Since I have had my little guy Rohan, my clients have had a lot of questions about my experience. “How was the birth?”, “how has nursing been going?”, or just “what does it feel like to be a mom now?” I love that I have the kind of relationship with my families that they are comfortable being curious, and that I am comfortable sharing. Probably the most common question I have been asked is whether being a mom has changed being a midwife and a family doctor.
I have had some time to sit and think (mostly while sitting and nursing) about whether I think being a mom has changed me as a midwife and doctor, as it has certainly changed me as a person. One of my beloved midwifery practice partners describes being a parent as deciding to walk around in the world with your heart on the outside of your body. I absolutely agree, and would add that it’s not as painful as that might seem! The love, vulnerability, and openness that comes from this way of being is scary sometimes, but mostly incredibly freeing. It feels great to be this in love with my son and my life, and to hold space for that possibility for all the families I see. Surely more love and more joy can’t be bad for our health, community, or world, right?
The other feeling I have had is that I have finally entered a club. In my pregnancy and even in labor, I thought about the millions and millions of women, my ancestors, and even my dear friends who have done what I was doing. It felt like I had crossed the threshold of the clubhouse that I had been standing at the doorway of, escorting people into, and even getting them comfortably seated in for years. It was a sweet feeling to be sitting at the table. Pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding are immeasurably powerful experiences that continue to blow my mind, no matter how many mommas I work with. I have always had an incredibly deep respect for what women do to become mothers. To be connected to all who have come before me in a new way only deepens that respect.
Luckily I haven’t yet come across that moment where I smacked my forehead and couldn’t believe I had said such a ridiculous thing to a laboring mom or a nervous parent. So for all of you who B.R. clients (Before Rohan), don’t worry; I don’t think you were ill-advised! If anything I feel as if the information, advice, compassion, and empathy I have had to offer is just more true.
Honestly I am quite glad that I was a midwife and doctor for years before becoming a parent. What I had to share was truly about giving my families objective counsel without judgement, rather than feeling compelled to compare to it my own experience. I have had to opportunity to see nearly every type of pregnancy, every kind of birth experience, and practically every variation of postpartum and breastfeeding experience. I am incredibly grateful for these experiences and the families that provided them because they have actually made me a better mother.
I know how many ways it can go, and so I was prepared for pretty much anything. I could let go and let life unfold as it would, and just follow my own advice. I made sure I had help when I needed it, and wasn’t afraid to ask. I rested a lot, I ate a lot (and still do!), and am not afraid to take care of myself because what I am doing is hard work. And I happen to be incredibly well-trained in sleep deprivation! Having seen the wide variety in kids, parents, and experiences has allowed me to let go of the ‘right way’, pay more attention to Rohan’s way, and simply be in love.
Quite frankly, I owe all of the families in my care a debt of gratitude for all that you have taught me about being a momma naturopathic midwife. Thank you!
Now, ask me how I do when he has his first fever or bout of diarrhea and vomiting…