I’ve been wanting to join Stephanie over at Feminist Midwife in her Monthly Chai posts for a while. I love the idea of pulling up a virtual chair and a real cuppa chai and settling in for a chat about life, the universe and everything. So, in the spirit of developing more community and connection across the Digital Divide, welcome to my inaugural Monthly Chai post!
As I inhale the spicy sweet aroma of my chai, I’d excitedly share that I had the chance to meet another midwife blogger this weekend, for the chai photographed above. Robin, who beautifully blogs over at The Mindful Midwife, happened to be in town, so we met up. We were both feeling a bit bummed that we couldn’t be in Denver for the ACNM Annual Meeting, but it was lovely to have an impromptu “satellite” meeting. I got to hear about her first week in her new job, and she shared some great advice about how to develop those hands-on skills that are so essential to midwifery care (getting my hands on every round object possible to start teaching my hands how to measure dilation, for example). I left feeling a bit more inspired and confident that I’m on the right path and grateful for the support and encouragement that seems to flow from every corner of this wonderful community of midwives.
While savoring the warmth of my chai (spring in Portland means I go back and forth between wanting hot chai or iced chai–today’s a warm chai day), I’d sigh a little bit about the hoop-jumping of school right now…but then I’d reassure you that really, overall, this term has been a good one. In terms of my clinical skills, I finally feel like I’m honing in on being able to do a full assessment and chart it before 9am…as long as I’m only responsible for one patient!
Sipping slowly, I’d sheepishly admit that I haven’t been the greatest at self-care this past month or so…especially in the realm of physical activity. It’s easy to get into that funk…”oh, I haven’t been for a run in a week. Ugh. Why start now?” Well, let me be the first to say it, friends, I feel pretty cruddy and can definitely tell that I’m not sleeping as well because of it. I am grateful that my clinical this term is close enough I can walk, which creates a lovely 30 minutes three days a week of walking…but let’s be clear–that is not the same as an aerobic workout!
I always know that things are moving fast when it’s been two weeks plus since the last blog post. Times like these are a good time for me to remember the sage advice of my patho and pharm professor, who would assure us that we would still learn all we needed to learn by doing it in smaller chunks: “You can’t eat the whole watermelon,” she’d say. “One slice at a time…and if you feel like it’s still too difficult, you can slice it even smaller.” Just don’t look at the rest of the watermelon waiting to be sliced on the counter.
So, yes to starting small. One slice. 30 minutes of jogging, with no attention to distance or speed.
As I approach the now cooling chai, I’d reflect a bit on the wonderful questions that Stephanie poses in her Monthly Chai:
What definition of may most resonates with you this month? For what are you expressing gratitude lately? How is your emotional health when you think about the short and long term of this life? What is coming up for you next? What fiction and reality and teaching and learning are reflecting on your work? What do you hope we could talk about next month, that you could put into writing now, and perhaps make it intentional going forward?
I’d reply that I’m fully embracing both the expectation and desire of may…as in, “I may be more excited about my upcoming summer practicum on L&D/MBU than the current GI stuff I’m studying right now.” Or, I may decide to not worry about the NCLEX until after I take a three week study-vacation to Mexico in September…because I refuse to buy into the group angst about this one exam…and because I technically have until December to pass!
I’d share that I’m constantly expressing gratitude to my husband B, for his patience with the way that my school life sometimes overruns our relationship…and his honesty when enough is enough and we need to regroup.
Getting down that part of the cup where all the concentrated spices have settled, I’d laughingly point to the stack of books on my night-stand, most of which have sat unopened since April. However, I’d wave my hands in excitement if you’ve been reading Emperor of Maladies, by Siddartha Mukherjee. The chapters are short enough that I can usually squeeze in one before bed and it’s such a well-written analysis of the intersections of medicine, politics, research and money in the “War Against Cancer.” And I’d point out that both Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being and Chimamanda Adichie’s Americanah beckon enticingly, purchased over spring break in a momentary hopeful gesture..as in “Maybe I’ll have time for a fiction read this term!”
Finishing the last drops, I’d also excitedly share that I’m about to get involved with the planning of a reproductive health elective course offered each year on campus…which, to me, represents being just one step closer to being able to focus on repro health full-time. One slice at a time.
What are the “slices” of your watermelon that you’re focusing on now? What are the things you’re looking forward to this week, month, and summer? I know one thing that I will be exploring this summer is really focusing on building my practice as a clinician…starting to integrate the discrete skills into a holistic way of being with those I serve. I look forward to talking more about that process with anyone else who wants to share a chai next month!