I’ve been bouncing off the walls of my skull trying to decide how to best start this journey. There are a million reasons why I want- no, need– to be a midwife. But quite honestly, I am terrified – what if I suck at medicine? What if I hurt someone? What if a baby dies? What if other midwives doubt my skills or think I’m phony? Clearly, I’m getting ahead of myself, but these are the realities of health care in any category, and the doctors, nurses, and and traditional healers you want taking care of you are the ones who do what they do despite that fear. It takes courage to be a real healer– someone with compassion and commitment beyond going through the motions. Someone who will fight for what is best for their client*, and not necessarily their insurance policy, or their own wallet, or the pharmaceutical rep that brings them Godiva chocolates once a month.
I’ve met some amazing practitioners in my life – people who use humor, grace, and patience when treating everything from cancer to herpes to battery wounds. But as a patient*, I’ve also met people who barely made eye contact, treated me like a complete idiot, and even scorned me for asking detailed questions. Maybe they are jaded – a wonderful young doctor I know once admitted she could become that way one day. Why? I’m convinced it’s “the system”. And not in a conspiratorial, I’m-an-extreme-anarchist-fuck-all-modes-of-organization kind of way. The U.S. has very real, well-observed, and highly-criticized web of corporate interests, financial and legal risk, and decades of bad science that puts us all – care providers and clients alike – at risk. Not only in our physical selves, but our mental and emotional states as well. It’s time we start healing our health system. It won’t be easy – some think it’s impossible. I disagree.
This is my first step in proving them wrong.
*I sometimes use the word “client” instead of “patient” because, although some people who need medical care are sick, others are simply in unknown territory. Particularly for pregnant women, many are going through a perfectly normal, healthy process- yes, there are risks, but that is true of just about anything. Using the word client honors the person’s choice to come to you for help, or information, and symbolizes the contract, or partnership, to work towards a healthy outcome or improvement.