Do you have someone that floated in and out of your life that left a much greater impact on you (and thus all who you come in contact with) than they could ever know? Maybe it was a teacher that let you know that just because you don’t understand the question doesn’t mean you’re stupid and to keep trying. (thus enabling you to become the professional you are) Maybe it’s a friend from way back when that said some magical little nugget of information that then inspired you to question the world and look at it in a different way. (thus allowing you discover a passion you wouldn’t have had before) Maybe it was your sister, the night she whispered, “A friend doesn’t treat a friend like that.” (and those words gave you the strength to stand up to someone mistreating you) Do you ever wish you could go back in time and let them know..?
Sometimes little things can cause great changes to crash through your life. Many years ago I was at a cross-point in my life – I knew my passion and obsession was birth and I felt the calling to be a midwife. I had signed up to midwifery school with my best friend (I had been attending births for almost 10 years at that point already), I had an apprenticeship with a midwife that I respected greatly….everything was lining up! My life’s dream as laid before me like a path winding through a beautiful forest.
My preceptor midwife had been the midwife for my best friend’s last few babies…and had been my midwife for my last baby (my first homebirth). I tried to do everything right, but found that I never felt good enough, never felt like I could do the right thing. I would come home and cry because I tried so hard to make my midwife proud of me…but the harder I tried the less I seemed to get it right. My best friend got pregnant…and wanted JUST ME at her birth! Not her husband, not her children…and not her midwife (my preceptor). Then in one small week I lost my apprenticeship when my midwife told me that she wouldn’t work with me if I agreed to attend my friend’s birth…and then my best friend when got killed in a car accident (along with the baby – she was 36 weeks pregnant at the time).
And I was lost. My path came to a dead end… I was hurt and didn’t know where to go, so I sat down in the dirt and surrendered. I accepted that my dream was at an end, this was it and I would never go any further.
A year and a half later, an angel flew into my life in answer to my prayers. She gently took me by the hand and helped me to stand…and showed me that if I just followed her a few steps this direction, my path actually continued on. She continued to hold my hand while we walked side by side, encouraging me to see the beauty of this journey called midwifery. When I was strong again, she released my hand, but I could still feel her energy and soul behind me, encouraging me to continue walking. The path became rocky, climbing, steep, until I felt like I was on hands and knees crawling up a mountain. Every time I hesitated, every time I doubted myself and turned around she was there….stopping me from turning back and reminding me that I was not alone and that I could do it. As I neared the peak of the mountain, felt the sun on my cheeks, felt the earth flatten beneath my feet, and as I stood on top of that mountain that had taken me 12 years to reach and finally climb…I looked out over the most incredible view of my life that laid before me. It was truly an incredible moment when I realized that I had done it – I WAS THE MIDWIFE!! Wanted to shout it out until it echoed below…I AM A MIDWIFE!!
I stood there for a moment to soak it all in. I could see it so clearly – my path continuing off on the other side of the mountain. It went up and down, winding through adventures, interwoven and crossing many other paths. Triumphant, I turned to enjoy this moment with the midwife that had made it all possible, expecting her to climb up with me….
…she smiled at me, and with a mother’s proud smile whispered, “I never doubted you.” With that she turned around and disappeared, heading back into the woods in search of the next child that needed help finding their way home.
This had been a long hard journey so when I reached my destination I was actually 8 months pregnant with my last baby. I would wait here on top of the mountain for my baby to be born before I would spread my arms wide open and dance blissfully down my path – helping others along their journey into parenthood, welcoming new life into the world. I often wonder if that angel realizes that every birth I am at – she is at. Every time I am able to help someone and make a difference…that SHE is making a difference. Does she know that without her, I would have been a shadow of who I am today? I look back at that mountain behind me and smile, knowing she’s still there if I need her.
Wendi Cleckner – thank you. The lives you have touched, the goodness you have offered, the gift of yourself…how do I say thank you adequately? The birthing families that entrust Freedom and the Seed for their care are blessed beyond words to have you and your gentle heart guiding them and watching over them. Thank you for being my angel…..for being OUR angel!!