In terms of relating where I am in my undergraduate status for my midwifery degree, I would liken it to being T+14 (or 42 weeks). If you’re familiar with that sort of language, you’ll know that I’m now overdue and your friendly neighbourhood consultant is having a red braces day and smiling at me encouragingly as he talks about inducing this degree. Other women are coming and going, spontaneously birthing their BSc’s, some happily cradling two, while I, like Rachel Green, am still getting a bishops score of 3. Ish.
Someone needs to get in here and hold my nose while someone else blows in my mouth so we can pop this thing right out. (Bouffay. P. Sometime in the 90s. Yes cry your tears of jealousy at my Harvard referencing skills).
If that all flew beautifully over your head, then you just need to know that due to a bunch of set backs both beyond my control and between my ears, I’m not yet finished.
Look, I know that things are worse in different ways for other people, I know that thousands of refugees would swap places with me in a heartbeat for the education opportunity and the budding career. But they can’t. So please, just for a few minutes, indulge me and read my train-written rambling.
There are few people I know who’ve had a worse relationship track record than me (in terms of being a serial monogamist); this was very kindly pointed out for me by an ex not so long ago, and while it was spiteful and it hurt, hey, who is still in every relationship they’ve ever been in? Not many.
Break ups hurt. Rejection hurts. Abandonment stings like a rubber trucker – and (cue the tiny violins) I wish that I had my mum to not just give me a hug and let me cry, but to tell me “Suck it up, he’s not worth your time.”
But I don’t. Nor do a lot of people. But this is my pain, this is my problem, and you’re still reading, so I guess you have a vague interest in what I’m saying. Cheers, you’re a trooper.
What about your dad then? Well I don’t know. I honestly have no idea how he feels because we don’t talk. That hurts too – but it hurt more to talk, and sometimes you have to activate a little self-preservation. It’s not a criticism, it must be incredibly difficult to know how to talk to a grown woman you didn’t see grow, especially as she is so like the woman you didn’t want to be with. I can’t imagine what that’s like, but it’s not for me to imagine; I can’t fix everyone’s feelings about me by changing myself, there’s just not the time. (Written down this might seem a bit whiny, but in my head it’s conversational. So bear with me and imagine I’m just chatting to you about it.)
My brother is pretty great, there’s no two ways about that, but there are limits to the responsibilities of a sibling no matter how close you are. Yep, sometimes you need a parent.
I’ve gone down the rabbit hole a bit there haven’t I? And yet you’re still here? Here, have a cookie. You’re good at this.
(I could have tried harder to find a cookie that was less vagina-y. Sorry. No I’m not)
Back to the degree, and what relevance does this all have to that? Well there are things that have pushed me away from it, no, pulled me away from it and each of them are to do with relationships. Losing what I have in the past gives me a huge fear of abandonment, and in the majority of cases I go all in very quickly. I am very open and I wear my heart on my sleeve; some have taken advantage of that – promising me the family life and home of relative simplicity that I look for. Some use it against me to manipulate out of me what they can get. Some just feel it’s too much to handle; and some are a pick and mix of all of that. I’m not a saint, I’m a bit of a dick, I’m not asking for sympathy, I’m just trying to explain why I am so tired. Why each hurdle seems to be higher than the last but people keep telling me “You can get through this you have been through so much” Yeah. I have. And it would be nice if it could stop for a bit. Because each time I have to deal with something, it gets harder and harder to keep going. I have a lot of support – but cheering an athlete while they are standing still has never been enough to get them over the line.
This is why I am where I am, or when I am…I’m not quite sure which one is right. It’s affected my engagement with the career that I have worked so hard for, and that is the current struggle. Seeing that finishing line edge further away when I take a step towards it is disheartening.
I am not dead. I have not given up. I am just tired. I have the right people around me now and I get the feeling that no one is going to allow me to quit whether I like it or not.
So, student midwives, other midwives, other people (I hear that people exist outside of the hospital walls these days, although that may be a rumour), it is hard, and your struggles are your own and sometimes you will feel defeated. I’m not ending this post with “But you’ll be fine!” because you might not. It’s just that stopping is not the same as quitting or giving up, it’s self preservation, and as we preach all day long “You have to do what is right for you” to women. We have to do what is right for us.