Fiddleheaded: A New Beginning

Welcome to my blog! My name is Kate, I’m a single mom, doula, aspiring midwife and herbalist, and dabbler in philosophy and poetry. And I have thoughts. Like, a lot of them. So I’m starting a blog! My goal is to post once a month, we’ll see how that goes. Sometimes my posts will be very personal, sometimes they’ll incorporate the ideas of great thinkers both long dead and contemporary, and sometimes they’ll just meander as the mind does, but they will always be my most truthful truths. 

A little introduction to me: I knew when I was a girl that I was meant to be a midwife. I had read a book (The Red Tent by Anita Diamant) in which the main character is a midwife who had inherited the calling from her aunt, who had inherited it from her local midwife, and on back. I was inspired by the comfort, knowledge, and wisdom that she brought to the births that she protected, and by the exchanges of knowledge between the midwives of different lands who knew different herbs, different techniques, and different ways of reading the body. I was astonished by the place of deep respect that the main character came to hold in her community, just by the simple wisdom of her hands and intuitive heart. If this grief-stricken, anxiety-crippled, foreign woman could find a home, a family, and a loving community, then so could I.

But I didn’t know that midwives still practiced in the US. I thought that babies were all born in hospitals, and I had no interest in becoming a nurse or OB/GYN, so I wrote my dream off as a could-have-been. I went to college right after high school, as most middle-class kids of my generation were expected to do, and started taking philosophy classes. I fell in love with the high of ideas and decided that I would get my PhD and live out my days between the dusty tomes of the ivory tower. I took a few years after college to find myself and start to heal some childhood wounds, and in that time I learned that midwives do still exist here. But I was in the thick of the post-college depression that so many people find themselves having to muck through, and I knew I was too opinionated, too insecure, too anxious and too afraid to have any business being present when someone is bringing a baby into the world. I had to do something, though, so I applied to PhD programs in philosophy and resolved that I would become a midwife later in life when, I hoped, time would have had a chance to nurture me into midwife material. I was accepted to the PhD program at Stony Brook University, and I went to New York with a heart filled with doubt about my path. I had been there for three years when I discovered that I had become pregnant with a man that I had no intention of building a life with. It quickly became apparent that he would not be a supportive coparent, so I did what any woman with a loving family would do: I went home. 

There’s nothing like a first baby to get you reflecting on your life – past, present, and future – and I quickly recognized that academia wasn’t working for me. I rebelled against more aspects of that life than I embraced, I struggled with ADD and imposter syndrome, my work was chronically late, and I completed the reading assignments less and less often. When I fantasized about my life with my daughter, I didn’t see myself as a professor. So I withdrew from the program to follow the voice that had always called me: birth work. 

My daughter was born in February of 2020. COVID-19 came to the States the following month, and we are all intimately aware of how the world was put on hold. I completed my Certified Lactation Counselor training online in quarantine, and have been taking classes and working on credentials ever since. I swapped a life in academia with perks and a clear path that I knew how to follow, for a hustle that could go in any number of directions, all of which are intense learning curves. I picked a hard life, a life spent on-call for a vocation whose legal standing is in constant flux, a life of hustles and instability and disappointing the people that I love. But it won’t be only that. I believe that good things will come when you find your right livelihood, I trust the process, and I trust my life to take me where I need to be. I invite you to follow me, keep me company, and watch my story unfurl.

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