Every week for school, I am supposed to check-in.  It’s supposed to hold us accountable for what we are or are not learning by having us keep a record of what we have done to move us closer to our goal of completion and we have to submit it each week.  This Friday, I will be checking out…  I haven’t yet swallowed the lump in my throat, but I already put in a pre-emptive strike e-mail to let them know I was returning my cirriculum…

This is not easy for me.  I am not a quitter…  But I think it’s dumb to continue to hurl myself against a brick wall at 90 miles an hour.  I am being spiritually destroyed by births in hospitals.  I will not attend homebirths…  So that leaves me a hermit crab without a shell, doesn’t it?

Sometimes The Force is subtle in its messages.  Sometimes it beats you over the head with it.  I got tired, very quickly, of hearing I should wait until my children were older – that I may not regret it now, but I would regret taking so much time from them.  Maybe most families do…  But my family has continually beat the odds, and I would like to think I know what we’re capable of when we stand together.  We bought our first home just months after our 24 birthday’s…  We have two vehicles that are completely paid off…  I feed, house, and clothe 5 people on a single ENLISTED military income.  If that’s not beating the odds, I don’t know what is.  I would like to think my family is strong enough to support my midwifery dreams…

But that doesn’t matter now.  This week, my check-in is my last.  Maybe I will re-apply in a few years, but for now, I’m done.  I do need a thicker skin. I’m not at a place where I can work on that right now.  I am drowning in my extended family, the vacation that never ends, and trying to figure out how best to invest / spend our money to ensure my family’s continued well-being.  I am struggling with being a better mother, a better friend, and an overall better human being.  I am being consumed by what a few people think of me…  Which is crazy, really…  But it matters because I had respect for them…  and though I did not think I was as *whatever* as they did, I allowed their perception to color my own and diminish my sense of self-worth.  I spend so much time building up others – my babies, my clients, my friends…  And then when I’m foraging for materials to build myself up, there’s nothing left…

I used to think doula work was ONE thing, just ONE thing I did well…  And now, I’m not so sure about that.  I try ridiculously hard not to allow my sense of worth to be determined by praise or encouragement from others, but I think it’s just not how I am wired, honestly.  I used to think I did those things well…  And then I went to update my calendar to reflect the break I thought I would take (as opposed to walking away from birth work all together) and I realized that doulas who had attended fewer births and been around for less time had nearly DOUBLE the client testimonials I had.  I tried to rationalize that – the majority of currently contracted clients I have right now are repeats.  What better endorsement is there?!  Not only did these precious people allow me to be present for them once, but they’re inviting me in again.  Breath-taking, soul-shaking, and so very, very humbling is that…  And I was okay with that…  And then I got rocked and I’m still rocking.  I can’t shake it.  I keep asking myself what I could have changed, and every time, I come back to any changes being potentially more harmful than the decisions I did make…  and really, I don’t think I made decisions, I just…  did…  And maybe that is a refusal to learn from the situation or to see it from another perspective, but that’s where I am…  And maybe that’s another sign that this isn’t what I should be doing…

I feel as though I am walking away from a child…  A child I have carried, given birth to, and nurtured…  Shit this hurts…

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