That has been the question of my hiatus. Hello everyone, I apologize for my continued absence, and my non response to both emails and comments. The truth of the matter is that after I passed C&C my physician recommended that I take a medical leave from the program. So here I am. On sabbatical.
I have grown up with an increasing feeling of responsibility to those around me. It was never as much as many, but has dictated much of my adult life. What can I give to those around me? Who can I help? What is expected of me? For me it’s been very all or nothing, which is a philosophy that I’m sure all midwifery students have run into. We’ve all read the article on what must be sacrificed on the atlar of midwifery. The imagery has a martyrdom appeal which is something that has long been tied to women’s professions and selves.
What can be given? This is a question that has stricken close to home at this point, when, due to some pesky problems with my back, I’ve been immobile for almost a week. Standing is painful, sitting is painful, and lying down is the best option because it’s only slightly painful. I am physically prevented from my modus operandi.
The impulse is to run the other way. Skirt the responsibilities. Encourage your own passivity. Give 0%. That’s no good either.
I felt very responsible to this blog, and to those who sent their letters in asking for help, because I remembered that feeling of desperate hope. But it’s been hard for me to work up the mental energy when I have so many other things going on my life that are tired of being pushed onto the back burner. What can be given?
It can be hard to decide how many stories are the ones that need to be told, and told to how wide a circle. What is my responsibility to future students? I had people to lean on every step of the way. I need to be a person for others to lean on. It’s only fair. The stories that other people tell make us feel less alone. Then there’s the question of ego. Why do I think it has to be me, anyway? What do I have to offer? Impostor syndrome. As you can see, the navel gazing goes on in a tangle forever.
Stupid really, I wrote my undergraduate thesis about how silences effect history telling. You never think things apply to you until they kick you in the shins.
The classic midwifery trap is burnout. It’s almost a cliché. B for Balance right? But my honest answer is that I don’t think it’s possible to be balanced in this program.* It’s too demanding. There’s a reason for this, of course. Our responsibility as care givers. The things we give now are on a larger, weightier scale. Someone pointed out to me the other day that there’s a very good reason that not everyone chooses a profession with responsibilities like ours.
Who wouldn’t want to be a midwife? Well almost everyone, you know, statiscally.
I’m planning on returning to school in the fall of 2015, when I will be more able to satisfy the demands of the program. What can be given? Quite a lot, actually. I believe in midwifery. I’ve had the most amazing teachers along the way, of the professor and preceptor and client varieties. It is a profession that I think has tremendous value. I hope that will be understood.
I’m not sure about this blog. I think about it a lot. I’ve been composing this piece in my head for weeks now, honestly. So I probably will write again. But I can’t offer a schedule or an idea of a deadline at this time. I also can’t offer to proofread letters right now. I’m on sabbatical.
I hope you are all well. I am sending you my very warm regards.
*That is not the gospel of midwifery school, only of Maija.
Great things that I am doing on my sabbatical:
READING! Nonstop. Some of the best so far:
A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
The Faraway Nearby by Rebecca Solnit
The Inheritance Triology by N.K. Jemisin
I’ll be Right There By Kyung-sook Shin
The Signature of All Things – Elizabeth Gilbert
What I Loved – Siri Hustvedt
Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples.