Later this afternoon, I will be making the long journey into the city. Friday is the first day of the workshop that will begin my formal training to become a certified childbirth educator. As I have mentioned before, the training is through Lamaze and I will eventually receive certification from Lamaze International when I complete the requirements. I am so excited I can hardly contain myself.
Knowing my perception of myself ten years ago, I would have been very amused if someone had suggested to me that my life would take this path. I was in my early twenties and while I had just recently witnessed the natural birth of my first nephew and acted as a birth coach for my sister, I had no plans to give birth myself. I thought giving birth to be a miracle and it absolutely made me embrace my womanhood in a way I never had prior to witnessing the glorious capacity of a woman’s body. I was sure though, that while other women were enjoying pregnancy, birth, and motherhood, that there were other plans for my life. Not that I thought those plans more dignified at all, but more that I felt like life had not prepared me to fulfill that role in another’s life. I felt like I was doing the child who I would birth a favor by choosing to remain childless.
I look back on my life at this juncture, and it is obvious to me my preparation through everything from my birth order, life experiences, and educational choices for motherhood and teaching (or should I say sharing my experiences with others and guiding the search for information). I was the first born of my mother’s children and I tortured my baby sister day after day with school play. It was either that or her torture me with trying to copy and become a part of my independent play. 😉 I majored in English with a minor in Creative Writing in college, only to accept a job as a Language Arts teacher in the public school system. I went on to receive a Master’s in Teaching. It was like I had forgotten how I told my family that I wouldn’t be a teacher when they had suggested it to me so many times. I was going to be a writer. Then, I experienced birth through my sister, and almost five years later John and I desired to make a family. It was sudden, and in spite of all the plans to the contrary.
There was the planning for my birth – the dreaming. Then, there was the experience. I didn’t embrace what happened to me and my baby girl in any way for the longest time. It wasn’t suppose to have happened that way. Not to me. I didn’t understand that it was another leg of my journey. Ivy’s birth gave me a little more understanding, and yet I still didn’t accept what my heart was asking me to do. I felt like everything I had experienced and studied about would eventually bring a correction of what happened to me. It wasn’t about that at all. Healing isn’t always a reversal of a problem, and I would argue that most often it is not, but it is a renewal of our perception of that problem. That self that I thought I was, wasn’t me at all. It was an ego denying my whole self peace. I am complete just as I am.
So, now I have this awesome opportunity to put myself to use to a cause greater than I could have ever imagined for myself. A cause that is much greater than I am. It is not something I could ever take on of my own accord or understanding, but it is a movement of a collective body of women and men, working, in the best of times, as one force. To help other women learn about their bodies, enjoy their pregnancies, plan their informed births, and process the experience is a huge undertaking, but it is one that I love. It was done for me, and I am so thankful to those women. Not only will I have the opportunity to be an active part of a birth community, but I will be helping women in my mountains. The birth tradition in these hills is so rich and beautiful as much as it is hard to grasp at times. I think of the courage of those women and the trust that they put into the natural course of life. I want to help women from whatever place they come from in their journey to motherhood and through whatever their plans may be, help them to understand what is happening, to trust their body, and help them to feel comfortable and safe in the choices they make for themselves and their babies.
I’m thankful that I am finally able to listen to my heart. It is much easier than trying to rationalize contrary choices. I’m thankful for this opportunity. I’m able to embrace what happened to me as an experience in a longer journey that has a larger purpose than a few events in my life. Not that those experiences were easy ones, but more that they helped me to grow as a person. No, it wasn’t a part of my planning, but it chose me, and I’m so glad.
I think I have already chosen a name for my services and a tag line. It may change, but for now I like it. 🙂 I will be starting a new blog upon my return under that title. I will blog about my experiences in formal training and the topics I am studying or finding interesting in the world of childbirth. I won’t blog about anyone (privacy is my utmost priority), but it will be more informational in tone and a companion to my eventual personal website for my services. Birth is a very personal topic and because of the many varied experiences can seem almost mythical. Learning about the ideas surrounding birth and the issues involved is a great way to make it seem less so, but no less miraculous. 🙂