Thursday, April 4, 2013

Well, it's officially Spring.  Spring is the season in which I became a mother for the first time 17 years ago.  It was a beautiful season to reflect on new life.  As I spent my maternity leave at home with my baby girl, we would take walks amid blossoming trees and fragrant flowers with our little Eski, Chickie (in truth, she was my first baby), sit on our tiny patio, and visit with family and friends.  I awoke many times each night to nurse and talk with my girl, she was content yet often awake for a good portion of the night.  I loved that time; those memories are some of my most treasured.  I had NO IDEA in that moment that my life was purposed to support other families as they prepared for this incredible transition.  After I returned to work, part time and after a 4 month leave, I quickly realized that I was not meant to be working outside the home.  Leaving her was torture for me.  In part my husband and I were blessed to be able to allow me to stay at home, and in part my husband and I have made conscious choices to live with less to be able to keep me here where we know I'm meant to be.  I attained my certification to teach childbirth during my second pregnancy, partially because I was passionate, and partly because it would allow me to bring in some income while staying home.  Having 2 kids in childcare practically eclipsed my part time income.  Next came my son's birth, not in the Spring, but Autumn...and not just any Autumn.  It was 1998, La Nina.  I was newly certified, staying at home with my toddler and new baby in a recently purchased crackerjack box sized "fixer upper".  I started teaching classes in my home and struggled to function on little sleep.  Money was tight, my darling son had some sleep issues (meaning he didn't appear to need any), he wasn't particularly content either.  My daughter gave up her nap and diapers shortly after his birth. I was under a cloud, both literally and figuratively.  Having the second baby was a harder shift for me, it was a balancing act.  It required multitasking, which I am convinced doesn't actually exist.  I really felt like I was doing several things poorly all at once.  I couldn't get them in the stroller, or to the grocery store, or to the park, or to story time. It was a hard time. But time passes, I had some good advice...and some bad advice.  I had support, and I had some harsh judgements.  In time I had my son adjusted by the chiropractor and his nighttime restlessness and discomfort resolved, I saw my Naturopath and used some herbs and homeopathic remedies to help alleviate my nerves, stress and "blues".  We entered into one of the most treasured times of my life; when they were both toddlers/young children, the best of friends, loving and cuddly, kindhearted and happy.  We had a giant family bed that took up most of the floor space in my tiny "master bedroom".  We had lemonade/daisy stands, made pancakes and coffee, laughed and danced, went camping, had birthday parties, and barbecues, I was teaching classes regularly and had already attended several births as a doula for my friends and a few students.  I got so much fulfillment from this time that I never wanted it to end.  We  decided to keep me staying at home and to homeschool our children.  It started out with just pre-school.  I didn't want her to go, I felt like I had just reached the place that I wanted to be and it was too soon.  I can teach her colors, and letters, and numbers, and songs, and provide her with playmates and gym classes and story times, I told myself.  And I did. On we went, when Kindergarten came we found a school called "the family learning center" that was the perfect balance of doing what we loved to do at home and choosing classes that would be better with another teacher or with a larger group of kids.  I loved raising my kids there.  We met some of the most important people in our lives there.  My flexibility in schooling allowed me to continue to build my career in childbirth education and to be devoted to my doula work.  Carting my kids off to Grandma and Grandpa, Bama and Bapa, or some dear friends in the middle of the night, or early in the morning in their pajamas became a somewhat regular occurrence. They remember those times very fondly, like an adventure.  With every birth I attended, my passion has grown, deepened and strengthened. That may sound redundant, but they are all different and real to me.
Every birth has been continuing education and every mother, my teacher.
My children are now teenagers, young adults even and I still don't want them to go.  I love them profoundly and like them tremendously.  My daughter can now take my son to school or the bus stop and my parents and in-laws are retired and ever devoted to being available to them when I am not.  I will attend more births this year than any year before.  I am still lit from the inside by this profession and feel incredibly blessed to have found myself on this path.  This Spring I am preparing to "give birth" again.  Today I meet with my publisher as I prepare to print the curriculum that I have been developing and testing for the past 5 years.  If you see me taking homeopathic remedies or herbs to calm my nerves, you'll know why.

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