many (many) hours per week dedicating time to care for others’ bodies.
Raising a cup to cheers our drinks, I would reflect on the importance of hanging out with like-minded people. The past month I have had dinner with some awesome reproductive justice workers, another dinner with fellow midwives, and take more time to spend with fellow midwives at sign-out or during clinic breaks. The time shared with each other is so incredibly important, and allows release and reflection of the intensity and beauty of our work. I am similarly overjoyed to continue doing these monthly chai dates in community with Notes From a Student Midwife – join us in blogging about monthly reflections!
Likely also snacking on a bakery item and offering you a piece, I would push my new favorite recipes across the table: Curried Quinoa and Blueberries and Snap Peas, Arugula & Peach Salad, and Chilled Heirloom Tomato Soup. I’ve served both to loved friends and family recently and can speak to their success. Enjoy!
Taking a deep breath in and out and enjoying the warm mug in my hands, I would share that a high and low of the past month has been all of the work I have been doing, both as a midwife and volunteering with ACNM and others. I enjoy these projects immensely, and feel that they expand my practice and fulfill my midwifery spirit, hence the high. However the low is that there is not nearly enough time in the day to continue my self-care process, particularly with writing. I am looking forward to many of these projects taking off on their own soon, and getting back into my emotional release work (hoping tonight I can get some good writing and thoughts that are weighing heavily on me).
Finishing the last sips, I would share that I am trying to improve my work quality of life in small ways. This week, I brought in a cross-stitched “Midwife at your cervix!” handmade by my awesome friend Andrea, and a piece of birth art given to me by my friend Ellie. Having these on either side of my computer has already brought many smiles to my face, and somehow makes charting easier.
This month, what new experiences have brought you both celebrations and reflections? Where are you feeling weak and where are you feeling strong, in your body, mind, and life? What foods have brought you enjoyment and comfort, that you have been sharing with others? Where do you think you can seek more balance in your highs and lows, celebrate the whirls and calm the tilts? What small changes are you making to bring more joy to your everyday?
Happy July, and see you next month!