Monday, February 23, 2009

Birth Change

To all my fellow bloggers and interested readers,

Sorry for the extremely long delay between posts. My life has taken a complete 180 when it comes to my livelihood and my passion for midwifery. It all started last year right about this time exactly. I was entrenched in midwifery...clients were lined up for over a year ahead, I was making and changing prenatal appointments, visiting with prospective clients and just generally one crazy woman! I was my own one woman band. I was orchestrating my life from an auto pilot perspective, thinking that this was what I had wanted for the past twelve years. I took on six extra clients for a local midwife who needed some help and I was busy with a capital B. Everything was wonderful and I was living in the moment until I started realizing that I was still a mother to three, young children and a wife to an artist husband and they all still relied on me for stability and love in their lives. I was neglecting the things that mattered most and had to choose between making time for clients or my kids. Essentially, every time I whisked away to a birth I waved goodbye to a small, sad face in the window who wondered when I'd return. There was no time for kisses or assurances, I had to be completely available to the current mama in labor. I found I had a sense of dread everytime the phone rang or my cell phone lit up and whenever I was making plans with friends or my kids I knew in the back of my mind that those plans might have to be cancelled or changed depending upon who needed me more. I was sleeping lightly, looking past today to tomorrow when the next client would be due. The due dates stuck out on my calender in Red when,in reality, my children's and family plans should have taken top priority.

Now, that said...this is what midwives commit to do. We commit to put our personal lives on hold for our clients or for sick babies or over due moms or pre-term pregnancies. We promise to come at a moment's notice when the phone rings and there is a desperate dad on the other end. We race down the freeways trying to make it to preciptous labors or coach dads as the head crowns without us. We realize we will leave the warmth of our beds and go sit with a primip in early labor who thinks she can't go on. We have committed to all of these scenarios in thought but when it comes to living this lifestyle it becomes apparent that you need a staff to back you up or a reliable partner for support. Going it alone is not ideal in this marginal, counter culture profession. It is emotionally taxing and burn out becomes a reality very quickly.

I did a Google search for midwives with burn out. There were pages and pages of women who have written similar feelings. It gave me a sense of relief and it helped me to realize that I am not alone in this. As the past few weeks have passed I have spoken with many friends about this predicament I feel I am in. They all agreed it was not a bad thing to take a break or reevaluate. One friend said, "Listen to your gut. It always tells you what is best for you. Don't ignore it, you are feeling it for a reason." I am almost embarrassed to admit that I have lost some of my luster for midwifery. Mostly because I have been working for this for so many years and now that I have lived it full time for the past few years I have found it not to be what I want for the rest of my life. Sometimes I feel like a failure or I am letting others down, but the truth is you have to make yourself happy first. Do what you love and the rest will fall into place.

This is a hard post for me to write. I just had a lovely water birth last weekend but even as I was helping this mom I realized that it is time for a change for me. Maybe I will continue doing repeat clients or good friends, I don't know yet. But as for right now, today, I am feeling a sense of more 'me' time and time to be alone with my kids and husband and plant the dream garden I have been wanting. I want to be able to leave my cell phone in my house when I go outside. I want some freedom.

My experiences have been wonderful and powerful teachers. I have learned what life is about and how to have deep, interpersonal relationships, but mostly, I have learned who I am in the process. Out of my midwifery I was born a deeper, more layered and thoughtful person. I have gained so much by going down this path and now it is time to walk down a new one. I will continue to be a natural childbirth advocate online so watch for informative information in the next few months. As always, thank you for reading and following my blog. I am indebted to the wise women who continue being the voice behind natural birth.


Jessica said...

I wanted to thank you for this post. It's one of those prime examples of times to learn from wise women before us. A nurse now and not yet a midwife, I look ahead to the future and can't wait to throw myself wholeheartedly into midwifery! At the same time, though, I have a husband and young children and also have ambitions of a dream garden! :D I need to start thinking now how it is that I'm planning to balance my life and midwifery. Best wishes in your endeavors, and have a blast with your family!


S said...

I'm so happy that I stumbled upon your blog. I love it. My husband and I practice the fertility awareness method and both of us are huge fans. I am currently a biology teacher with a background in medicine and microbiology. I have been considering becoming a midwife and I was wondering if you wouldn't mind giving me some advice. I've been researching the various tracks one can take to become a midwife and I know that where you are in the country plays a role in this decision. Which track do you think is the best? Certified midwife, certified nurse midwife? Any input would much appreciated. Again, I love your blog and I'm looking forward to exploring it more.

Krystal said...

Lori, I think it's great that you're following your heart (or gut). Enjoy the time with your beautiful children and husband. I will admit though, selfishly, I'm glad you made this decision AFTER Noah was born ;)

We love you!

Lori Wrankle, Traditional Midwife said...

Thank you to all of you for your love and support! Putting these words out there for all to read feels a little vulnerable, but I felt like I needed to let everyone know what I am doing. I cherish my experiences with all of my past clients and hold each birth experience very dear. Thank you for following my blog and for your kind words. Here's to new experiences ahead...

Lori Wrankle, Traditional Midwife said...

Dear S,
Thanks for your comments. As for which path is best...that is totally up to you. But, I will say that a certified midwife works completely autonomous from any hospital and attends home births exclusively. Certified nurse midwives usually work at a hospital with a staff...somewhat like an ob. If you can join a practice of certified midwives who work together that would seem ideal to me. That way you could have a backup system and assistants to attend births with you. It all depends upon your views on the medical model vs. the midwifery models of care. They are very different so each profession carries that blueprint in its practice. CNM's tend to be more medically minded with natural methods sprinkled into their care. CM's have no medical training usually and so therefore use no medicines and little interventions. It all depends upon the state laws in which you live in and what is available in your area, also. I would really look into each option and decide which one feels best to you. Both are noble professions; just very different in philosphy and practice.

S said...

I just re-read your post again. Thank you so much for your advice and wisdom. Just be encouraged because you have done such a great thing. Your career is built upon the importance of putting one's family and their health first. You value harmony, and nature, and rhythm, not discord and pressure. You've educated so many people and guided them through one of the most beautiful and amazing processes known to man. Now you are feeling drawn towards tending to your own family. I'm going to pray that you feel strength and encouragement as you do that. There's season and a time for everything. By the looks of your pics and your websites, you have a great family and a great life. Do what you have to in order to tend to it and don't fret about choosing a new path.
It's so great that people like you have gone before people like me and can give us advice, encouragement, and show us that it can be done.
Best of luck! I live Massachusetts, but I love Utah. I'm envious of you for living there.

Krystal said...

I hope things are going well for you and your family! I miss you tons (going from once a week to nothing is kinda cruel!), and hope to be able to stop by soon to return the two books that I still have (my cheeks get red every time I see them. I can't believe I haven't made it out there yet...).

Also, you've been hereby nominated for the Sisterhood Award. Check it out:

Together We Save said...

Good lucj with your choices. It is a wise decision.