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Growing, Learning…Making Mistakes

Aug 24th, 2010 Paths

Welcome to the new Birthing Naturally Bog.  “New? Didn’t you already have a blog?”  Well yes I did.  But I made a big mistake and in trying to fix that mistake I accidentally erased the entire blog in such a manner that restoring files just wasn’t enough to fix it.  So confession number one – I am only an amateur web-geek and am limited by my lack of serious coding skills.

Lesson learned. And after fixing the other major website problems created by my mistake I took a deep breath and ignored  blogging. I gave myself a few weeks to really think about what I wanted to do with the blog and I’m actually excited by the inspiration I now have.  You see, the old blog was a bit… broad.  I have many interests, even within the world of birth. But when that variety was put into a blog it didn’t really serve any purpose except to make me feel badly about myself if I didn’t post at least every other day.  I did have good intentions, just didn’t think the plan through very well. So confession number two – I often begin working on an idea I have without doing adequate pre-planning.

So what is this new idea?  I still want to let my readers get to know more about who I am, but instead of focusing on where ever my mind may happen to be on any given day, I’ve decided to give myself a topic.  Drumroll…..Becoming a Midwife.

Learning to Serve Families

“Wait, isn’t that still…broad?”  Technically yes, but I think even within that broad subject the individual posts will prove to be helpful to most of my readers.  Let me explain.

Answering the call to serve expectant families can be difficult.  Most women have not had much interaction with the birth world (organizations, professions, opportunities) when they get the call.  All they know is they want to serve expectant families.  So many decide that becoming a midwife is impractical at this stage of life and put the idea in the back of their minds.

I want to help these women understand that midwifery is more than catching babies.  I want to let them see all the ways they can begin to answer the call, even if they still have a baby-in-arms. I want to open their eyes to the many opportunities that exist right now.  I want to give them the skills to compare organizations, programs and philosophies to discern which direction their path may lead.

“Can you really do that?” You know, I’ve  thought hard about this over the past few months (since I received the call to begin mentoring others into the field of birth). I see the many organizations that exist, and the fighting that occurs between organizations or even within organizations.  Each exists for its members and to protect those members, so many sources of information provide only those resources that align with the philosophies of the author. And this does make sense, because if you are choosing to read an article by an author it is probably because you have similar philosophies as that author.

The question I had to ask myself as I began this project was, “Can I honestly set aside my choices and fairly propose all options to those who seek information?”  This is a difficult question to answer. I have been writing about birth for ten years, and as much as I try to write in a non-biased way I know my beliefs come through in what I write.  Confession number three – I have opinions, and I think they are right.

While you may expect these opinions fall within the natural birth-epidural continuum, let me open your eyes to the actual extent of the opinions I, you and everyone else holds. I do hold some strong feelings about several birth related organizations based on my interactions with them and their publications. I do feel a gnaw in the pit of my stomach when I see women get involved in organizations I have had problems with.  I recognize the many paths to midwifery and I have a favorite path, one I think all women should consider because I believe it creates a midwife best able to serve families.  It irritates me when others belittle this path because they feel it is inferior. I have favorite causes within birth, and feel that some topics are more deserving of attention and resources than others. My heart breaks when I see page after page devoted to promoting what I feel is less important in determining a safe birth outcome.

So the question remains, “Can I do this?”  Can I really set aside my path to help others find their own unique way into serving women? I don’t know, but I will try.  Along the way I’ll probably make mistakes, I’ll probably offend some readers and I’ll probably wish I hadn’t said some things I said.  Confession number four – I have made mistakes in the past and I expect to make mistakes in the future.

I truly hope you will be willing to look past my shortcomings and use these posts to help you find your own way into the world of birth.  I sincerely desire to provide you with resources and tools you can use to discern your path, regardless of what that path may be. I honestly appreciate the thoughtful direction and correction of those who care about me when they point out mistakes I have made, and I hope you will care enough about me to lovingly share when I’m wrong.  Confession number five – I hate how it feels when I am wrong, but I hate how it feels when I repeat mistakes more.

Let us begin this journey into midwifery together.

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Jennifer Vanderlaan CNM MPH is the author of the BirthingNaturally.net website. She has been working with expectant families since 2000, training doulas, childbirth educators, and midwives. She has worked with midwives in Central America and Sub-Saharan Africa. Her interest in public health grew in 2010, and she is now a PhD student learning to become a producer of knowledge.

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