Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Preparing for change

In the morning I went to the farmers market, parked the car a block away, outside an historic bluestone Roman Catholic Church, and strolled past the stalls.  It was a lovely sunny morning in Spring, not really warm, but not cold either.  Bright yellow daffodils were gaily nodding in the light breeze.

I had on my list eggs and potatoes, so I got a dozen eggs from the interesting poultry stand, and a bag of potatoes from Bert who was selling them from the back of his truck.  Then I noticed some plants that would make good little additions to my daughters' gardens, so I waited at that stall.  The lady behind the table was explaining to a customer that she protects plants by standing a wire hanging basket upside down over the plant, to protect it from chooks, rabbits, and other garden inhabitants.  What a good idea!

I asked for a couple of the alpine strawberry plants, and a pot of dwarf Irises.
"This is a good one," she said.  "Wait about a month after it has flowered, and then you will be able to divide it and plant it out in the garden."

I found this lady very welcoming, and as there were no other customers waiting, we chatted.  I told her that we are moving from Melbourne; that we are looking forward to the change.

with our daughters, Miriam and Bec, and our newest grandchild

Time is steadily marching on, and events in my life are opening up like the spring flowers.  I have attended my last booking for birth, and our seventh beautiful grand-baby has been born.  Our house has been sold, and we have bought a lovely house on 5 acres in Kyneton.  We are now working on discarding much of the accumulated paper and magazines and non-valued books and other items of clutter that have occupied cupboards and filing cabinets and book shelves in our home of 30 years.

A midwife is required to retain birth records for 25 years from the date of the baby's birth.  Of course the trend is towards electronic record keeping, but my records are all 'hard copy'.  The essential parts that I will keep are my birth registers, and the clinical notes associated with pregnancy and birth.

Having been a midwife all these years, and having almost surprised myself with the passion I developed for my profession, I wonder how I will manage as a retiree.  I wonder if I will long for the past, or if I will embrace new goals and challenges.  I know my body has become much less flexible in the past few years - knees and shoulders and hip joints get creaky.  My husband's too!  Will we be able to stave off the ageing processes and enjoy an active retirement for the next 10 or 20 years?  I hope so!

I hope I will also be able to keep writing.

I expect my writing style to change.  The posts in this and other blogs are closely linked to my professional life.  I have found the events around birth to be uniquely energising, as though a special part of my mind is opened up as I reflect on being with woman.  I know I crave the special thrill of birth.  Midwives often refer to ourselves as 'oxytocin junkies.'  When we work in harmony with the amazing natural processes in birth, there is plenty of love to go round, and then some!  When we sit calmly with them as the baby takes nourishment, as hormonal surges in the mother release the life-giving milk, and reinforce the bond that opens the mother's selfless heart to her child, the wonder of mother-love overflows into other lives.

As I prepare for change, I realise that I have been blessed to experience something that is deeply related to all women, regardless of their society or time.  Many women have given birth and raised their children, unaware of this wonder.  The natural process in birth and the nurture of the infant can open a woman to new experience as she takes up the mother role.  The midwife does not 'help' or 'assist' or 'facilitate' or 'empower': the midwife accompanies the woman through a timeless and God-given process that brings new life and blessing to our race.

As Michel Odent said,
“One cannot actively help a woman to give birth. The goal is to avoid disturbing her unnecessarily.”


  1. beautiful mumma ;) I know you will find a way to keep writing....looking forward to reading your future country-fied thoughts... Mizz xx



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