We’ve been having some weird weather here lately…lots of dense, heavy fog in the mornings, grey, grey, and more grey…and then in the afternoons, it burns off into blindingly brilliant sunny blue skies. It’s a bit of whiplash, really, to go back and forth between the two, but as someone who thrives on every drop of sun possible in these dark winters, I don’t feel like I should complain too much.
Mostly, I find the current weather a fitting metaphor for my outlook on life in general these days. I vacillate between feeling confident and excited about what I’m learning, to feeling slightly terrified and (almost always) overwhelmed with the sheer amount of content we’re taking in. I knew what I was getting into with nurse-midwifery education…but on the long days, I wonder how effectively I’m actually learning all of this…and am I really becoming the midwife I want to be? The reality of 20 minute prenatal appointments is startling. I have yet to see through the fog of my self-doubt that I will ever be able to run an efficient 20 minute prenatal.
Perhaps even more unsettling to me is the question of whether I want 20 minute prenatals to be what my practice looks like. I know that I’m not really called to homebirth midwifery…but 20 minute prenatals feel impossibly short. I just don’t know. In an overburdened system, maybe this is the best we can hope for? Group prenatal care is a wonderful alternative, but it’s often an inaccessible alternative to many of the patients in the clinic where I’m working this term, as we expect participants to come without their older children, and for many, it’s impossible to find affordable child care for the 2+ hour group appointment.
Most evenings I come home unable to really engage in meaningful conversation with my partner or housemates, because I’m either too tired or too busy with homework, or both. I know eventually this will change…but in the meantime, it’s hard to trust that eventually the fog will lift and things will feel easier. I know so many wonderful midwives who make the most of those precious 20 minute appointments, and I just have to trust that I will be able to do the same. More than ever now, I find myself reaching back for the reasons that propelled me here to midwifery school in the first place–they’re the things that will keep me going, one step at a time.