I called my Preceptor tonight and asked if there was a way to reschedule the postpartum class I was supposed to teach this evening. I had no urgent, tangible, see-able excuse. Childcare wasn’t an issue, my vehicle was functioning, I wasn’t ill. My only reason was how I felt emotionally. Overhelmed, frustrated, despaired, and sad.
As soon as I asked her, I felt a bolt of guilt charge through me and immediately regretted it. What kind of midwife would that be- To put my life, my schedule, my feelings first, and not be ready, willing, and able to serve a woman, regardless of my own circumstance? I’ve heard it before and I believe it- There will be times in my career, perhaps more often than not, when a woman’s labor and need for me will not perfectly align with my life and my circumstances. Part of being a good midwife, I have learned, is pushing this aside, putting yourself below the number one priority spot, as even sometimes you will do with your own family. I have seen midwives miss anniversaries, birthdays, Christmas parties, and countless other events without skipping a beat. All for the role of serving a woman.
So I struggle with that. I could have sucked it up, I could have held to my commitment and obligation to these women and their families. But yet, I thought about it and another thought dawned on me- even if I had composed myself and was there to teach this class, would it have really been ME? Would it be all of myself I was giving, 100%? Would it truly be the best of myself while I taught? Or would I be thinking about all of the events of the day in my own personal life, and wishing I was elsewhere? Because that in itself isn’t fair to them. That in itself seems like an incredible injustice.
In the end, the beautiful thing about being a group, about being a team, is that you have others who are there to pick up where you leave off, others who are there to fill in when you are unable, who will in general, support you in your work, as well as in your personal life.
I’ve been shown this and have learned this through my preceptor and the other midwives who I work with and learn from. With our own business, and in our own professional lives in general, I hope Glen and I can always foster this same belief. You put your own issues and conveniences aside until you possibly cannot anymore…until it reaches that point where to continue to try and serve them is actually short-changing them, as all of yourself is no longer there to give. When our staff encounters personal issues and life obstacles, it’s my hope that we apply this same concept- to continue to be good support, to pull together and get the job done when they are unable, to support them in being successful with work, as well as in their personal lives.
In the meantime, I am incredibly thankful for the night off and the chance to re-group.