I wrote something today. I think it's better listened to rather than read so I've uploaded an audio file. I recorded it while walking down by the river Cam.
I put the text below in case you'd prefer it.
Hope it helps x
It's 6.45 am and I'm sitting here with a plastic purple mug of strong coffee reading 'It Didn't Start With You', a book about inherited family trauma. There's another book on white guilt I'd like to cover after that. I'm wondering about the time my great uncle spent living in Kenya. And I have one of my Mum's early nursing essays to look at, circa 1979. It's been done on a typewriter with hand-drawn illustrations.
This research obsession kicked off when the hospital where I'll be working during COVID delayed my start date again. The goalposts have been changing. First, it looked like I was going to be in at the end of March, then mid-April and now it'll be the end of May.
But they also want me to keep an eye on my phone and messages in case I'm needed sooner.
So I'm in the odd position of having a lot of time but not knowing when that might stop. It's sort of like doing an 8-week on-call period. You can't make plans.
Quite a lot of me wishes I was using this time to tackle my Macmillan book head-on. 'Becoming a Midwife: the with-woman survival guide'. Ticking off my research goals. Particularly as once I'm back in the hospital my deadlines for these will go out of the window.
I did aim for this originally but the best way of describing my current state is 'taking the scenic route'.
I'm focussed on..what exactly? How I was formed as a person? How midwifery has evolved since the beginning of humanity? How getting things done and surrender intersect in a profession that has been looking after women since before human rights were even a thing?
Yeah. Something like that. This is where my brain has chosen to go during the pandemic.
Why am I telling you this?
Well first because, if I'm slow to respond to emails or I'm not in the community much, that's why. (Plus, it's good for Kristie to be in charge without me interfering because we can troubleshoot ready for when I'm gone. We are, of course, saving the majority of the funds raised for the community to use when I'm in practice. What we've used so far has been spent on training new mods and strengthening our strategies).
And also because people keep telling me 'this must be a busy time for you'. That's true. I'm so immersed I keep forgetting to eat... but it's not in the way you might think. I always try to be honest about what's happening.
Most importantly, it's because I bet there are many people feeling similar to me. Guilty that they're not 'achieving'. What I'm up to at the moment is not as objectively useful as, say, describing how to write an essay or take a blood pressure.
The NHS is about strategy and efficiency. That's how you get 48 hours worth of healthcare done in 24. It's how you survive a 2,500 midwife deficit. It's necessary to think about these things. In a global pandemic, it's saving lives and it goes without saying that I commend those involved.
But there's another part of midwifery. It's what makes it a distinct profession, away from medical input. Productivity is at odds with the surrender needed when having a baby. It doesn't match the watchful, waiting patience of midwifery care.
I'm not the first person to point out that good things come from going with the flow.
I'm trying to remember this right now because whatever's happening to me, it won't be controlled. No matter how much I try and bring myself back to essay writing and literature reviews.
If I was trying to justify this use of time I'd mention my focus on inequality and my interest in white family's part in that. It seems important given the MBRRACE findings and BAME mortality rates during COVID. I'm trying to understand what these mean for me personally.
But it'd be more realistic to say I have no idea what's happening or where this is going at the moment. I'm just in the middle of it.
I'm thinking back to all the important projects and books and even my midwifery training I've covered and every single one of these had such a period of uncertain focus.
If this covers your life too at the moment remember that this is a thing. Joseph Campell, who was a professor of literature but in the end just a profession of human experience said '“If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it's not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That's why it's your path.”
We're not wasting time.
So that's what I'm up to. What about you? Leave me a comment letting me know. x