Posted by: emjb | May 3, 2008

Change, of course.

I am giving some serious thought to ending this run of my blogging life, if only because it covers such a huge chunk of time (as my Diaryland diary, since ’99, as Grabapple, since 2002) and because it’s just become unwieldy. I’m thinking I’d like a new blog look, new title, new everything. But I haven’t decided what that will be.

I have gone from wanting to be an editor, pursuing that dream, and finding out I couldn’t make enough cash at it, to having a kid, dealing with the life -changing, horrifying, radicalizing birth trauma that is so common in the American system, and wanting to become a midwife, to…wherever I am now.

I don’t know anymore about midwifery, is what I’m trying to say, not because I’m not capable of it (I have enough confidence to think I am) but because it’s just too painful. Nathan is my one and only birth, and will stay so…you don’t know how hard that is for me to write…and for better or worse, I don’t know that I can do birth work for other women if that is my only experience. I don’t really know what “healing” from what happened looks like for me. And while I have always felt that fighting for change in the way birthing women are treated is a big part of that, that’s not precisely what being a midwife is. Midwives serve women who birth, first and foremost, and they have to be able to put aside their own resentments, obsessions, and hurts to do that. I don’t know if I can.

I worry about my own jealousy and resentment of the women I would be serving, about my own un-healed pain; I worry about money, about insurance, about being strong enough for that grind of working for myself. I worry that the business of midwifery in the U.S. is changing to a model that mandates a nursing degree, and that I just don’t have the patience and strength to go through all that, especially to have to work so much inside an industry that I still find so hostile.

I am not strong, not really. I crouch down and endure, but I don’t change myself easily, and I don’t heal quickly from deep hurts. I have been greatly helped by therapy, but it’s not a quick fix, it’s not really a “fix” at all, it’s not supposed to be. It is a safety rail that holds you up, but it doesn’t take away the void that you happen to be looking into.

I have, for the moment, no real plans for my life, the way I always thought I should. I have always believed in having capital-G Goals for my life, but none of mine have come to fruition, for reasons mostly beyond my control.

So I am experimenting with having only small-g goals: some stability, some small rewards to myself, some break from drama. It is not an easy trade-off. It is hard not to think that my existence lacks much in the way of meaning, that I’m just marking time. On my darker days, I think maybe we all are.

But I can’t do anything about that, and it does me no good to be in that place, so I don’t stay there. I just go forward, in the blankness, and wait for something to turn up, and try not to think that it never will.

This post turned out much darker than I planned, and I don’t want that to be my last entry on a blog that has been a joy and a lifesaver to write, so I won’t. That’s a small-g goal I can keep, at least.



  1. I’ll miss your blog. Nathan and my little daughter Julia were born on the same day, although our experiences were very different.

    It seems to me there’s a crying need for birth advocates who are also strong writers – to fight for midwives as well as birthing women, and for humane birthing centers, and against terrible institutions and practices.

    But I am confident you’ll find your own path, and that it will turn out to have been exactly the right one all along.

  2. Yatima, thank you. I had seen you post before, but had forgotten about your little girl sharing Nathan’s birthday!

  3. Hi,

    I like the idea of small-g goals. I also like the idea of letting go of the victim stance, of the jealousy, of the unhappiness with what I do have. Blogger Ninja Poodles just wrote a “perfect post” that addresses some of the things you and all of us go through. Maybe reading it will make you feel a bit better.

    It does not solve any problems, but it does offer clues to happiness. I’ve printed it out and I read it every hour or so.

    and Notes to Self expanded on it, or rather, applied it to herself:

    Hang in there.

  4. I’m sorry to hear you’re closing shop (potentially). I’ve enjoyed reading your take on things.

    Best of luck in setting “g”goals. Sometimes I think it’s the small successes that mean the most to me in the long run. Those “G”goals are nice, but the little “g”s make the world go round.

    Good luck.

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