Tuesday, April 3, 2018

It's a long story...isn't it always?

Edited: finally shared this draft that had been hiding in the blog queue...almost a full year after I wrote it :-(

The planner is still pretty full here. Not with as much "running around" as with just plain stuff...reminders of a few appointments coming up, changes to be made or reminders of those I've already made a month or two back, and lots of school work for myself as well as the kids. I'm trying to be more efficient. It's not exaclty working yet because planning tends to go against my grain, but I persist nonetheless.

I had a short notice client visit scheduled (I'm hardly the only one who is busy day to day) so 3 days out I started stressing over how prepared I really was for it. I know the exercises, I know the labor tips, I know the Myles Circuit, etc. I have a birth bag packed and ready...what exactly I want or need for sure in there is still up in the air, but honestly, a Doula can get by with just showing up when needed. Our main resource is our mind, our heart, and our hands :-)

I started sorting thru some printouts I had here with good old fashioned basic information...typical labor progression, light and healthy snacks, some exercise photo sheets, and you know me...LOTS of other stuff...because I am pre-wired to be crazy and overwelming sometimes.

Ok, it's most of the time.

This was how the day progressed...
I went in and got Liam at 7am. Nothing strange there, it happens every morning. I got back home and beat myself to death with the informational overload again...you know, so I could triple-double check everything and not forget something. I finished enough of the website that I was comfortable publishing the starting version (still very 'stock' filled and in need of personalization, but it's up nonetheless and I'll post the link below). Boom, it was already going on 10am and I HAD to hit the road. So, birth ball, peanut ball, binder of overload, birth bag stuff, purse and iPad in hand, off to the car I go. Ready to take on anything and everything prenatally birth related.

Then I started the van. The resulting sound was not what it should be. I flipped the key back off. Yep...the gold cat bolted out of the wheel area and took off across the yard. The kids ran after him and I popped my hood.

All winter long those cats outside haven't been near my car. Yesterday (and this morning and tomorrow morning...crazy southern weather) we awoke to a deep cold spell and a lot of wind. Apparently me going in to get Liam earlier made my warm engine the perfect spot for a napping cat.  The cat btw, was fine, albeit a little smudged on his leg and totally freaked out. He was given a lot of love and extra dose of food and checked over well.

The van however, didn't fare so well.

I'm not even going to say it...

It's been almost a full year since I wrote anything here.

That's just flat out sorry. I should lose my blogger card. Heck, I probably already have with this lazy updating history I have.

Well, a year in a nutshell highlights are in order I suppose:

I am now a grandmother of THREE :-)  Liam will be 3 years old in June, and now we add in Nova Delaney, born to Chris and Amber on November 1st...and Harper Kate, born to Johanna and Matthew on December 29th.  We don't see Nova very often, but we have Liam and Harper here every week.

Abbey is off doing her own thing in Michigan with her boyfriend now.  She turned 18 the end of January and decided it was time to stretch her wings away from family. I'm not sure I've adjusted to that at all yet.

KatiAnne is 15 and now living in Illinois with her grandmother and great grandmother so they have some help there with the day to day things. I's still adjusting to that change here, but they needed someone there daily to help out with the normal stuff. Mom can't handle the house and caregiver role for my 98 year old grandmother herself.  It's not so much the big things that come up as the small, normal things. So, Kati was next in line so to speak and she'll just finish her homeschooling long distance so she can be a help there.

Last summer I started setting up classes to become a midwife. I completed my labor doula certifiation and if I'd slow down long enough to put the last bit of work in, I would have my postpartum certification as well. I still have several courses within that program to complete as well, but for now, I have ventured off into midwifery studies and I love it! I am over halfway thru year one and have set up a good foundation for the next years of study. I have also been blessed to have found and started an apprenticeship with a local midwife and her practice. I am still in the observation phase of that, but I have already learned a good deal and can't wait to step into the further role of student and later, assistant.

I have also completed my herbal studies with the Herbal Academy of New England. True, I have worked on that one for a long time, but it is finally completed and I am ready to move forward there as well. My focus is going to be on herbals directed toward the childbearing woman. I would love to schedule myself out perfectly and enroll in the Botanical Medicine for Women course with Aviva Romm in the next year or so. I've said that for a few years now though...still, it's a dream :-)

What else? A year is long time in many aspects, yet seems like just yesterday some of these things happened.  Dewey is still on the road working. He is over in South Carolina this year, until spring 2019. We have made a few trips over to visit since this job has been plagued by the continual rains this year. It's finally gaining some ground and hopefully that will mean he can make more trips home here to see us.  Chris is working just over the line from Dewey, in Georgia. Matthew and Jennifer are also working with Dewey this year. Jen wanted to expand her horizons as it were and give feet to her experiences for writing (we are still waiting on the sequel to Blakefield's Mansion to come out!!) so she started working with her dad so she could travel around more.

Johanna is still going through nursing school. Her goal is pediatric surgery. She is doing most of her classes online this semester as she adjusts to being mom of 2 and working.

We bought a new car for the first time in 13 years, LOL  No more mega-sized 15 passenger van, we are now the owners of a Mitsubishi Outlander. Just big enough for the remaining family at home...I am down to just 3 here now...and the perfect car for my travelling for work and being on-call. The gas mileage is AWESOME...maybe not for those of you who already had normal cars, but coming from the 15 passenger v10, it totally has me awe-struck. I've made 2-3 trips back to Illinois every month since September and it's not even costing me $60 in gas to get there. That wouldn't even have wiggled the gas gauge in the van, LOL  I am definitely enjoying the pocketbook benefits of the new ride!

I'm sure I have missed several events of the past year, but these are some of the highlights that stick out in my mind. The year ahead will be filled with grandbaby hugs, kayak and canoe trips with the kids, visits to Dad and sight-seeing in western South Carolina, midwifery studies and workshops, visits up north, and I'm sure much more.

In addition to needing to keep this online presence a bit more updated, I need to put effort into the business presence online as well as an on-going project for school.  It's so very much a work-in-progress, but if you're interested in taking a peek, here's the link...

Hands and Hearts Birth Services of North MS

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

As the calendar fills...

Sounds like some crazy soap opera title, doesn't it?

The planner here is filling in...vet trips to finish up, dental visits for everyone, schooling for the kids, planning some field trips, my own schooling between herbal classes, CPR/First certifying, doula certifications, a couple of clients to work with, a much-needed Doula retreat weekend coming up (and a detour coming home to visit with the menfolk at their job)...the calendar fills with colored notes and I get an anxious feeling. Not necessarily a bad one, but not always a comforting one.

I must admit, I have my doubts as to if I truly want to do any of this some days. I miss our old days here. Simple Living isn't easy, and it's definitely busy, but it's family. I don't feel that when I'm away from home forging new roads and the like. I miss it. We aren't that Plain and Simple family that we once were. The dresses-only and head coverings are all but fully replaced with skirts and modest shirts now. Honestly, in this new direction of doula and such, I don't believe there would be any work for me dressed in my Plain clothes. I know from far too much past experience I would not see acceptance from the Amish and Mennonite community, and I certainly wouldn't find clients in the rest of local society dressed that way.  For me, the dress change, the doula work...none of this works to make me a better 'fit' with my community. It actually appears to be isolating me more than I already was.

And you know me, the second guessing starts creeping in with all of this and I wonder if it's worth any of the effort. Of course as soon as that happens I start seeing validation totally supporting those doubts in my mind.

I recently shared online in a couple of groups that I was feeling a bit lost at connecting with any local doulas. Reading so many groups, I've seen what is apparently a culture of 'competition' among a lot of doulas. Sadly, it's quite a universal thread that runs among every area. There are some who are resistant to those coming in, some resistant to those in bordering areas where they themselves serve, some have already formed "associations" or co-ops and don't feel they need to extend a connection to anyone outside that. One of the biggest themes I've seen and had pointed out to me is that there are apparently some certifying organizations that outright shun anyone from a different certifying background. Dare to say you aren't charging a fee and you can almost hear the torches and pitchforks being gathered on some groups.

What is wrong with these themes? It appears that doula services are considered quite boutique and exclusive in a lot of areas. Those who believe in charging the full fee acceptable in the area are often (no, of course not always...) quite vocal against those who are willing to charge less, or brazen enough to offer free services. It just as often runs the opposite with those offering free services being outspoken against those who refuse even a sliding scale approach.

Doesn't every woman who wants a doula deserve a doula? Does it...should it...even matter if there are doulas offering free services and doulas charging the full amount in the same area?

Apparently it does matter to a lot of people. There have been downright heated and nasty arguments online over one sharing their website and being torn apart for not charging as much as others in the same area. Some will band together with their sliding scale or free services and attack those who are charging high end fees. I'm not talking adults sharing opinions, I'm talking outright ugly comments about the opposite opinion.

Yes, I posted something about having trouble making connections locally with the existing doula community. It's not that there's in-fighting here, I was just extending some 'feelers' and not getting a response. Apparently that got around and several have since messaged a hello, even suggested a new client to me.  Of course I feel like the idiot cousin now.

And it fuels those second guessing moments.

Still, I'm hardly a shrinking violet type. If I make connections that would be great. I would love to have a relationship, share some networking, etc with fellow area birthworkers here. We have so many moms in need in this state, especially I would think, in my northern area. There is room for many more doulas.

That aside, I keep moving forward


Jeremiah 6:16
Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.

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