I have this thing about keeping clear-headed... before, during and after births... which, pretty much, is all the time.
I won't listen to yucky stories, watch scary movies or let ookie people hang around me. I'm sure a lot of it is superstition, but I feel better anyway.
Yucky stories and scary movies stick with me forever. I saw gross movies as a teen (and I won't mention their names lest they rear their ugly heads for you, too); not only do I "see" the scenes 30 years later, I can also feel the same feelings I did when I was sitting in the theater while I smoked and the wisps of cigarette smoke clouded the movie screen.
(Yes, youngun's, we actually smoked in movie theaters! But, it was okay because smokers only sat down one side of the auditorium. There was the middle and other side that was smoke-free. laughing Can you imagine the logic that went into that? Me, either.)
This morning at breakfast, I was talking to friends who, somehow, got on the subject of horror movies and just as they were beginning to dig into the gory details, I stopped them.
I listen, listen, listen, hearing the sqeaky metal wheels grinding towards my psyche, willing it to veer onto the track over there. Yet, it doesn't. Instead, I watch the enormous monstrosity looming over me, its shadow threatening to engulf me. Like a giant game of chicken, I wait until the very end before jumping out of the way.
Sometimes it comes out of my mouth a little too loudly, a little desperate. (I am.) Then, exactly what I was hoping wouldn't happen does. I end up explaining why I can't listen to the bloody-dripping words forming in their mouths. I always feel so... woo woo? when I talk about keeping myself "clean" and "clear-headed." Most people I hang out with nod in understanding, but there are times when obnoxious (almost exclusively) men insist on getting sickening jabs in before I can impolitely get out of their space.
Sarah's so understanding, so gentle with my tender mind. When she was a cop, she had some (hysterically) gory stories to tell, but saved them for when she was with those that'd appreciate them... always when I wasn't around. I've known women whose spouses went out of their way to gross them out; burps and farts being the least of it. I feel so blessed to have my Sarah who respects my boundaries. I do my best to respect hers, too.
It's hours later now and my mind, while thinking on the topic, isn't thinking on the yuck. Instead, I wonder what other midwives do to keep their minds clear for the work ahead. Not just the "don't fill out the transport form" superstition or the "if I draw up pitocin I won't need it" one, but conscious, purposeful steps that lead to (hopefully) clarity of mind and heart as we wait... gently, softly wait... for new life to nudge its way into our existence.
We owe it to our mamas, babies and families to leave the spaces in our minds, spaces that might otherwise fill with marital troubles, screaming toddlers and the inevitable foreclosure... to leave those spaces vast and endless so our clients and their lives are able to take up residence, even if for only a day.