March. Outside of its use as a monthly designation, it is a word indicating purpose. One marches for a reason, with intention and individuality and community. A march exists to advocate and advertise and alight conversation. Marchers are seen as part of their own accord as well as involved in a larger movement. And thus, this month, tucked away at the end of winter and often only counted only with the goal of its ending, passed for me with much resolve, expectation, and aim. March, for me, was true to its name.
Let us sit down and discuss this month’s conclusion. Chai in hand, hints of new temperatures to come in the sunshiney rays and (slightly) warmer breezes, and brighter spirits springing into the energy around us, I wonder toward what end our conversation will march…
With a deep breath and remembrance, I would reflect on a quick vacation. I (intentionally, purposefully) chose a weekend off in March, and traveled to visit my parents. I had grand plans to swoop in and fulfill some large aunt-ly duties, but the baby had RSV and my nieces caught bronchitis, so instead the weekend was filled with sunshine, my mother and father’s laughter and hugs, my partner’s snuggles, and sustenance in all forms. It was lovely. See my contentment below.
Taking a proud sip, I would share that I (intentionally, purposefully) asked my employer for a salary adjustment. Working in a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), I am hesitant to reflect on the importance of salary to what I do, and instead relish in the work as its own payment. However, now almost three years into my work, and without so much as a cost-of-living increase during that time, I continued to make the salary I did as a new graduate. Per the encouragement of a coworker, and my own self-reflection on being valued in my work (and not only enjoying the work on its own value), I wrote out the worth that I brought to my job and the worth I plan to bring, and asked for an adjustment. Not a raise, but an adjustment, to more accurately reflect my current worth. And, I got it I was incredibly nervous, questioning my rationale, critiquing what it meant to say I was not paid enough… but what was it that was ingrained in me to think that my worth does not increase over time? What was my mental hangup on asking and possibly being told no, and moving on from there? Why did it not occur to me to ask sooner? What else is there that I should be increasing my self worth and others’ appreciation of my value, that I have not yet addressed?
Reflecting and sitting back a bit, I’d express amazement that I am now entering into my third year of practice. I continue to be amazed at all that I do not know, almost equal to my amazement at all that I do know. For those unfamiliar with how midwives keep up on their knowledge, every five years we must recertify and prove that we know what we are doing (this is on top of requirements to attend conferences/complete learning modules and earn credits for state and national licensure/certification requirements – it never ends!). One such way is to re-take the entire certification exam we originally took to become a midwife in the first place (does anyone actually do this?!?! seems incredibly frightening to me!). The other way is to read a pre-selected group of recent evidence in each of our categories of care, and take an exam to show we understood that evidence. This year I am choosing to complete all three of my recertifications at once: gynecology and primary care, intrapartum / postpartum / newborn, and antepartum / primary care of the pregnant woman. Three years seems like a good time to (intentionally, purposefully) realize that some of my evidence-based learning still applies, but some of it might need updating. (Plus… as I consider taking the GRE again (…) seems like a good thing to take care of sooner than later!). Excited to learn about this process and update my knowledge!
Exhaustedly, I would share that I cannot seem to get under 250 emails in my inbox. I. Just. Can’t. And goodness, I’ve (intentionally, purposefully) tried. That’s all I have to say about that.
Laughing, I’d tell the story of introducing my medical assistants to the menstrual cup. (I use the DivaCup, but I know there are many models out there!). The looks on their faces as they realized the economic impact, as well as came around to the concept itself, were hilarious to see. Spread the word on the ease and beauty of the cup!
Getting down to the last sips, I would reflect on totally fun things I’ve been doing the past month. I can’t seem to stop going to my favorite restaurant, Dusek’s, and it’s sister basement bar Punch House. I’ve started following Sean Hayes on Facebook because everything he posts makes me smile. Tonight we are going to see Davina and The Vagabonds at City Winery for a spontaneous date night, and tomorrow a friend and I are seeing Mucca Pazza at Revolution Brewing! Bring on Spring
Right now I am reading, book-wise: MaddAddam by Margaret Atwood (finally finishing the trilogy and looking forward to the HBO series!); Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gay. I’m trying to consistently keep a fiction and non-fiction going at the same time to keep me grounded and in the sky simultaneously: an exact mix of my parents
Right now I am reading/watching, internet-wise:
- Why do we even give a fuck? – Ruth Ehrhardt at True Midwifery
- Feminist Heroes to Teach Kids Their ABCs in Badass New Picturebook
- ‘She’s overreacting’: Why men find it so hard to trust women
- Beautiful agony – a website where people record their orgasms, to normalize real sexual experiences rather than pornographic fake orgasms! Wowza!
- Write, Erase, Do It Over: On Failure, Risk and Writing Outside Yourself – Toni Morrison
- 12 Women With Perfect Responses for Why They Don’t Have Kids – Mic
Other professional activities in the works? Finalizing a presentation for the ACNM meeting on “Modernizing Oral Histories” with other fantastic bloggers Lena of Notes from a Student Midwife and Robin of The Mindful Midwife. Completing preparatory work toward the 2015 Student Report (read the 2014 report here). Second Young Professionals Board Meeting for the Women’s Global Education Project. A few webinars for student midwives and new graduates through ACNM’s Student and New Midwives Section (SANMS) of the Division of Education. And a get-together/planning session with another board member of Nursing Students for Choice, possibly paired with a meeting with the Midwest Access Project.
Finishing my chai, I would reflect on dinner the other night, with a new friend who already sees more in me than I expected. We found ourselves amazed at how cool we think the other person is, and the encouragement that we were so ready to share for the other’s work. Here are a few quotes:
- For as much as you are afraid, the life that comes with it is a joy.
- Dance naked on the edge of a sword.
- You don’t know your path, but you don’t have to. Follow your heart and you’ll find it.
- You’re unapologetic. I like that.
- Just stay there and you’re going to break something open. It hasn’t declared itself yet.
Toward what goals did you intentionally and purposefully work this past month? What social and literary works have caught your eye recently? What event with friend or family or colleague continues to resonate with you? What picture might you share to summarize the month? What’s coming up next month that excites you? And what joys and smiles have crossed your path?
We have Marched. Let us continue to do so.
Talk to you later this month,