I witnessed my first birth during a sexual education class in the sixth grade. The boys were in a different classroom, perhaps learning about how to deal with their uncontrollable penises. We eleven and twelve year old girls with sprouting bug bite nipples, learned all about what happens to you when you have sex. Babies. Babies, and lots of pain happen. Our teacher showed us the video The Miracle of Life almost as a threat, as if to say “this is your punishment for having sex.” The girls squealed and covered their eyes. One girl threw up. And as I recall another girl had a seizure (although, if my memory is not failing me, I think her seizure occurred during the class about tampons. All I know is that it happened, she hit her head on a bookshelf, and I had to run to the nurses office to get help.)
Since then I have never seen a live birth. In fact, I have never really seen a live birth off screen. But as fate, chance, luck, or pure “pinning the tail on the donkey” has it, it looks like I will being seeing quite a lot in my future.
I have decided to study midwifery. Or perhaps to be a doula. I am still trying to decipher between the two professions and what each require in terms of studies, licenses, lifestyles, philosophies, and job opportunities, etc. But one thing is for certain – I want to be involved in the birthing process. I want to work hands on with people. I want to build a profession that can support me while doing good for others. And I want a skill that I can use to help people anywhere in the world wherever I travel or volunteer. With approximately 128 million births per year, I think there is some job security as well.
This is not a random decision. This is a result of years and years of clues – little beans that only formed a full burrito once I was in Mexico. For starters, I have been obsessed with pregnant women and babies for at least the past ten years. A friend of mine used to come home at the end of the day and tell me, “Guess what? I saw FIVE pregnant women today!” – just to make me happy. When I was 23 years old, I commissioned an artist on Las Ramblas of Barcelona to paint me a picture of a pregnant woman, which I still have hanging in my bedroom. For the past five years I have thought of opening a cafe designed for pregnant women. And I have considered designing maternity clothing.
In high school, after years of surgeries and medical issues with my knee, I wanted to study medicine. I wanted to be a doctor, but at the same time I was more interested in alternative therapies. By the time I was 18 years old, I had gone through years of acupuncture, Reiki healings, massage, and yoga. I even wrote letters to Dr. Deepak Chopra, who had an office in San Diego, hoping that he would meet with me. When he (sadly) did not respond, I read all his books about mind over matter and positive thinking for healing. My Senior year I applied to Tufts University and a few other medically focused schools – but was rejected from them all. So instead I went to UC Berkeley and studied English instead. Go figure.
Previous to working in the production world, I was a teacher. And for the past 8 years I have worked on and off for nonprofit organizations in Africa (www.oafrica.org) and Mexico (www.puentemexico.org). So when people who know me solely as a location scout / business owner hear about my new birthing venture, they may find it strange. However, what is strange is that I was not working hands on with people, or doing something to better the lives of others, for these past few years. Though the experience has taught me quite a lot and I met some very interesting people, I was not placed on this planet to work on fashion and advertising shoots.
I collect photos of hearts made in nature. And keep a love journal. I stop and stare at almost every pregnant woman I see in the street, and talk to the Universe quite frequently. The moon intrigues me more and more each day. And I compare myself to animals on an uncomfortably increasing level (dolphins, wolves, etc). I want to learn about the use of natural herbs and remedies in health, and would love to grow my own tomatoes!
While in Mexico I took a personality test online with the Keirsey Temperament Sorter, just out of curiosity. And the result was “Idealist”. As for professions, the results said that, “Idealists are naturally drawn to working with people, and whether in education or counseling, in social services or personnel work, in journalism or the ministry, they are gifted at helping others find their way in life, often inspiring them to grow as individuals and to fulfill their potentials.” I then took various other online quizzes and each and every one said that I needed to work in a healing or counseling profession. And in the jungle paradise of Palenque, a Mayan descendant saw the freckle on the fatty part of my inner palm and said that this particular placement of the freckle, according to Mayan tradition and spiritual artwork, was a sign of the eye – or the healer. He then got way too excited, showed me his freckle in the exact same location, made me nervous, and I asked him to leave. Ha ha.In San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, I walked for ages past the slightly dodgy outskirts of the colonial town, to visit the Museum of Mayan Medicine. While staring at a fake scene of an indigenous woman giving birth, fully clad in her heavy wool skirt, my heart started thumping. As the fake birthing mother kneeled in front of her fake husband sitting on a chair, with her clay arms wrapped around his neck, the fake midwife sat behind her to receive the baby. I looked at this interesting scenario and had a strong feeling that this was the way that birth should happen – but perhaps without all the heavy clothing and chicken sacrifices. Naturally. Vertically. With lots of personal care and love from one’s partner and/or family members. And of course, with a patient midwife knowledgeable in centuries and centuries of natural remedies passed down over time.
Now I am back in Barcelona and wanting to develop a skill to help people. And all the signs are pointing towards birthing, mentoring, and holistic approaches to health. At the moment I have no idea where this will all lead, but I sure do have a burning desire to get started right away. If anyone has any clue regarding this topic, please get in touch with me =)