Breathe Easy, You've Found Me ((HUGS))

People will wonder why this blog is needed, why minority midwifery student? It's very simple actually; I was looking for this blog...but I couldn't find I created it. We all have unique experiences, and every experience, every story, can help someone else. I am a black girl from the hood at an ivy league professional school. That, alone, is reason enough to write. Somebody was looking for this blog. Someone wanted proof that what I'm doing can be done - even when you come from where we come from.

To that person especially, WELCOME.

Monday, October 6, 2008

I Feel Encouraged

I had to stop my life and write today because I feel, for the first time in a while, encouraged. I just finished another interview for my thesis. For those who don't know, I am interviewing black nurse-midwifery students across the country. I remember in the beginning I was looking for other brown midwives in cyberspace, and couldn't find many, if any at all. Well, there really aren't that many of us. I scouted each nurse-midwifery school looking for students to interview, and some schools sadly responded that they didn't have any, some even said they hadn't had any in years. That made me teary. But I have done several interviews now, and even though we are small in number, we are drowning in fortitude. They make me feel like I can do anything. It is a blessing unto my soul just to hear their voices. It has been a long journey, and most times I don't know if I'm coming or going. But today, if nothing else, I feel a little less alone in the journey. There are things that come up in interviews that make me want to cry, but there are other things that make me happy. Most of all, I'm just grateful that I had the conviction to take on this project. If not me, who? That is my mantra.

School is eerie this semester. I haven't had any exams, nor any papers due yet. I've mostly been studying haphazardly and working on my thesis... which is an experience all its own and maybe I'll write more about it here sometime. But at the very least I will say, it's hard to write... and even harder to have someone constantly critique it. I have not found a groove for studying this semester. My study group is all over the place, we haven't met once as a group yet. That will probably change as our first exam draws near, but so far, nothing.

I feel behind in my knowledge. I don't feel prepared for residency at all. I'm calling it residency, but that's not exactly what we call it at school. Most students just select a place off of a list provided by the school, but I worked very hard to set up my own site. This was important to me because I've spent all of my time working with the faculty of the school. For me, this has not been ideal, but it has been supportive in its own way. It means I've had a very limited exposure to other ways of midwifing. I've had very little to no chance at continuity of care with patients. I've had no clinical interaction with midwives of color. I think this last point is huge... I think it has negatively affected my assimilation into the profession. There are many, many days when I don't want to be a midwife anymore... where I can no longer imagine myself as a midwife... where I can't remember why I'm here... when I can't remember what this has to do with my own history. I think not being able to be precepted by someone who I identify with has something to do with it, and I wasn't clear about this until now.

But I said this post was about feeling encouraged. And it is. As I was saying, I wanted to set my own residency site... well months and months later, I have it! I started this process in June, and now I have a signed contract for residency with a black midwife far away from this institution! I met this midwife at the ACNM conference this past summer, and I asked her if she would have me. I laid it all out there... 1. what I'm looking for (a site in the city I would like to work in post-graduation, to be with family) 2. why I was asking her (she's black, yes, but also because she's accomplished and when I asked around at the conference, everyone told me to go find her - that she was who I was looking for) and 3. how badly I wanted it (badly...teary-eyed badly.) She said 'yes' on the spot, and when she randomly, fondly pointed out that the last student she had precepted for residency some years ago happened to be pregnant, I felt the universe hug me. I am not pregnant, but I hope to be by the end of the school year, so it's nice to know she won't have a problem with that. It matters that it's some distance from the school (hundreds of miles) because it means I have a greater opportunity to see a different way of practicing. The patient population is also different. Currently I spend more than 50% of my time providing care to patients who only speak Spanish... even though I don't speak any Spanish. This is incredibly frustrating and tiring and disheartening because I don't feel like I'm providing the best care. I'm having to shout at an interpreter phone all day, who then translates to the patient, the patient then screams back into the phone, etc. It's just... sad. The last two babies I caught were born to women I couldn't even speak to, and there are never interpreters on the labor floor. Usually the preceptors or nurses- who speak enough Spanish to get by, but that's it. I have not been able to take a Spanish class (but one is offered on another part of campus) and at this point I don't foresee it any time soon... especially after spending years learning French. So I am happy to be moving to a place where I will be more useful. Having this work out for me also means that the man and I are headed home. That's right, we get to go home to family. Technically, it's his home and family, but that's good enough for me... for now. If I can't have my own family, his is definitely good enough. Back to love, we go. The man, as you can imagine, is head-over-heels excited. He's already started planning the packing and moving, and then he'll head down before me to start his new job hunt.

This time I did actually cry when I got the news... I mean sobbed. I just feel like I need this so badly right now. I need this to fall in love with midwifery again.

So this news + talking to other midwifery students on the phone = encouraged.


sn moxie said...

Oh this is great news for you and your family! I am so happy to hear that you will have this great midwifery opportunity + preceptor along with being in a place where you feel at home. I am so glad. Keep writing. I love your voice.

Ashley said...

You were not the only one that felt encouraged! My first prenatal is Oct. 22. So much baby dust to you and the man. I wanna know all about your integration.